Maine Jewish Film Festival to kick off 17th season with celebrations

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PORTLAND — Movie lovers can look forward to the end of March when the annual Maine Jewish Film Festival will take place from March 22-29. The Festival will present 22 features, numerous shorts and various speakers over the seven-day period, with screenings in Portland at the Nickelodeon, the Portland Museum of Art and Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, as well as four other locations throughout the state including Railroad Square in Waterville, Frontier in Brunswick, The Strand in Rockland and in Bangor at the Penobscot Theater-Opera House. Tickets are on sale now through mjff.org or Brown Paper Tickets for the Portland screenings and via each venue for those outside Portland.

The festival kicks off on Saturday, March 22, with an opening night party at Akari, 195 Middle St. beginning at 6 p.m. Guests will be able to meet several visiting filmmakers as well as indulge in a specialty cocktail created by Maine Craft Distilling and enjoy hors d’oeuvres provided by Westin’s C². Following the party, guests can head to the Nickelodeon at 1 Temple St. in Portland for the screening of “The Jewish Cardinal” at 7:45 p.m.

“The Jewish Cardinal” is a French drama based on the true story of Aaron Jean-Marie Lustiger, who maintains his identity as a Jew even after converting to Catholicism and joining the priesthood. Appointed by John Paul II as Archbishop of Paris, he has the opportunity to celebrate his identity as a Catholic Jew, gaining supporters and opponents along the way.

Following the screening of “The Jewish Cardinal,” the New England Premier of “Awake Zion” will take place at the Nickelodeon at 10:15 p.m. “Awake Zion” is a music documentary exploring the connections between Rasta, Reggae, and Judaism. One woman’s journey from Brooklyn to Jamaica to Israel looks at what it means to be Jewish, what it means to be Rasta, and what it means to be “home.” An after-party will follow at Federal Spice, 225 Federal St.

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Tickets to the opening night party and film screening in Portland are $40 per person and can be purchased by calling 1-800-838-3006 or going online to Brown Paper Tickets.

“The Jewish Cardinal” will also be showing at the same time at Railroad Square in Waterville, Frontier in Brunswick, and The Strand in Rockland.

The full schedule of festival films and events is available online at www.mjff.org/2014-daytoday.

The Maine Jewish Film Festival is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide a forum for the presentation of films to enrich, educate and entertain a diverse community about the global Jewish experience.

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