The AJC Seattle Jewish Film Festival (AJC-SJFF) returns for its “Sweet 16” run March 12 – 20, 2011.  The festival kicks off  March 3 with a Launch Party hosted by Tom Douglas at the Palace Ballroom. AJC-SJFF, the premiere public program of American Jewish Committee Seattle Regional Office (AJC), is well known for offering the best in critically acclaimed, independent Jewish-themed and Israeli films, special events and educational programming.   This year’s festival features 30 international films, with an eye toward “Building Bridges” of mutual understanding through cinema, in community, across global divides.

“Since AJC is a recognized global leader in inter-group and inter-faith relations, the festival showcases films that bridge cultural, geographical, historical and psychological divides,” says Festival Director Pamela Lavitt.  Films such as PRECIOUS LIFE, about an Israeli doctor’s deepening rapport with a Muslim patient’s mother, DELICIOUS PEACE which tells the story of a Ugandan Jewish/Muslim/Christian fair-trade coffee cooperative and 100 VOICES about Jewish-Polish healing through music, are great examples.

“What’s more,” Lavitt continues, “the festival’s focus is building cinematic bridges through dialogue, with a concerted effort to program an unprecedented number of filmmakers, speakers and AJC experts including Jason Isaascson, AJC’s Director of International Affairs and Rabbi Randy Brown, Assistant Director of Inter-religious and Inter-group Affairs to ensure meaningful exchanges as audiences cross cinematic chasms together.”  Opening Night guest and this year’s AJC-SJFF Reel Difference Award recipient is acclaimed Israeli director Eran Riklis (SYRIAN BRIDE, LEMON TREE) who will screen and discuss his new film THE HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGER and his award-winning and bridge-building, border-crossing cinematic landscapes.

The “AJC Bridge Series” debuts at this year’s festival and includes four films examining AJC’s bridge-building mission through film, musical performance and vibrant

discussions.  Films include A PRECIOUS LIFE (March 13), DELICIOUS PEACE GROWS IN A UGANDAN COFFEE BEAN (March 14), THE ROUND-UP and the closing night program featuring 100 VOICES: A JOURNEY HOME (March 20).  Films on Monday, March 14 including DELICIOUS PEACE, A SMALL ACT and WRONG SIDE OF THE BUS focus on “Jewish Activism in Africa.”

The “Sweets 16” Screenings encourage festival-goers to enjoy “Sweet Treat” screenings sponsored by local sweet vendors such as Holly Levin/The Cake Lady, Top Pot Doughnuts, Central Coop, Trabant Coffee & Chai and Blazing Bagels.

This year’s festival gets underway with a Red Carpet Launch Party and Short Film Program on March 3 at the Tom Douglas Palace Ballroom.  The event showcases “culinary bridges” and creative Jewish cuisine, an international “spice market” of global flavors, the transnational rhythms of The Eli Rosenblatt Band and an exclusive short film series, all celebrating AJC-SJFF’s “Spicy Sweet 16.”

Venues include AMC Pacific Place 11, SIFF Cinema at McCaw Hall, Stroum JCC and the popular online streaming short film festival at IndieFlix.com.

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