MARGATE - The Katz Jewish Community Center's annual Jewish Film Festival is featuring something new this year when it begins May 25.
For the first time, the festival will feature matinees, giving people who can't make the usual evening presentations another opportunity to see some films.
"It's to appeal to two audiences," said Josh Cutler, the JCC's program director. "Some of our clientele and members either don't have transportation in the evening or have other plans in the evening. They just like coming out in the day when they have more free time."
Cutler said the types of films shown during the matinees and in the evening have different feels: The matinee shows are somewhat documentary in nature. The evening shows are more along the lines of traditional movies.
Whatever the nature of the films, Cutler said the film festival is one of a growing number of Jewish film festivals across the country.
"The idea of a Jewish film festival is a national trend across the country," Cutler said. "There seems to be more and more of a niche. If you look online, there are a lot of (Jewish community centers) holding their first, second and third festivals. These are fairly new in the West."
Many of the films shown during the festivals can't be seen in mainstream cinemas, he said. They also can't be found through video stores on on-demand type cable movie systems, he said.
"Many times they have to come to a Jewish film festival to see the films," Cutler said.
Cutler said the JCC formed a committee of about 12 people - primarily those who attend JCC events - and developed a list of about 20 possible movies for the film festival. The group eventually whittled the number down to the six films that will be shown during this year's festival, he said.
The six films have an international flair, he said.
For instance, the film "A Matter of Size" is about an overweight chef living in Israel who eventually decides to become a sumo wrestler to take advantage of his size.
"It has some Japanese influences," Cutler said.
Another film - "Arranged" - is about Jewish woman and a Muslim woman living in New York City who discover that they have more in common than they think.
More information about the film festival, including how to order tickets, can be found on the JCC's website at
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Lineup for Katz Jewish Community Center's film festival
Following is the schedule for the Katz Jewish Community Center's Jewish Film Festival:
'From Shtetl To Swing'
11 a.m. May 25
Between 1880 and 1924, 2.5 million Jews fled Russia and Eastern Europe, kissed the shtetl goodbye and migrated to America. This documentary recounts the cultural attitudes and musical styles that proliferated throughout this period From Shtetl to Swing tells the story of music from Russia to the Great White Way.
'A Matter of Size'
7 p.m. May 27
The story of Herzl, an overweight, unemployed chef living at home with his mother in Israel. Herzl and three hefty friends eventually decide to become sumo wrestlers and use their size as an asset.
'Leaving the Fold'
11 a.m. June 1
The story of five young people raised within the ultra-Orthodox Jewish world who no longer wish to remain on the inside.They pay a steep price for abandoning their parents and community to seek the freedom to make their own choices.
7 p.m. June 3
Gerard Depardieu and Fanny Ardant star in this romantic comedy about a Parisian couple in their fifties. Following a dream vacation to Israel, where Alain (Depardieu) explores his Jewish roots, Gisele (Ardant) insists they change their life and move to Tel Aviv.
11 a.m. June 8
This documentary follows the 30-year fight to free Jews in the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republic from Soviet oppression, a movement that resulted in the emigration of more than a million Jews out of Russia.
7 p.m. June 19
When Rochel and Nasira - an Orthodox Jew and a Muslim, respectively - meet as new teachers at a Brooklyn school, co-workers and students expect friction. But the women discover they have a shared expectation of entering into arranged marriages. As they experience tension between their traditional cultures and life in contemporary America, they form a special bond.
Source: Katz Jewish Community Center