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Buffalo International Jewish Film Festival goes virtual


The Buffalo International Jewish Film Festival was one of the many cultural events affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally scheduled for March 20–26, the BIJFF will carry on with its thirty-fifth annual festival virtually. It’s a route taken by local venues like the Dipson Theatres, North Park Theatre, Aurora Theatre, and Screening Room Cinema & Arts Cafe.


“After having to postpone our scheduled film festival a week before our opening, we have been contemplating whether we should wait to see if the opportunity to present live in the theater was foreseeable in the near future,” says Katie Wzontek, the Jewish Community Center of Greater Buffalo’s Director of Cultural Arts. “We decided to go virtual, making the films accessible for anyone to watch in the comfort and safety of their own home.” 


Eleven films will be available for home streaming starting on August 1 and running through August 21. It’s a way for the venerable festival to continue its tradition of films that highlight the Jewish experience. 


“As much as we are all eager to gather and engage and begin to regain some sense of normalcy in our lives, we also realize that everyone has their own comfort level with reopening,” Wzontek says. “Many of our supporters are in high-risk categories, so we felt the virtual option was the best to ensure that those who want to enjoy these amazing films will be able to do so.”


The lineup includes fascinating selections like Crescendo (above), the story of an Israeli-Palestinian youth orchestra; Witness Theater, a unique program of staged testimonies from Holocaust survivors; and The Spy Behind Home Plate, a documentary about the Major League Baseball catcher turned US spy, Moe Berg.


Films are available to stream for a seventy-hour window, and can be watched by purchasing a ticket at bijff.com. Pricing and detailed information on each film can be found at the site.


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