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Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival ready for start

The third annual Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival (LAJFF) kicks off May 8th by commemorating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel with the Los Angeles premiere of Lynn Roth’s The Little Traitor. The Festival will honor Theodore Bikel with a special award on Opening Night and Joan Rivers with the Marlene Adler Marks Woman of Inspiration Award, presented by the MorningStar Commission, on a special evening during the festival.

“I can’t think of a better way to celebrate our third annual festival than by honoring Israel’s 60th anniversary with Lynn Roth’s inspiring and poignant film and Theodore Bikel’s work within the Jewish community,” said Executive Director Hilary Helstein. “The week-long festivities continue with film screenings, cultural events, and of course, a very special evening celebrating the talented and accomplished Joan Rivers.”

The Los Angeles premiere of The Little Traitor will open the festival on Thursday, May 8th at the Writers’ Guild Theatre in Beverly Hills. Written and directed by Lynn Roth and produced by Eitan Evan, the film is set in Israel in 1947 just before it becomes an independent state and stars Alfred Molina, Ido Port, and Theodore Bikel. LAJFF will honor Theodore Bikel on Opening Night with a special award for his achievement in promoting Jewish culture in media. The Consul General of Israel, Jacob Dayan will also be present to bring greetings from the state of Israel on the occasion of its 60th birthday. A reception will follow the program and screening sponsored by the Jewish Federation’s Tel Aviv-Los Angeles Partnership program.

Austrian-born Theodore Bikel is an Academy Award and Tony Award nominated actor in film, theater and television; a musician and legendary folk singer; radio host; president of Actors’ Equity; political activist; Jewish spokesman; and author. He made his film debut in The African Queen (1951) and was nominated for an Academy Award for his role as the southern sheriff in The Defiant Ones (1958). Since then, he has appeared in over thirty motion pictures in addition to numerous plays and television shows classics such as My Fair Lady and the Russians Are Coming! the Russians Are Coming! to the more recent films Shattered and the remake of Crime and Punishment. Mr. Bikel is also an accomplished folk singer who has recorded 20 albums and sings in over 26 different languages.

LAJFF and the MorningStar Commission will honor Joan Rivers on Tuesday, May 13th with the Marlene Adler Marks Woman of Inspiration Award. The ceremony will be followed by the Los Angeles premiere of Making Trouble produced by the Jewish Women’s Archive at the Skirball Cultural Center. Joan River’s career has spanned the decades as a successful multi-hypenate as a comedian, actress, talk show host, businesswoman, author, celebrity and an active philanthropist bringing her brash humor, talents and tenacity to each role.

The Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival is a week of events celebrating the diversity of the Jewish experience through film. Most screenings are co-produced with local partners and enhanced by panel discussions with the filmmakers, cast and special guests. By featuring films that highlight Jewish culture, traditions and challenges, the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival seeks to promote tolerance and encourages dialogue within the Greater Los Angeles community.

The Festival takes place May 8-15, 2008 with over thirty features, documentaries, short subjects and cultural events at various locations around Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley. Venues include the WGA Theatre, Laemmle’s Town Center (Encino), Lammle’s One Colorado (Pasadena), Laemmle’s Music Hall (Beverly Hills), Arclight Cinemas Sherman Oaks, Westside JCC, Skirball Cultural Center, Knitting Factory Hollywood, Valley Beth Shalom, Sinai Temple, Wilshire Boulevard Temple, Temple Beth, Haverim, Hillel at UCLA, and the Emanuel Arts Center Theatre.

The Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival is presented by the Westside JCC with support from the Jewish Federation and Valley Alliance. This Festival is made possible by the generosity of our sponsors to date: Platinum: Robert and Annette Lichtenstein Family Trust, The Jewish Federation Valley Alliance, Gail and Irv Weintraub Family Fund, The Marcia Israel Foundation Gold: Mireille and Barry Wolfe, Kim and Rob Cavallo, KGIL 1260 AM, Andy and Karen Gold, Kaufman, Kaufman & Miller, ArcLight Cinemas, Alex Grossman Silver: Goldrich Family Foundation, Theodore & Renee Weiler Foundation, Valley Beth Shalom, Jewish Women’s Alliance Bronze: William Morris Agency, Lisa and David Auerbach, Temple Beth Am, Goethe-Institut Los Angeles, Tel Aviv – Los Angeles Partnership, Michelle and David Cohan/Remax Realtors, Sinai Temple, Glyphix, The Ant Farm, See Thru Soul Patron: Shirley and Phil Sniderman, Gerald and Jane Anenberg, Cori Drasin and Alanna Drasin, Syd Leibovitch/Rodeo Realty, Rebekah and Howard Farber, Susan and Mike Vizvary, Beit Issie Shapiro, HaMercaz, Temple Aliyah, Temple Beth Haverim, Temple Emanuel, Temple Kol Tikvah, Temple Mishkon Tephilo, Pasadena Jewish Temple & Center, Stephen S. Wise Temple, Laemmle Theaters, Scott Widitor Friends of the Festival: Steven and Stacy Geller, Rob and Michele Feher, Gloria and David Margulies, Jewish Journal, Shomrei Torah Synagogue, Temple Beth Chayim Chadashim, Temple Judea, Wilshire Boulevard Temple, Center for Jewish Studies at UCLA, Gelson’s Community Partners: MorningStar Commission, ATID of Sinai Temple, the Jerusalem Foundation, The Entertainment Division of The Jewish Federation, Let My People Sing, Jewish World Watch, JDate, Jewish Television Network, Hadassah, Latin American Jewish Association, Yiddishkayt LA, Milken Community High School, Heschel Day School, New Jewish Community High School, Kadima-Heschel West Day School, University Synagogue, CSUN Jewish Studies Dept., WJCC Maccabi, Consulate General of Argentina, Consulate General for the Republic of Poland, Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles, The French Embassy - LA Film and TV Office, VBS Men’s Club.

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