Walking the Red Carpet | Jaffe’s Jewish Jive

By Marcia Jaffe

Two of the key players in the festival are theater owner George Lefont (left), in a custom suit from Hong Kong, and Emory film professor Matt Bernstein, in Armani.

This year’s gala premiere kickoff of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival was a producer’s dream, considering the snowstorm we had in 2014 that postponed the entire event.

On Jan. 28, more than 2,000 eager fans gathered at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre to see “Above and Beyond,” a documentary about U.S. and other Allied pilots from World War II who returned to the skies to support Israel in the 1948 War of Independence and helped create the Israeli air force.

Hollywood’s Globes and Oscars have nothing on Atlanta’s fashion forwards. Those AJFF sponsors and others who had $300 for a ticket or important friends gathered before the movie for an open bar and a dozen top-shelf restaurants and other vendors proffering gourmet samples.

Trout, grouper, chopped spiced salmon and garnished baba ghanoush were my favorites, but then again I eschew high-calorie choices to be able to squeeze into the tube dress. Back in Tennessee, we had an expression: “It’s hard to pour 20 pounds of flour into a 10-pound sack.”

I thought the food last year was better. I did sneak a cannoli from Corso Coffee, managed by Atlanta’s favorite son David Abes, who recently left Here To Serve Group for this new partnership in flashy Buckhead Atlanta.

’Tis Clothes That Make the Man

We are fascinated by species like birds for which the male (look at the peacock) is the colorful, fashionable one. On our red carpet, the men displayed creative and classic tastes in well-coordinated outfits and were enthusiastic about sharing the details.

Jeffrey Kess was looking forward to “24 Days,” a white-knuckle thriller in French with subtitles about the kidnapping of a French Moroccan Jew.

Kess was decked out in Joseph Abboud and David Donahue but was most enthusiastic about his glass frames from Venice and ostrich shoes. Previously men in black or navy stuck with matching footwear. Not so now! GQ men, like Kess, pair tan shoes with a noire ensemble. I see it in younger men, even at weddings — black or gray suits with brown lace-ups.

Your red-carpet correspondent makes the scene at the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival opening night.

Standout Bram Bessoff sported an authentic Elvis shirt by Orlanksy acquired in Memphis, although his hairstyle was more Al Yankovic than Presley. Bessoff, preparing for the Atlanta Jewish Music Festival in March, said, “I am going to as many movies as humanly possible to show support for the arts.”

Dr. Stanley Fineman, in Joseph Abboud, looked warm layered in a cashmere jacket and tawny vest. Fineman was most enthusiastic about seeing “The Physician” because “I am one. I can relate to that!” Tickets may open up, but “The Physician” is one of the most difficult to secure, having sold out five screenings.

Dr. Ed Gerson, who takes his movies very seriously, said: “I look forward to ‘An Untold Diplomatic History: France and Israel Since 1948’ because of my interest in the historical perspective of French and Israeli relationships. With the political climate in France in light of the recent tragedy, this movie piqued my curiosity about the French and Israeli conflict. This period was clearly an important time and to the events that might have contributed to the challenges Israel and Jews in France are now facing.”

TV personality John Roberts glowed in blocked shirt and contrasting apricot silk tie as he took the stage to recount how he coordinated a Chanukah party at Holy Innocents’ School. Luckily, he had been to Israel and could explain the difference between American and Israeli dreidels.

 

Atlanta’s Entertainment Giants

George Lefont, whose eponymous theater in Sandy Springs is the most popular AJFF destination, looked dapper in a custom-tailored suit secured in Hong Kong. His most eagerly anticipated movie is “Dancing Arabs,” in which a young Palestinian outsider struggles to find his place in Israeli society as he earns a spot in Jerusalem’s most prestigious boarding school. Initially isolated, he slowly overcomes barriers to find empathy with classmates and a forbidden romance with a Jewish girl.

Young George Clooney look-alike Matt Bernstein, who has one of the best jobs in Atlanta as chair of Emory’s film and media studies, was casually adorned in Armani sans tie. Bernstein thought that “ ‘Above and Beyond’ would be most entertaining because of its special effects and veracity.”

Brad Davidoff, one of our most popular media voices, was coordinated in Urban Outfitters, Steve Madden and accented plaid scarf from Bloomingdale’s. He was also on the “Above and Beyond” bandwagon because of his fascination with the Israel Defense Forces.

Joan Rivers Would Have Complimented Our Women

Barbie Bromberg is first to make a fashion turn on the red carpet with a mix of baby-blue tulle and brown bohemian print.

Delta flight attendant Sugar Eisenberg was stunning in vintage Chanel acquired in an obscure boutique in NYC. Sugar projected that “Above and Beyond” would be “relevant and poignant.” Sugar’s dimples could rival those of any Hollywood starlet.

Barbie Bromberg, gowned in A’reve that eclectically mixed baby-blue tulle with brown bohemian print and boots from Fox’s, was the first fashionista on the red carpet.

Knockout blonde Mindy Hylton, an actress, created her own metallic and print outfit that rocked from Forever 21, T.J. Maxx and DSW. “My husband is a history buff; that’s why we are here for this film.”

Arlene Turry put together a jacket from Neiman’s with accessories from Indiaz. Arlene’s favorite is “The Physician.” “As the mother of a Jewish doctor, I’m drawn to all things medical, as here the lead is disguised as a Jew and pretends to be a doctor exploring healing through his telepathic gifts. Plus Ben Kingsley is one of my favorites!”

Your Turn

It’s not too late to secure tickets to the nation’s second-largest largest Jewish film festival (rivaling No. 1 San Francisco). The festival runs through Feb. 19, and while many of the 65 films are sold out, tickets are available for many great screenings. Visit ajff.org to check out the schedule and get your tickets.