San Diegans looking for something to do, might want to consider attending the 27th Annual San Diego Jewish Film Festival from Feb. 8 – 19, held in a number of locations. What makes it special are the variety of movies, including 60 features and shorts. The chosen films mirror the experiences that many in the audience have had themselves or may be hearing about for the first time. The range of subjects includes comedies, current events, history and war, as well as romance and sports. For tickets and information call 858-362-1348 or visit

The goal is to educate and illuminate through evocative, independent fiction and documentary films that portray the Jewish experience from current to historic global perspectives. But you do not have to be Jewish to appreciate the vast subject matters that will be explored. This year’s official opening night begins on Feb. 9 at the “Reading Cinemas Town Square” at 7 p.m. The feature film is a San Diego premiere, “On the Map,” directed by Dani Menkin with commentary by basketball great Bill Walton.

Mr. Menkin told the Military Press he will be in attendance to answer questions after the film. He hopes that anyone who views this film will recognize how the Israeli basketball team fought the David versus Goliath story. It tells the against-all-odds story of Maccabi Tel Aviv’s 1977 win of the European Basketball Cup with many game clips. But to get there, they had to beat the powerful Russian team, who originally refused to play them. Eventually a compromise was met and they played on a neutral site in Belgium. Moments after this highly-charged and historic win, Israeli-American basketball hero Tal Brody stated, “Israel is ON THE MAP, not just in sport, but in everything.”

Menkin considers this one of the greatest sports stories because it “crosses over into the world arena. This is actually bigger than just a sports story. The victory was significant because at that time Israel was still looking for its identity. We are on the map, will stay on the map, not only in basketball, but in everything. It became our eleventh amendment.”

For those interested in military-related films they might want to see the film “Zero Motivation.” It explores banalities of military life with humor and hilarity. In a remote desert military base, a platoon of female soldiers who make up the Human Resources Outlet fight the toughest of all battles, boredom. As the soldiers bide their time pushing paper, shredding documents, and answering to their male counterparts, personalities collide, love is found, and friendships are formed.

In addition to the feature films people can see a number of short films on Feb. 13, none of which are longer than 30 minutes. These films have been grouped into four different programs of approximately two hours, with showings at 10 a.m., 2 p.m., 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Filmmakers will be present for talkbacks at many of the films, including the director Shayna Cohen of “A Children’s Song,” who has strong San Diego ties and will be bringing in cast members as well. At 12:30 p.m. there will be a Filmmaker Panel of guest filmmakers who will convene on stage for a conversation moderated by Joyce Axelrod at the ArcLight La Jolla Cinemas. A film ticket or pass is required for admission.

The Festival features San Diego film premieres, international guest artists, as well as international and local filmmakers. Screenings will be shown at five locations throughout San Diego County. Anyone who wants to get in the mood for the Academy Awards that will air at the end of this month might want to attend the film festival.



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About the Author

Elise Cooper

Elise writes book reviews that always include a short author interview.