Jewish Music And Film Come Together At The First-Ever JXJ Festival

The Washington area hosts two of the most prestigious arts programs dedicated to celebrating Jewish culture. And this year they’re combining forces.

Presented by Edlavitch DCJCC, the JxJ festival brings together the efforts of the Washington Jewish Film Festival, now in its 29th year, and the Washington Jewish Music Festival, now in its 20th. “For us it’s a little less tied to the medium itself, but to the message and the conversation that can happen,” festival director Ilya Tovbis says.

How does JXJ accomplish this? By putting on something like a multi-disciplinary mixtape.

“The way I like to think about it is the musical concept of beat frequencies,” Tovbis says. “You play two notes and you hear a note that’s sort of oscillating between the two.” Since the festival’s film and music programs frequently deal with similar themes, the combination of the two resonates in a way that can be more than the sum of their parts.

There are a number of such cross-media intersections in the festival.

For instance, the 2018 film Sefarad (May 12 at 5:45 p.m. at the AFI Silver and May 20 at 8:15 p.m. at Landmark Bethesda Row) deals with Crypto Jews–those who practiced the faith in secret–in 15th century Portugal, who worshiped at a time when King Manuel I prohibited the open practice of Judaism.

Read more at DCist.