Charlotte Jewish Film Festival

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte Jewish Film Festival, which has showcased 18 films over three weeks, is wrapping up this weekend.

What You Need To Know

  • Charlotte Jewish Film Festival wraps up this weekend
  • The online festival features films that are not only relevant to Jewish people but to diverse groups
  • The virtual event aims to help combat antisemitism, which is on the rise

The event comes during a time of rising antisemitism, including an attack at a Texas synagogue last month.

The Levine Jewish Community Center, a nonprofit organization, is hosting the event virtually for the second year in a row. 

Susan Cherin is the festival director and the director of cultural arts at LJCC. Cherin said the festival turned virtual this year because the planning happened during the omicron surge, and only six tickets had been sold for the in-person event at the time. 

The online festival kicked off Feb. 5 with films that are not only relevant to Jewish people but diverse groups.

“In recent years we’ve really made it part of our mission to engage other communities and bridge across the lines of difference specifically with other marginalized communities,” Cherin said. 

The films are from different parts of the world, including Spain, France, Germany and Israel.  

“It’s kind of our tagline to laugh, cry, think and feel and if you are having a heated debate after, you know, when the film is over, then we did our job,” Cherin said.

Cherin, who is Jewish, hopes the festival makes a difference. 

“What we are doing is finding small ways through the arts and through the film festival to create change,” Cherin said. “If we can influence, you know, one child who is going to stand up to a bully on the playground and say ‘no’ and be an upstander and not a bystander… that’s what I’m fortunate to do every day.”

According to a 2021 American Jewish Committee survey, 24% of American Jews said they were targets of antisemitism from September 2020 to September 2021. 

Cherin said safety remains a concern and is the reason the festival increased security when it was in person. Festival attendees at the time asked about it. 

“The increase in that question began after the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting, which was in October of 2018,” Cherin said. 

She said it’s important for the Jewish community to continue coming together. 

“It just becomes even more important in these sad times for us to have strength and togetherness in our community and it becomes incredibly important for us to spread education and awareness and give people the opportunity to learn something they didn’t know,” Cherin said. 

Cherin adds she’ll continue her fight against discrimination and bigotry.

“Until all of us are free, none of us are free,” Cherin said. 

This weekend, there will be a double feature and a Q&A session about the film “Glickman.”

Each ticket costs $15 and is available for 72 hours after its release. They are available for viewing in North Carolina and South Carolina only. Find out more about the festival here.