Film previews you need to read before Charlotte Jewish Film Festival starts Feb. 11

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The Charlotte Jewish Film Festival is one of the longest enduring annual film series in the city, entering its 13th consecutive year.

The festival’s year-round programming culminates with a 13-film extravaganza screened over 23 days from Feb. 11 to March 5.

Packed with supplemental offerings featuring director talk-backs, special star appearances, concerts and catered receptions (Oy, the food!), CJFF has crafted a winning formula, executed by an all-volunteer staff. Festival goers are routinely rewarded by screening of under-the-radar films worthy of discovery.

Here is a preview of this year’s films. Many are already sold out – Check the festival site here for more information.

“The Women’s Balcony”

A touching drama about upheaval in a small Orthodox community in Jerusalem when their synagogue experiences an accident that tests the congregation’s values, beliefs and integrity of friendships and family. One of the highest grossing films in Israel for 2016 and nominated for five Israeli Film Academy Awards. Opening night, with a reception to follow film. 7:15 p.m. Sat., Feb. 11. Temple Israel, 4901 Providence Rd. $25.

“On the Map”

The true David vs. Goliath story of Maccabi Tel Aviv’s historic 1977 European Basketball Championship run. Team leader Tal Brody, legendary American/Israeli basketball player virtually unknown outside of Israel, is scheduled to appear. 7:15 p.m. Sun., Feb. 12. Temple Israel, 4901 Providence Rd. $15.

“Who’s Gonna Love Me Now?”

Documentary telling of a gay Israeli man rejected by his family who finds support, family and community through the London Gay Men’s Chorus. The Gay Men’s Chorus of Charlotte is scheduled to perform. 7:15 p.m. Wed., Feb. 15. Temple Israel, 4901 Providence Rd. $10.

Who's gonna love me now 6 Photo by Todor Krastev

“The Last Laugh”

Is the Holocaust off-limits in comedy routines? Jewish comics Jerry Seinfeld, Rob Reiner, Gilbert Gottfried, Mel Brooks, Sarah Silverman and many others test humor’s limits in this thoughtful documentary. 7:15 p.m. Thur., Feb. 16. Temple Israel, 4901 Providence Rd. $10.

“Moos”

Dutch rom-com about chasing dreams, fending off meddling family members and being true to yourself. Hanne Arendzen is funny, charming and superbly cast in this upbeat and clever flick. 7:15 p.m. Sat., Feb. 18. Regal Ballantyne, 14815 Ballantyne Village Way. $10.

“Mr. Gaga”

Stunning film documenting the amazing talent of choreographer and artistic director of the Batsheva Dance Company, Ohad Naharin. You don’t have to love dance to love this film – it’s beautifully filmed and provides a rare glimpse into the creative process of this renowned artist. 7:15 p.m. Sun., Feb. 19. Regal Ballantyne, 14815 Ballantyne Village Way. $10.

“Wounded Land”

Cop thriller with intense series of events unfold in a surprising way. Winner of 2015 Israeli Film Academy Awards for director and actor. 7:15 p.m. Wed., Feb. 22. Regal Ballantyne, 14815 Ballantyne Village Way. $10.

“Fanny’s Journey”

Based upon the true story of French refugee children in WWII sent to an Italian foster home only to find themselves escaping Nazi persecution through a harrowing journey to Switzerland. Child acting at its finest and an illustration of the power of determination, persistence and the human spirit. 7:15 p.m. Sat.,  Feb. 25. Regal Ballantyne, 14815 Ballantyne Village Way. $10.

“Shtisel”

Two episodes of the smash-hit Israeli TV series exploring the everyday conundrums of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish family. Jarring juxtaposition of contemporary life and pious beliefs. Be warned – this show is addictive and binge-worthy, you’ll have to buy the DVD series as it is not available on streaming services – yet. 2 p.m. Sun., Feb. 26. Regal Ballantyne, 14815 Ballantyne Village Way. $10.

“Big Sonia”

Ninety-year-old Holocaust survivor and Kansas City tailor shop owner Sonia Warshawski may be diminutive in stature yet she has a most outsized personality. Inspiring everyone she meets from toughened men’s prison inmates to high school students, all who hear her story are moved. Filmmakers Leah Warshawski (granddaughter) and Todd Soliday are scheduled to appear. 7:15 p.m. Wed., March 1. Regal Ballantyne, 14815 Ballantyne Village Way. $10.

“Fever at Dawn”

Quirky story of a concentration camp survivor, hopelessly romantic and ill Hungarian man who forges pen-pal-then- in-person relationship leading to love. Beautiful cinematography lends to this fascinating true tale. 7:15 p.m. Sat., March 4. Regal Ballantyne, 14815 Ballantyne Village Way. $10.

“The Pickle Recipe”

Comedic yarn involving a caper to heist a prized pickle recipe. Co-writer/producer Sheldon Cohn is scheduled to appear. 2 p.m. Sun., March 5. Regal Ballantyne, 14815 Ballantyne Village Way. $10.

“In Search of Israeli Cuisine”

Discover the journey of what defines true Israeli cuisine with chef Michael Solomonov. Closing film with reception catered by YAFO Kitchen. 5:30 p.m. Sun., March 5. Regal Ballantyne, 14815 Ballantyne Village Way. $15.

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Photos: CJFF, Todor Krastev

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