There is no doubt today that the easiest way to get new knowledge about the country is to visit it or see a film enlightening its traditions. To develop the latter subject it is to note that nobody had any information about the Jewish film industry till 1981, when the first Jewish Film Festival in San Francisco opened. It was a great surprise for the Western film-makers and a true present for those interested in the Jewish culture.
Nowadays more than 100 festivals annually take place all over the globe, including San Francisco, New York, Washington, Boston, Toronto, Montpelier, and London. Festivals are very important for the Jewish community, and the research of the Jewish Outreach Institute in New York proves this fact. The Institute has examined 46 festivals and got interesting results: more than 75% of all festivals is sponsored by the Jewish community centres and federations. And it is no wonder: each Jewish Film Festival contributes to the relationship with other countries and nations demonstrating the Jewish culture to the whole world.
Last years have been marked by a real boom in the Jewish film-making: no less than 40 good films are produced in Israel every year. You won't be mistaken if think that the first Jewish Film Festival in 1981 was a signal for the Jewish Renaissance. The Festival develops from year to year. In 2002 San Francisco Festival grew into the biggest cultural event, which attracted 34,700 people watching about 50 films. Toronto had more than 60 films in 2003.
The Festival 2005 was special, as this year international films were first projected at the Festival. Yet, the film-makers were set up a requirement: their creations should reflect different aspects of the Jewish life, highlight the elements of the Jewish culture, art and literature through the national humor, folklore and history. In a word, the films should turn Jewish Film Festival into an entryway to the Jewish community. One interesting thing about Jewish Film Festivals is that they often provide non-commercial films. This fact witnesses the main purpose of the event: not only money-spinning, but also - and this being foremost - the Jewish lifestyle demonstration.
September, 2002 was the date of the Jewish Eye Association founding. This organization purposed to launch and produce the World Jewish Film Festival in Israel, in cooperation with the Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive. The World Jewish Film Festival, the first of its kind in Israel and the whole Jewish world, was supposed to show the selected films from the finest international Jewish Film Festivals.
The World Jewish Film Festival took place in 2004 at the Tel Aviv Cinematique and lasted 5 days. The event covered two major product categories - cinema and television productions. The winners were announced at the closing cocktail party. Actually, the first World Jewish Film Festival became a great cultural event in the world's being, which success is hard to overestimate.
If you are an ardent fan of the Jewish music there is a beautiful chance to hear it with no limits if go to one of the Jewish Music Festivals. Generally, the world knows three events of the kind: London International Jewish Music Festival, New York Jewish Music and Heritage Festival, and North American Jewish Choral Festival. It is to mention that the latter is the most popular.
North American Jewish Choral Festival exists for already 16 years and takes place every summer in New York, because this city is the only to combine a great number of Jewish institutions, synagogues, and to home large Jewish population. The occasion usually attracts a lot of people from different countries, both musicians and listeners. The Festival 2005 consisted of 60 concerts, and even such a big range could not satisfy all the demands. So, the culmination of the Festival was an all-day free outdoor concert for thousands of people.
Hundreds of different festivals annually take place all around the globe, but the Jewish Festivals are special. It is hard to say why, but they always attract lots of visitors. And if you decide on one of such festivals you will never forget the holiday you have seen. Good impressions and bright memories are guaranteed.