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There are more than 100 Jewish film festivals held around the world, mostly held in the US and Europe. The LA Jewish Film Festival is one of the more competitive and widely participated in film festivals celebrating the uniqueness and art of the Jewish filmmaking industry. While relatively new, the LA Jewish Film Festival has attracted enough mileage from the media and those within the industry itself.
The premier year of the film festival in 2007 saw about 2,000 people attending the screenings of 20 films spread in 6 days in 8 separate venues. In the succeeding year, audience attendance grew by more than 50% while the number of films was increased to 30. Twelve different venues were also tapped for the screening of the 2009 film festival.
The film festival was the only event that premiered O Jerusalem, as well as the Academy-Award winner West Bank Story, and another popular Jewish film Keeping Up with the Steins. The exhibition of the films was also preceded by a discussion of the directors and actors involved.
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The film festival has five categories. The first is narrative feature films with movies of Jewish themes and characters focusing on the culture, history, spirituality and other facets of Jewish living. The other is narrative shorts appropriate for families, while the documentary feature category are feature-length movies depicting Jewish themes and characters. The documentary short feature and animated categories form the final categories of the film festival.
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Entries to the film festival should have relevant Jewish issues and themes. Entries may discuss the history, heritage, or culture of the Jewish people. The film festival organizing committee underscores that not because an entry is made by a Jewish filmmaker or starred by a Jewish actor, the film is considered a Jewish movie. Entries should help highlight the diversity of the Jewish culture. Entries that focus on the Jewish entity can help the festival to inform and inspire, while those that focus on Jewish issues and traditions can help in strengthening the Jewish values of its audiences.
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The LA Jewish Film Festival is open to all international and US entries, with entries in English language. English subtitles are required. All entries should come in a completed and signed entry form. Filmmakers joining the competition should also pay the non-refundable entry fee.
All submission materials will not be returned to its owners unless requested. Submission of entries does not mean exhibition during the festival. Entrants will get notifications regarding the screening of the films at least six weeks before the start of the festival. Entrants are discouraged from submitting DVDs with stickers or labels.
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The film festival charges as standard fee of $45 for those that submitted during the early bird deadline, $50 for those who submitted during the regular deadline, and $60 for those who beat the late deadline. Usually it also accepts entries during an extended deadline with a fee of $75. Submissions can be made online through the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival’s official website.