Encouraging creativity and culture

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Brussels Jewish International Film Festival 2023

Brussels

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Vision

The BJIFF 2023 has taken place in Brussels from 7 March to 12 March 2023 at Bozar, the Brussels Center for Fine Arts, and at the Aventure movie theater, an independent movie theater.

We have screened 6 movies and except for Babi Yar Context, which had been shown once in Belgium, all the movies had not been released in Belgium and are unlikely to ever be seen in the country.

We hosted four Q&A sessions following the screenings, three of them in the presence of the directors and one with the directors talking live from the US.

Activity

Throughout last year IMAJ has organized many events relating to Jewish culture and history.

For example, we have organized two series of successful conferences with Film Professor Olivier Lecomte on the theme of (i) Jewish humor in American films and (ii) the Jewish aspects of the Coen Brothers movies.

We have also organized successful screenings on various themes, such as After Munich to commemorate the Munich massacre of the Olympics in 72.

Also, we have organized the screening of Fran├žois Englert, Nobel et Rebel, a documentary on the Belgian Jewish physics professor, Fran├žois Englert, Physics Nobel Prize recipient in 2013 for his work on the discovery of the Higgs Boson, and who was a child hidden in Belgium during WWII.

As for the Festival itself, our main achievement was to be able to organize the screening of Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A song at Bozar, the most prestigious art venue in Brussels.

We were able to gather 400 people in a packed room.

The screening was preceded by a speech delivered by the Ambassador of Canada in Belgium and Luxembourg and was followed by a very interesting conversation between the directors of the movie (who joined by videoconference from LA) and Professor Francis Mus, a literature professor at the Ghent University (Belgium) and author of a book on Leonard Cohen.

The closing of the Festival took also place at Bozar with the emotional screening of Babi Yar Context, a documentary directed by Sergey Loznitsa, on the Babi Yar massacre perpetrated in 1943 and during which more than 30.000 Jews were shot to death over a weekend. The screening was followed by an intense and very interesting Q&A session with Sergey Loznitsa.

Another achievement is the fact that we have been able to coordinate with other Jewish film festival, such as the Paris Israeli Film Festival, which started literally the day after the BJIFF closed. That has allowed us to do cross communication but also to bring the Israeli director Moshe Rosenthal, Director of Karaoke, on a tour from Tel Aviv to Brussels and Paris, which was something that we might had not been able to do otherwise.

We believe that the organization was a success and that the fact that we had been able to organize two screenings at Bozar was a key factor as it brought a very different audience compared to our usual followers.

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