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Celebrate the new year at the annual Jewish Film Festival 

–Each New Year, the first event to kick-off the rich cultural tapestry of San Luis Obispo is the San Luis Obispo Jewish Film Festival. The festival is for everyone, not just the Jewish community. Come celebrate Jewish culture from around the world.

The festival pre-views Thursday night, Jan. 3, at 7 p.m. at the Downtown Centre 7 Cinema with the new narrative feature On a Basis of Sex, a biopic about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. The screening will include a Q&A with Ginsberg biographer Teri Kanefield.

Saturday, Jan. 5, at 5 p.m., the weekend festival begins with a welcoming reception at Quality Suites on Monterey Street, where filmmakers and audience members can meet one another while tasting local wines and locally sourced food before heading over to the Palm Theater for the powerful Who Will Write Our History. The extraordinary documentary by Roberta Grossman tells the story of the secret archive that was created in the Warsaw Ghetto to preserve in-the-moment, eyewitness accounts from the Holocaust. A Q&A with the film’s editor Chris Callister will offer further insight into the complexities of making the award winning movie.

Sunday morning is just the start to an exciting day-long slate of inspiring films. The 10:30 a.m. morning presentation includes the short narrative Heed the Call, about the beginnings of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps in 1942, and the feature narrative Life is Rich, which shares a deeply personal story preserving our religious faith and culture through our children. The director of each film will be on hand for a Q&A with audience members. The morning also includes two free screenings for kids, both sports themed. The uplifting Full Court Miracle and the classic Brandon Fraser film, School Ties.

Just after lunch, it is a trip to foreign lands, with the remarkable animated short from Brazil, A Thousand Kisses, and the moody, compelling feature narrative Budapest Noir. The foreign filmmakers will travel to San Luis Obispo to represent their films and offer personal anecdotes about their filmmaking journey.

Then it’s time to take a break, toast a glass of wine and talk about movies at the lively kibitz hour at Luna Red before savoring a fabulous dinner with the filmmakers. With a belly full of great food, return to the Palm Theater once again for two inspiring documentaries. Wendy’s Shabbat, a delightful doc about of group of seniors who spend weekly Shabbat at their local Wendy’s restaurant. The anchor screening is Coming Home: The Tale of Team Israel, the inspiring true story of Israel’s national baseball team competing for the first time in the World Baseball Classic. Team member, Joey Wagman (also a former CalPoly Mustang baseball player) will be on hand to talk about his experience with the life changing team.

Screenings always sell out, so you’re encouraged to buy your tickets early. For tickets and more information, visit Start your year off right, and experience the crown jewel in the Jewish community calendar this January at the SLO Jewish Film Festival.


About the author: News Staff

News staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote and edited this story from local contributors and press releases. Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Connect with him on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or follow his blog. He can be reached at