Atlanta Jewish Film Festival Opens at the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center, Feb. 8

The 23rd annual Atlanta Jewish Film Festival opens Feb. 8 and closes Feb. 21 with blockbuster films screening at the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center. Tickets are already selling for the 60 films, originating in more than a dozen countries, that will include full-length narratives, documentaries and short films.

Opening night will feature the Atlanta premiere of a sweet Israeli film, Karaoke, which received 14 Israeli Academy Award nominations, including for Best Film. The closing night film, Killing Me Softly With His Songs, tells the story of the life and iconic works of lyricist-composer Charles Fox. Nearly three dozen screenings will be held at the Sandy Springs center during the festival with free parking available, and open to the entire Atlanta community.

World premieres and more

Among those films will be the world premiere of the documentary, Israel Swings for Gold, which is a sequel to a 2017 film and follows Israel’s baseball team as it competes in the 2020 Summer Olympics. Filmmakers and members of the Atlanta Braves team will provide special appearances.

Israel Swings for Gold

Other notable screenings include the North American premiere of The Devil’s Confession: The Lost Eichmann Tapes, the world premiere of Musical Tales of the Venetian Jewish Ghetto and the Southeastern premiere of Remember This, a one-man theatrical performance by award-winning stage and screen actor David Strathairn. He portrays Jan Karski, a Polish diplomat who tried in vain to warn Western leaders of the mass killings of Jews.

All four of these premieres will have screenings at the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center.

the largest Jewish film festival in the world

After a hiatus during the pandemic which forced the film festival to exhibit its movies via streaming, this year the public will be welcomed to in-theatre screenings (as well as some films still shown virtually). The in-person presentations are often followed by panel discussions with filmmakers, actors and other experts.

During its more than two decades, the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival has burgeoned from welcoming fewer than 2,000 film-goers to making history by becoming the largest Jewish film festival in the world. Attracting more than 18,600 moviegoers before the pandemic pause.

“Volunteers are the backbone of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival”

According to Kenny Blank, executive and artistic director of the AJFF, the festival would not have become Atlanta’s largest film festival without the hundreds of volunteers who contribute their time to the endeavor. “Volunteers are the backbone of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival,” he said. “Without their tireless dedication and enthusiasm, the festival would not be able to reach its full potential. They provide vital skills and perspectives, such as fundraising, community outreach, film evaluation, strategic planning, and serving as ambassadors. Their dedication and passion make the festival a success and ensure its ongoing growth.” [Full disclosure, this writer has served as a volunteer.]

This year alone, the more than 100 volunteer members of the AJFF film evaluation committee reviewed 584 film submissions, curating it down to 60 total titles for the 2023 lineup. Since 2000, the AJFF has offered more than 1,200 films. (All the titles can be found at More than 350 volunteers serve on committees to evaluate films, provide suggestions for guest programming, and offer their expertise on finance, governance, communications, community engagement and steering committees. This year the AJFF will also be launching an inaugural education committee. The festival seeks to engage new, younger audiences and next generation film lovers.

The annual festival was launched by the Atlanta regional office of the American Jewish Committee, a global advocacy organization whose focus is the Jewish community and Israel. Although the festival still partners with the AJC, it is now an independent non-profit arts organization. Prior to the pandemic, it had offices at the Macquarium building on Peachtree Road. Today, the 13 full-time staff all work remotely. This year’s festival will be its first-ever hybrid, with more than 100 screenings at five metro Atlanta venues. Twenty-two titles will be streamed in what the Festival calls its Virtual Cinema. Tickets are available at