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These articles were excerpted from Tapestry, a weekly newsletter that examines the arts and entertainment world in Charlotte and North Carolina.

Charlotte Jewish Film Festival begins Saturday: 'This is the best of Jewish films worldwide'

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A still frame from director Patrice O’Neill’s film ‘Repairing the World,’ showing Feb. 9 at the Charlotte Jewish Film Festival.

After two years of virtual showings, the organizers of this year’s Charlotte Jewish Film Festival are returning to tradition with an opening night gala celebration Saturday for an event now entering its 19th year.

You can’t get any more celebratory – or traditional – than Neva Small performing “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” in a singalong from “Fiddler on the Roof.” Small will describe her experience starring as Chava in the 1971 movie version of “Fiddler” at the festival’s opening night on Feb. 4.

“Our opening night has really become known as a celebratory evening,” said Jeff Turk, chairman of the festival’s screening committee. “We have a film called ‘Fiddler’s Journey to the Big Screen' about the making of the film, and all that went into making the Broadway show that was so revered into a movie that would be as beloved and revered.”

Small was 17 when she was cast in the movie.

In addition to Small, three filmmakers will participate in the festival. Director Steven Pressman will discuss his work on “The Levys of Monticello,” which examines the Levy family’s purchase and preservation of Thomas Jefferson’s home and possessions, on Wednesday, Feb. 8.

Director Patrice O’Neill will discuss “Repairing the World” on Thursday, Feb. 9. O’Neill’s film depicts the aftermath of the deadliest antisemitic attack in U.S. history at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018.

And in an online session from Israel, director Micah Smith will discuss “Exodus 91” at the film’s screening on Wednesday, Feb. 15. Smith’s film chronicles Israel’s airlift of the Ethiopian Jewish community in May 1991.

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Ashton Martin
Queens University News Service
Jeff Turk, chairman of the Charlotte Jewish Film Festival screening committee.

Several films in the festival deal with antisemitism, including “Exodus 91” and “Repairing the World.” There's also a Hitchcockian psychological thriller titled “The Man in the Basement,” a French film that tells the story of a Parisian architect whose new neighbor has a secret life as an antisemitic conspiracy theorist.

The month-long festival represents the work of a 14-member screening committee that reviewed film candidates every Monday night from June through October.

“I’m passionate about working with the Charlotte Jewish Film Festival and being engaged in film selections because I feel like it's a gift to the community,” Turk said. “I really am excited to share them every year. This is the best of Jewish films worldwide.”

Screenings of the 14 films in the festival take place Saturday, Feb. 4 through Sunday, Feb. 26 in venues on the 54-acre campus of Shalom Park on Providence Road. The films will be shown in the Sam Lerner Center for Cultural Arts, Temple Israel and Temple Beth El.

More information, including screening times and prices, is available here.

Tatiana Navarrete Gomez is a student in the James L. Knight School of Communication at Queens University of Charlotte, which provides the news service in support of local community news.

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