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Minneapolis Jewish Film Festival Features Two GLBT Gems

By Lavender March 29, 2010

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Once again, the Minneapolis Jewish Film Festival, running April 8-18, is GLBT-friendly, with some wonderful offerings.

Festival Director Miriam Kabakov shares, “Last April, I went to the Tribeca Film Festival to scout out some new films for our festival this year. A Matter of Size and Off and Running were two that I saw, and absolutely loved. They are both very different kinds of films, but both speak to a very broad audience, and have GLBT content.”

A Matter of Size (screens April 8), directed by Sharon Maymon and Erez Tadmor, is a delightful comedy that muses on body image and sumo wrestling, with a gay bear subplot—but in Israel.

Off And Running (screens April 11), a groundbreaking documentary about Avery, a terrific African-American teen who was raised by two Jewish lesbians, reveals rather than advocates a naturally well-adjusted family with two moms.

Director Nicole Opper shares, “I am drawn to films that don’t tell us how to think. Today’s savvy audiences will detect a hidden agenda at lightning speed. Aside from that, this was the style that came naturally to the film, in part because I knew this family, and I was in love with this family long before they ever agreed to be on film. I think they could see this right away. I was a 20-year-old Jewish lesbian when I first encountered them, and I had never met lesbian moms who had formed a family after coming out.”

Kabakov adds, “City of Borders [screens April 15] just happened to come our way. It speaks to situations of conflict and peace, crossing boundaries, and overcoming obstacles as well as stereotypes.”

Director Yun Suh went behind Palestinian lines to interview Boody, an effeminate gay Muslim who sneaks over the wall that separates him from Jerusalem’s gay life. The film also has an intense lesbian couple—Palestinian Samira and Israeli Ravit—as well as a macho gay Israeli man, Adam. We find that Israel and Palestine both have profound and violent homophobia issues.

Suh explains, “Since City of Borders is based in a war-torn region, we inevitably encountered many barriers. For instance, while shooting in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood during an antigay demonstration, my cinematographer and I were hit with tomatoes, potatoes, and zucchini thrown at us. A group of young religious men slammed into my cinematographer. We were also taken in by the Palestinian Secret Service while interviewing a Palestinian man the police were seeking.”

Minneapolis Jewish Film Festival
Apr. 8-18
Various Venues
www.mplsjff.org

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