The San Diego Jewish Film Festival rolled out its 2012 lineup and it includes an event to end all events: a Jews in Toons seminar! No, not Jews in Tune (who can afford Streisand?), but an evening dedicated to celebrating many of your favorite circumcised cartoon characters.
This year's fest, which runs February 9-19, will be held at an unprecedented 5 locations across San Diego County: Reading Cinemas Town Square 14 in Clairemont Mesa, UltraStar Mission Valley Cinemas at Hazard Center, Edwards San Marcos Stadium 18, the Carlsbad Village Theatre in Carlsbad, and at the David & Dorothea Garfield Theatre at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center.
Mike Reiss (The Simpsons, The Critic, Queer Duck) will host the Jews in Toons symposium at 7:30 p.m. on Thurs, Feb. 16. The Emmy and Peabody Award-winning writer/producer will share his behind-the-scenes insights into 3 popular animated TV series: Family Guy, South Park and The Simpsons. Also scheduled to appear (at least in my mind) are Popeye the Tailor, Fred Flintstein, Klutz Cargo, Goofy Lipschitz, Rainbow Breitbart, and Winnie the Dreck.
Phil "Wall of Hair" Spector.
Complimenting the animation celebration will be an intimate look at the otherwise inanimate record producer/convicted killer, Phil Spector. Phil Spector’s music was the soundtrack of our lives (tell that to murder victim Lana Clarkson) and the documentary The Agony and the Ecstasy of Phil Spector, which screens Sat., Feb. 11, Sun., Feb. 12 and, Wed., Feb. 15, offers "a portrait of an insecure genius haunted by his lonely childhood, angered by perceived disrespect, and jealous of contemporaries."
With 48 movies on the docket, “this year’s festival line-up has more screenings than ever before,” says Sandra Kraus, SDJFF Producer. “You may never have the opportunity to see these films again!" (Note to Ms. Kraus: Please put a screener of The Agony and the Ecstasy of Phil Spector in the mail yesterday.)
In addition to the films, there will be numerous special events. Family Day encourages you to bring the whole mishpochah to enjoy a movie. There's the Baby & Me screening for parents with children under one year of age. Teen Screen Night hosts a pizza dinner (hold the sausage and pepperoni) for teens only, followed by a showing of Kaddish for a Friend, "the story of an unlikely friendship between Ali, a fourteen-year-old Palestinian refugee who hates Jews, and an elderly Russian Jew, Alexander, who passionately wants to continue living independently."
As always, we have an appearance by Joyce Axelrod, SDJFF's resident Yiddishe Momma, and a walking mamaloshen if ever there was one. The 10th Annual Joyce Forum, named in honor of the festival founder, is a yearly celebration of "rising stars and seasoned filmmakers." This year, Joyce curates Shorts in Winter, a gathering of short films to screen free of charge at 2:30 p.m. on Mon., Feb. 13, at the Clairemont Reading 14. Included in the package will be Ingrid Pitt: Beyond the Forest, a short animated by my friend, colleague, and favorite Asian landsman, Perry Chen.
There is much happening at this year's festival. It took me less time to get through the Book of Leviticus than it did the SDJFF press release. Single ticket prices for most films are $10.75- $12.75 for seniors, $11.75 for JCC members, and $13.75 for non-members. For more information and a list of locations, titles, and showtimes visit http://www.sdcjc.org/sdjff/">SDJFF.org.