The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival has received a competitive grant from the Oscar-granting Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the second time in its 17-year history.
The $10,000 grant is meant to support programming that showcases Israeli history, culture and politics at the annual winter festival, which is the second-largest Jewish film festival in the world, and during AJFF’s increasing efforts at year-round events.
The May 11 launch of the AJFF Selects series with a showing of the romantic comedy “The Wedding Plan” and the April screening and discussion of “Brave Miss World” in partnership with the Jewish Women’s Fund of Atlanta are examples of Israeli programming outside the annual festival.
AJFF is among 44 programs splitting a total of $500,000 in grants for the 2017-18 fiscal year through the academy’s FilmCraft and FilmWatch programs, which aim to identify and empower future filmmakers from nontraditional backgrounds, cultivate new and diverse talent, promote motion pictures as an art form, and provide a platform for underrepresented artists.
Each grant ranges from $5,000 to $20,000.
“This year the grants will support nonprofit organizations in 24 communities across the country, reach underserved high school students, support emerging and midcareer filmmakers of all ages, and will provide unique opportunities for enrichment and engagement with the cinematic community and its artists,” Buffy Shutt, the chair of the academy’s grants committee, said in a statement.
The $10,000 FilmWatch grant is earmarked for the AJFF Life in Israel program, featuring films and panels exploring issues tied to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, immigration, sports, history, culture and life in Israel.
“It is an honor to be recognized not only by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, but to be in the company of so many other film festivals and film presenters that we hold in such high esteem,” AJFF Executive Director Kenny Blank said. “There is no greater validation in the film arts field than to be recognized by the academy.”
The nearest programs outside Atlanta to receive academy grants are Indie Grits’ Visiones program of Latino film and culture in Columbia, S.C.; the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival’s five-week documentary film school for high school students in Durham, N.C.; and the New Orleans Film Society’s Emerging Voices Mentorship Program.
The only other Jewish program to receive a grant is the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, Atlanta’s rival for the unofficial title of world’s largest Jewish film festival. The Bay Area festival won money to support a two-week program on the experiences of immigrants and refugees.
The previous AJFF grant from the academy came about a decade ago and was more general in supporting the festival’s mission of using film to build bridges of understanding between communities. That grant largely supported operations of the still-young, rapidly growing festival.