Industries & Festivals — February 3, 2013 at 11:14 am

First ever micro film festival to celebrate Jewish culture

silenceAs a Jewish kid growing up in North London in the 1950s and ‘60s, Steve Saragossi loved the BBC radio series You Don’t Have to be Jewish.

So, all these years later, Saragossi had a ready-made title for a new Australian film festival which will examine Jewish culture and identity around the world.

The “You Don’t Have to Be Jewish! Film Festival” is due to launch in February 2013, in Brisbane.

Brisbane is an interesting choice of location as a test case for the inaugural festival as Saragossi estimates the city has a Jewish population of about 10,000.

“We’re hoping to appeal to a broader audience,” he says. On the Monday after the fest, the director figures he’ll know whether it’s been a success. If so, he envisions staging the event annually three or four times a year in all five locations, starting in April-May.

If the event is successful, measured primarily in “bums on seats”, festival director Saragossi plans to tour the event later that year in Canberra, Adelaide, Perth and Byron Bay on the NSW Far North Coast.

Reportedly, 9 films will be screened over 2 days at the State Library of Queensland, presented by the Jewish Film Foundation of Australia.

Among the highlights will be the Mosaic trilogy of films directed by Philippe Mora: Gertrude Stein Mystery or Some Like It Art, German Sons and Continuity.

Independent Australian filmmaker Andrew Leavold has recently said that he will be hosting a “Q&A” session with Philippe Mora at the festival.

The Los Angeles-based Mora, who began his career in Australia, will attend the festival and conduct a master class in Brisbane and Melbourne on ‘gonzo’ filmmaking in Australia in the 1970s.

Speaking of low-budget films, Mora made such movies as The Beast Within (1982), and Mercenary 2 (1997).

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