Jewish film fest opens in Fairbanks, Alaska

VANCOUVER (JTA) – The fifteenth Farthest North Jewish Film Festival opened in Fairbanks, Alaska. 

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Organizers say the festival, which opened Saturday and runs through March 3, attracts mostly non-Jewish viewers from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, which sponsors the festival with Or HaTzafon, the city’s only synagogue. Attending a film will sometimes be a class assignment.

Fairbanks, population 32,000, where temperatures often fail to break zero in the winter months when the sun shines for just four hours a day, is believed to be home to just a couple hundreds Jews.

The idea came to education professor Jerry Lipka and his wife, academic advisor Janet Schichnes, after attending a Jewish film festival in San Francisco, according to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.    

“Jerry came to me and says, ‘I have this idea of having a Jewish film festival here,” UAF film curator Len Kamerling told The Times of Israel. “I said, ‘That’s crazy enough.’”

This year’s selection includes the highly acclaimed 2011 Israeli film “Footnote”; a documentary about the folk song Hava Nagila; and “Paris Manhattan”, a French film about a young Jewish woman whose life is guided by her love for Woody Allen.

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