Mission & History – Austin Jewish Film Festival

Mission & History


Vision Statement:

The Austin Jewish Film Festival seeks to promote cultural understanding and tolerance among the Greater Austin community, encourage artistic development, and entertain our audiences through the medium of Jewish film.

 

Mission Statement:

The Austin Jewish Film Festival presents the best Jewish films from the U.S. and around the world to entertain and educate the Greater Austin community and provides complementary programs to enhance the cinematic experience.

 

AJFF History:

After participating in the Jewish Cinema South, a project presented by the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life, Dr. David Goldblatt and Susan Broockman initiated the Austin Jewish Film Festival (AJFF) in 2002 as part of Congregation Agudas Achim’s AgudasARTS program. The first AJFF presented five films at the Alamo Drafthouse in October of that year, opening with “Shalom Y’all,” a movie about Southern Jews. Cindy Pinto joined the festival the following year and replaced Broockman as co-chair with Goldblatt.

AJFF screened 15 films in the second year, and the festival moved to the Regal Arbor Cinema. Since those early days, the festival has expanded to a week-long event featuring more than 25 films each year at multiple locations, an educational program for Jewish Sunday School students, and other special events. The annual festival features both in-person and remote interviews with producers, directors, and film stars.

In 2010, AJFF left the AgudasARTS program and became an independent cultural arts organization with not-for-profit status under the auspices of the JCC Austin (now Shalom Austin).

In 2015, AJFF changed leadership to Cynthia Winer and David Finkel, as the co-directors of the festival. David Goldblatt and Cindy Pinto remain on the Executive Board and continue to support the festival. In 2019, Cynthia Winer moved from co-director to Executive Board member; the festival’s current director is David Finkel. In January 2020, the festival began a monthly film series in partnership with Shalom Austin.