The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival (AJFF), one of the most influential Jewish film festivals in the world, continues to cement its status as an innovator. Since the COVID-19 pandemic struck, AJFF has pivoted to all-virtual programming and reimagined the entirety of its landmark festival, which is set to take place Feb.17-28. In addition to watching movies from the comfort and convenience of home via a Virtual Cinema, audiences will also enjoy three nights of drive-in movies at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and The Home Depot Backyard, plus in-depth and expanded Q&A conversations, a “Virtual Lobby” to connect with other moviegoers, a curated and custom “Festival-In-A-Box” for Opening Night ticket holders, along with other special experiences.
AJFF has also announced its full 2021 lineup, providing audiences a robust selection of diverse and high-caliber films for which the festival has become known. This year, more than 500 films were submitted for consideration, with 38 feature and 16 short films selected – including three World premieres, eight North American premieres, three U.S. premieres, and one world premiere local film. The film selection covers a range of genres, with everything from introspective biographies like Howie Mandel: But, Enough About Me; topical themes like On Broadway or Atlanta: The City Too Busy to Wait; side-splitting comedies like Shiva Baby; LGBTQ+ stories like Kiss Me Kosher; powerful dramas like Asia; and so much more. The full lineup and schedule are available at AJFF.org.
“In a year of firsts and unprecedented challenges, AJFF has worked tirelessly to reimagine the annual festival in a way that preserves the most cherished qualities of this annual celebration of community and the cinematic arts,” said AJFF Executive Director Kenny Blank. “Though the experience itself will be undeniably different, the power of these films to connect and inspire us is more deeply felt and appreciated than ever. Our hybrid edition embraces all of the opportunities that virtual affords us while continuing our commitment to bring audiences ‘together through film’ in new ways.”
The 2021 AJFF will feature a number of new offerings and experiences, including:
Extensive At-Home Viewing Options:
For a full 12 days, AJFF’s diverse lineup of narrative and documentary shorts and features are accessible to viewers from the comfort of home. Powered by CineSend, AJFF’s Virtual Cinema will allow audiences to access the best in Jewish cinema from a smart TV, home theater, tablet, or mobile device. Requiring only a single ticket per film for each household, viewers will have a flexible 48-hour window to watch festival films at their convenience. Each film has a limited capacity of views, so audiences are encouraged to purchase their tickets in advance. General admission for virtual screenings is $16/household ($14 early bird pricing), and for special events, which include Opening and Closing Night, admission is $36/household.
Drive-In Screenings at The Home Depot Backyard at Mercedes-Benz Stadium:
Against the spectacular backdrop of Mercedes-Benz Stadium, AJFF invites audiences to enjoy the throwback fun of drive-in movies at the 11-acre greenspace of The Home Depot Backyard. Accommodating over 200 vehicles nightly for this premium experience, the AJFF drive-in includes three special evenings of film on Feb.18, Feb. 20, and Feb. 21. Kicking off with AJFF’s Young Professionals Night, followed by two campy, kitschy Hollywood classics: Mel Brooks’s sci-fi spoof Spaceballs and the musical comedy Little Shop of Horrors, this exciting venue provides guests the ability to watch on the big screen while remaining safely socially distant. Each drive-in pass can be purchased for $40 and accounts for parking for one car, regardless of how many people are in the vehicle, so bring the whole family along! Food trucks will be on-site serving delicious bites, to enjoy from the comfort of your vehicle.
Expanded Q&A Offerings Featuring Filmmakers, Actors + Experts:
AJFF has long been recognized for fostering dialogue and building bridges of understanding between audiences of different faiths and backgrounds. This commitment continues in 2021, with an expanded program of virtual Q&A conversations. A record number of filmmakers, actors and other guest speakers will partake in Q&A programs, recorded especially for AJFF audiences and accessible to watch online throughout the 12 days of the festival.
Virtual Lobby Over Lunch:
AJFF is also launching a “Virtual Lobby,” featuring a series of lunchtime Zoom sessions for the community of moviegoers to join a facilitated discussion, taking a deeper dive into five conversation-starting films of the festival.
To enhance the at-home viewing experience, ticket holders to Opening Night will receive a specially curated “Festival-In-A-Box.” Full of fun comfort items to help create a perfect, stay-at-home viewing experience, the box is full of tasty and cozy surprises.
Tickets go on sale on Jan. 26 for members and on Feb. 10 for the general public.