Film and music come together at new JxJ Festival

For the first time, the annual Washington Jewish Music Festival and Washington Jewish Film Festival will come under one banner: JxJ, an arts and culture festival spanning nearly three weeks organized by the Edlavitch DC Jewish Community Center.

Ilya Tovbis, who’s been directing the film festival since 2012 and is heading up JxJ, said bringing both events under one umbrella not only made logistical sense, but that it would also allow organizers to offer joint programming around particular themes.

“We have two works, one music, one film, that look at Portuguese Judaism, for instance. So you can investigate it through the film and on a different night you can go see a Portuguese Jewish concert,” Tovbis said. “Our hope is that an audience might experience certain things through song and music and through film.”

The festival will feature works by more than 60 artists and in addition to film and music, there will be multidisciplinary shows as part of what organizers are calling “Studio.” For example, two heads of a New York production of “Fiddler on the Roof” will talk about why the show is important, and a few actors from the show will perform pieces of it. The festival will also hold a live screening of the Eurovision song contest finals in Tel Aviv.

Tovbis said that in previous years, the film festival has drawn between 12,000 and 15,000 moviegoers, while the music festival has gotten around 3,000 attendees. He said he hopes 20,000 people will come to JxJ, which is largely funded through earmarked donations.

JxJ will present films, concerts and live performances between May 8 and 26 at various locations in Washington, Silver Spring and Bethesda.

Read more at Washington Jewish Week