Atlanta Jewish Film Festival Announces First Winner of AJFF Playback

ATLANTA – The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival is thrilled to announce the first winner of the AJFF Playback contest in the Short Film category. AJFF Playback celebrates the festival’s 20th anniversary with a bracket-style retrospective that invites audiences to watch at home and then vote for favorite films from the AJFF vault. The competition featured a mix of 16 short films in both narrative and documentary form, covering an array of topics and filmmaking styles, and selected from hundreds of short films exhibited across 20 years of AJFF programming. After eight weeks of competition and over 1,000 votes, audiences selected Hannah Cohen's Holy Communion (2013 AJFF) as the Playback Shorts winner, a heartwarming tale of an Irish-Jewish girl who goes to great lengths to be like the other girls. "Over the last eight weeks we have watched some amazing short films, so we were particularly surprised and honored to discover we had actually won,” said director Shimmy Marcus. “We are very proud of our Hannah Cohen (Lucy Sky Dunne) and all the team who put so much heart and soul into our film. Thank you to them and to all the gang at the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival for this great mini festival that has helped lift our spirits at this difficult time." AJFF kicks off the next round of Playback in the Documentary Feature category. Each week, viewers will have the opportunity to view two new documentary films from past festivals as they vote for their favorite. Follow along on as participating films are announced. “The Playback contest is a fun and interactive way for audiences to rediscover some of the most memorable films in AJFF history, and tell us their favorites,” says Kenny Blank, AJFF’s Executive Director. “This retrospective look back is also a reminder of the remarkable array of impactful and meaningful stories we’ve had the pleasure of sharing with audiences across two decades.” Full descriptions of the Short films can be found here: A Good Uplift Dir: Cheryl Furjanic, Eve Lederman, Faye Lederman • USA • 2002 • 13 mins • English A lighthearted look inside a Lower East Side lingerie shop, where owner and Jewish grandmother Magda will size you up, hook you in and set you free in the perfect bra. Featured at the 2007 AJFF. A Reuben by Any Other Name Dir: Jeremy Lanni • USA • 2010 • 4 mins • English A humorous debate over the differences between the bicoastal versions of the classically Jewish (but conspicuously non-kosher) sandwich. Featured at the 2011 AJFF. Banana Bread Dir: Barton Landsman • USA • 2009 • 9 mins • English Matt Myerson has a worried Jewish mother. As it turns out, she actually has good reason to worry. Featured at the 2011 AJFF. Batman at the Checkpoint Dir: Rafael Balulu • Germany, Israel • 2012 • 10 mins • Arabic, Hebrew, with subtitles Stuck at a security checkpoint outside Jerusalem, Israeli and Palestinian boys forge a fleeting friendship. Featured at the 2013 AJFF. Chika, the Dog in the Ghetto Dir: Sandra Schiessl • Germany • 2016 • 17 mins • German, with subtitles The wartime tale of a Jewish boy and his dog in a Polish ghetto. Based on the Holocaust memoirs of Bat-Sheva Dagan; told through imaginative animation. Featured at the 2017 AJFF. Cohen on the Bridge: Rescue at Entebbe Dir: Andrew Wainrib • France, Israel, United Kingdom, USA • 2009 • 20 mins • English Animation and eyewitness testimony combine in this stirring reconstruction of Operation Entebbe, a counter-terrorist hostage-rescue mission. Featured at the 2010 AJFF. Hannah Cohen's Holy Communion Dir: Shimmy Marcus • Ireland • 2013 • 13 mins • English A feisty Irish girl is determined to join her friends for the sacrament of the Holy Communion. The only problem is, she's Jewish. Featured at the 2014 AJFF. Jerry-Atric: One Comic's 77-Year Climb to the Top of the Bottom Dir: Leanna Adams • USA • 2015 • 18 mins • English Undeterred by age or misfortune, an Atlanta comedy legend keeps plugging away at his decades-old showbiz career, determined to get the last laugh. Featured at the 2016 AJFF. Kid Yamaka Dir: Matt Ogens • USA • 2016 • 14 mins • English An up-and-coming boxer's troubled background, and his path from juvenile delinquency to personal redemption through faith and family. Featured at the 2017 AJFF. My Olympic Summer Dir: Daniel Robin • USA • 2007 • 12 mins • English Through poetic home movies and family photos, Atlanta filmmaker Daniel Robin recounts how the 1972 Olympic hostage crisis saved his parents' marriage. Featured at the 2009 AJFF. Second Guessing Grandma Dir: Bob Giraldi • USA • 2008 • 10 mins • English When Ed tells his family that he is gay, he worries that his traditional Jewish grandmother won’t understand. Featured at the 2009 AJFF. Song of Slomon Dir: Emmanuel Shirinian • Canada • 2007 • 16 mins • English An Orthodox rabbi wrestles with his religious tenets after becoming obsessed with a catchy dance tune. Will he succumb to the music, or scramble back to the Torah? Featured at the 2009 AJFF. The Divorce Dir: David Scheinmann, Danny Scheinmann • United Kingdom • 2014 • 17 mins • English Seeking a divorce after ten years of marriage, a joyless British couple receives a rather unorthodox challenge from their rabbi. Featured at the 2016 AJFF. The Gravedigger's Daughter Dir: Shira Gabay • Israel • 2016 • 17 mins • Hebrew with subtitles Over family and community objections, the only daughter from an Orthodox Israeli home fights for the right to take on her late father's vocation. Featured at the 2017 AJFF. The Kiss Dir: Paul Fischer • USA • 2003 • 9 mins • Yiddish, with subtitles This Yiddish-language gem tells the story of a young girl who seeks a kiss from her father, who is too preoccupied with his religion to notice her. Featured at the 2005 AJFF. The Tribe Dir: Tiffany Shlain • USA • 2005 • 18 mins • English Actor Peter Coyote narrates this furiously paced, kaleidoscopic view of Jewish history, featuring the iconic Barbie doll and its Jewish creator, Ruth Handler. Featured at the 2007 AJFF. Stay connected with AJFF via social media on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. If interested in interviewing director Shimmy Marcus or AJFF’s Executive Director Kenny Blank, please email Katie Cline at About Atlanta Jewish Film Festival’s 20th Anniversary: In 2020, AJFF is celebrating two decades of showcasing international cinema and engaging diverse audiences. The organization has seen incredible growth since the inaugural edition of the festival in 2000. Over the course of the past 20 years, AJFF has welcomed over 385,000 filmgoers to theaters around metro Atlanta and screened nearly 1,400 films, totaling up to 77,000 minutes of screenings (70 days straight!). Among these films, AJFF has been proud to present 38 world premieres, and international features from over 60 countries, including Algeria, Cambodia, Tunisia, and Ghana and over 250 films from female directors have been showcased at the festival. AJFF now offers year-round programming that furthers its impact within Atlanta, the Southeast, and across the marketplace of film festivals worldwide. About Atlanta Jewish Film Festival: AJFF’s mission is to entertain and engage diverse audiences with film through a Jewish lens while simultaneously challenging conventional perspectives on culture and history, life in Israel, and the work of Jewish artists – particularly where these stories intersect with other communities. AJFF features year-round programs, including several tent pole events such as its annual Film Festival, AJFF Selects, AJFF On Campus, Cinebash, and the Icon Award for Contributions to the Cinematic Arts. In addition to its core programs, AJFF continues to work alongside its many partner organizations to support the greater Atlanta community while raising the bar for film festivals worldwide. Founded by the Atlanta Regional Office of American Jewish Committee (AJC) in 2000, AJFF has operated as an independent non-profit arts organization since 2014, while continuing an active partnership with its founding agency.

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