Bucharest Jewish film festival expands to four Romanian cities

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — Three years after its inauguration, the Bucharest Jewish Film Festival has expanded to several cities in Romania.

Organizers of the festival in Bucharest for the first time this month held smaller screenings also in Timisoara, Brasov and Piatra-Neamt. Titled the “Bucharest Jewish Film Festival Caravan,” the departure from Bucharest ended last week in Iasi.

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In each city, a popular local cinema hosted a two-day program with approximately 20 films, including the 2009 Israeli Oscar-nominee “Ajami,” the British comedy “The Infidel” and documentaries like “Gainsbuorg – A Heroic Life” and “Amos Oz: the Nature of Dreams.”

Approximately 8,000 Romanians attended the mini-festivals in the four cities outside Bucharest, according to Paul Ghitiu, the festival’s director.

“Our goal is to use Jewish films to familiarize as many Romanians as possible with Jewish culture and values, so we decided we should not limit ourselves to the capital,” said Ghitiu. “We intend to make the Caravan outside Bucharest an annual event.”

The festival in Bucharest, which was first held in 2011, is scheduled to open in November for the fourth consecutive year in three cinema theaters.

Of the Caravan screenings, the largest turnout was in Iasi, a city which is known for the murderous pogroms that occurred there against Jews in 1941 but was also the birthplace, in 1876, of Europe’s first professional Yiddish theater troupe under the management of playwright Abraham Goldfaden.

“In the Jewish word, Iasi is a symbol and bringing a Jewish film theater there is therefore a powerful experience,” Ghitiu said.