The Scene: Jewish film fest returns this weekend

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The second-annual Wilmington Jewish Film Festival gets underway Sunday. Image courtesy Wilmington Jewish Film Festival.
The second annual Wilmington Jewish Film Festival gets underway Sunday. Image courtesy Wilmington Jewish Film Festival.

What started with a nosh in 2014 is back this year with six cinematic courses—and a few new treats thrown into the mix.

After whetting movie-lovers’ appetites with a preview event and full-fledged four-screening event last year, organizers behind the second annual Wilmington Jewish Film Festival are gearing up for an even bigger event, which kicks off this weekend.

The festival gets underway at 3 p.m. Sunday with a showing of the biographical documentary, “The Jewish Cardinal,” at Thalian Hall in downtown Wilmington.

Directed by Ilan Duran Cohen, the film depicts the life and career of Jean-Marie (born Aaron) Lustiger, of Jewish parentage, whose mother perished in the Holocaust in Poland. He converted to Catholicism at age 14 and later entered the priesthood, but retained aspects of his Jewish identity and values as he rose through the ranks in the Catholic Church in France.

Lustiger eventually became a Cardinal and advisor to Pope John Paul II, the Polish Pope. The film captures the cardinal’s personal and political dilemma in the 1980s, when Carmelite nuns establish a convent on the grounds of Auschwitz.

A catered reception will follow the screening.

Then, festivities continue with films at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 20, and Wednesday, April 22, as well as Monday, April 27, and Wednesday, April 29.

According to festival organizers, this year’s selection offers unique perspectives on Jewish identity, customs and rituals, history and contemporary global politics, presented in a range of genres tackling varied themes—from romances to suspenseful thrillers, documentaries to dramas.

A special feature of this year’s event is the appearance of filmmaker Nancy Spielberg, sister of the iconic Steven Spielberg.

Nancy Spielberg will be on hand at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 26, to introduce her award-winning documentary, “Above and Beyond,” which depicts the creation of the Israeli Air Force in 1948 through the vision and volunteer efforts of American Jewish fighter pilots. She will also lead a question-and-answer session after the film. A catered reception will follow.

Individual tickets for the Monday and Wednesday films are priced at $10. Tickets for the two Sunday films are $15 each, which include the catered receptions. Student tickets are $7 for each film.

Click here for detailed descriptions of each film and ticket information.

Craving more than just cinema this weekend? We’ve got plenty more opportunities to fill your arts and entertainment needs over the next few days, as listed below in our weekly roundup.

From hardcore shows to a wildly humorous re-imagining of “Hamlet,” and lots more in between, you’ll find it all in detail on The Scene, our free community events calendar.

Music

The 14th Annual Arts Sensation showcases local music and dance talents during a performance at 8 p.m. Thursday at Thalian Hall. The FROG Project performs music, along with Company “T” Tap Dancers and a variety of dance from local choreographers Tracey Varga, Linda Larson, Anne Firmender and Kelly Hawes. Tickets are $15. Proceeds benefit Lower Cape Fear Hospice and Life Care Center.

Alt-rockers Puddle of Mudd play Ziggy's By The Sea tonight. Photo courtesy Ziggy's.
Alt-rockers Puddle of Mudd play Ziggy’s By The Sea tonight. Photo courtesy Ziggy’s.

Alt-rock band Puddle of Mudd takes the Ziggy’s By The Sea stage tonight, with opening acts Failure Anthem, Sean Guerrero and Red Eye Jack. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8. Tickets are $25. VIP Suite and Platinum Table reservations are available.

The Juggling Gypsy hosts “Fire and Drums” at 8 p.m. each Thursday. The event is a meet-up of fire dancers and area drummers, with deejays spinning tunes beginning at 10 p.m. Participants are welcome to bring their percussion instruments and fire and juggling toys. A Tarot card reader will be on hand between 6 and 10 p.m. Admission is free.

Wilmington’s own Weedeater celebrates its CD release with a show at Ziggy’s By The Sea Friday. Local rockers Valient Thorr, ASG, King Parrot, Thunderlip and A Bottle Volcanic will also perform. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 the day of the show.

Bluegrass band Brothers Egg throws a CD release party Friday at Bourgie Nights, with special guests Jesse Stockton and Moonlight Co. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the show gets underway at 9:30. Tickets are $7 in advance and $10 the day of the show.

Singer/songwriter Jason Lee Ashby plays a free show at 10 p.m. Friday at Lagerheads in Wrightsville Beach.

The Long Bay Symphony, with Tom Becker, performs “A Tribute to John Denver” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Odell Williamson Auditorium on the campus of Brunswick Community College in Supply. This intimate concert-style performance is a musical journey into the many facets of Denver’s songwriting — from the foot-stomping fun of “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” to the sweeping grandeur of “Rocky Mountain High.” The show also includes music and stories from Becker’s days as a member of the New Christy Minstrels. Tickets are $32.50 for adults and $30.50 for seniors.

Kyle Lindley performs a free show at Flytrap Brewing from 8 to 11 p.m. Saturday. Vittles Food Truck will be onsite.

Asheville’s River Whyless returns to Wilmington Sunday for a show at Bourgie Nights. Jason Andre and Tres Altman are the opening acts. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. and the show starts at 9:30. Tickets are $7 in advance and $10 the day of the show.

Theater/Comedy

UNC-Wilmington’s Department of Theatre continues its 2014-15 season with Tom Stoppard’s “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” at 8 p.m. tonight through Saturday on the Mainstage Theatre in the UNCW Cultural Arts Building. A matinee performance is set for 2 p.m. Sunday. The play tells the tale of “Hamlet” through the worm’s-eye view of the bewildered Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two minor characters in Shakespeare’s work. Close on the heels of the theater department’s production of “Hamlet,” this show will utilize the same set and cast as the Bard’s classic tale. Tickets are $12 ($10 for seniors, UNCW employees and alumni and $5 for students).

Iconic actor John Lithgow brings his storytelling to the stage of UNCW's Kenan Auditorium Friday. Photo courtesy UNCW.
Iconic actor John Lithgow brings his storytelling to the stage of UNCW’s Kenan Auditorium Friday. Photo courtesy UNCW.

TheaterNOW presents “Still Bitchin’: Rude Bitches Make Me Tired 2” at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. This comedic etiquette dinner theater features author Celia Rivenbark and is adapted for the stage by Zach Hanner. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $18-$28.

Tony, Emmy and Golden Globe award winner John Lithgow performs “Stories by Heart,” a reflection on storytelling, at 8 p.m. Friday in UNCW’s Kenan Auditorium. Tickets are $45-$65.

Port City’s Top Comic Competition gets underway Friday and Saturday at Dead Crow Comedy Room. The event features the best local and regional comedians vying to be voted by the crowd as the funniest in the bunch. Shows are at 8 and 10:30 p.m. both nights. Admission is $10.

Film

The fifth annual student-run Visions Film Festival and Conference gets underway at 8:30 a.m. Friday in UNCW’s Lumina Theater. The event is sponsored by the UNCW Film Studies Department and run by undergraduate film students. The daylong festivals includes a keynote address by UNCW alumna Caroline Roberts, two conference blocks, two short film blocks, a 1 Hour/1 Take Video Race and an after-party. An all-access pass is $15 in advance and $20 the day of the event.

Hilary Snow is a reporter at Port City Daily. Reach her at (910) 772-6341 or hilary.s@hometownwilmington.com.