Our Story

Founded in 2008, the Athens Jewish Film Festival brings quality Jewish films to Athens, GA through an annual festival and year-round events. Our mission is two-fold: to review, discuss, and celebrate films of Jewish interest, and to encourage emerging filmmakers.

Funds for launching the Athens Jewish Film Festival in 2009 came from grants awarded by the Athens-Clarke County Mayor’s Community Improvement Fund, from the Georgia Humanities Council through appropriations from the Georgia General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and from the generous support of our sponsors, donors, and members.

Annual Festival – March 24-28, 2018

Our Main Event is an annual festival that includes a variety of feature films, shorts, and documentaries. Festival programming includes discussions with visiting filmmakers and academics, as well as a short film competition for emerging filmmakers.

The 2018 festival kicks off on March 24 with an Opening Night Gala, which includes a festive, celebratory dinner and one of the Festival’s premiere films at the Georgia Museum of Art; and ends on March 28 starting with a catered Closing Night Party at Athens’ Indigo Hotel, followed by our Closing Night Film. There will be multiple screenings of our other feature films at Athens Ciné March 25-27.

Year-Round Screenings & Special Events

Throughout the year, Athens Jewish Film Festival has brought screenings to venues around town including Ciné, The Georgia Museum of Art, The Morton Theatre, the Athens-Clarke County Library, the UGA Tate Center, the UGA Special Collections Libraries, and the R. Harold Harrison Center at Athens Academy. These films feature emerging filmmakers and their films as well as classic Jewish cinema.

Emerging Filmmaker Competition

Our Shorts Contest was also founded in 2008. From 2010–2016, it was facilitated by a grant from the Saul O. Sidore Foundation. The Competition has encouraged emerging filmmakers whose work focuses on the Jewish experience in a variety of times and places. Competition winners receive cash prizes, which are announced and awarded during the annual festival Main Event.

About Athens, GA

Athens is the cultural center of Northeast Georgia. It is a small town with a major university, a symphony orchestra, a serious art museum and an internationally renowned music scene. Athens is a cosmopolitan city with widespread support and interest in various ethnic cultural events. And, the Athens Jewish Film Festival is well supported across many Jewish and non-Jewish segments of the population.

Athens also has a variety of Jewish institutions. There are several congregations that meet regularly; the largest, Congregation Children of Israel, with approximately 170 families, is a Reform congregation. UGA’s more than 1,500 Jewish students, are served by Hillel UGA and Rohr Chabad House. Each of these entities supports the Festival. There are, of course, many Jews in Athens who are unaffiliated with any of these organizations. Happily the Festival finds significant support among these folks as well.

The success of the inaugural Athens Jewish Film Festival convinced us there was a receptive population for a continuation of this endeavor in Athens, Georgia. Now, as we sit on the cusp of the Festival’s 10th Anniversay, we feel that our faith in the community’s interest in the Festival was well placed.

Thank you to all who contributed to make this run so long and successful!


Athens JFF Officers

Ron Zell
Lynn Elmore
Roy Martin
Marsha Crowell
Corresponding Secretary
Abraham Tesser, President Emeritus

Athens JFF Board

Ken Feinstein
Martha Feinstein
Barbette Houser
Jan Harris
Pamela Jessurum
Elizabeth Katz
Sidney Kushner
Helene Schwartz
Gary Shore
Julia Shore
Phillip Rosenbaum
Marlene Stewart
Athens Jewish Film Festival
P.O. Box 5069
Athens, Georgia 30604