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Originally published March 30, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified March 31, 2008 at 2:43 PM

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The Seattle Jewish Film Festival has a lot more than films

The Seattle Jewish Film Festival's 13th-anniversary "Bar Mitzvah Bash" features an expanded 10 days of programming (up from eight in 2007...

Seattle Times movie critic

Film festival preview

Seattle Jewish Film Festival

Thursday through April 13, at Cinerama (2100 Fourth Ave., Seattle) and Museum of History & Industry (2700 24th Ave. E., Seattle). Tickets are $10 ($7 students/seniors/youth), full festival pass $250, flex pass (8 films and brunch) $85; available at www.brownpapertickets.com or 1-800-838-3006. For more information, see www.seattlejewishfilmfestival.org.

The Seattle Jewish Film Festival's 13th-anniversary "Bar Mitzvah Bash," presented by American Jewish Committee, features an expanded 10 days of programming (up from eight in 2007) and 31 feature, documentary and short films. Many of the films involve coming-of-age or bar/bat mitzvah themes — and, in a nice touch, 2007/2008 bar/bat mitzvah teens (with a letter from their rabbi/teacher or a copy of their invitation) get in free.

The British comedy "Sixty Six" opens the festival Thursday night at Cinerama, followed by a party at the Palace Ballroom featuring a video DJ, dancing, hors d'oeuvres and a celebratory cake. Directed by Paul Weiland, "Sixty Six" is a sweetly funny film for all ages, about a British 12-year-old named Bernie who looks forward to his special day — it will be, he hopes "the 'Gone with the Wind' of bar mitzvahs" — only to realize to his horror that it's taking place on the day England plays in the 1966 World Cup final. Helena Bonham Carter and Stephen Rea star; newcomer Gregg Sulkin plays the central character. Tickets are $50 for the party and film, $25 for film only.

Comedian Judy Gold will visit the festival and perform a stand-up comedy set before the April 13 screening of "Making Trouble," an engaging documentary about Jewish female comics. Molly Picon, Fanny Brice, Sophie Tucker, Joan Rivers, Gilda Radner and Wendy Wasserstein are profiled in the film. Tickets for this special event, called "Stand-up for Jewish Women," are $25.

Among the festival's other special events are a concert by Israeli folk/rock musician Geva Alon (April 10); a slide-show presentation of the historic Israeli images of photographer Burt Glinn (April 8); a Sunday brunch and screening of the Germany coming-of-age film "Max Minsky and Me" (April 6; suitable for ages 9 and up); two panel discussions on Israel; several visiting filmmakers; and a free screening for seniors of the comedy "Keeping Up with the Steins" at the Stroum Jewish Community Center (April 10).

And the festival includes a wider-than-ever selection of prestigious Israeli films this year, including "Jellyfish" (April 12), a prizewinner at the Cannes Film Festival; "Sweet Mud" (April 5), a Sundance winner; and the war drama "Beaufort" (April 10), a foreign-language Oscar nominee earlier this year. For a full schedule and more information about any of the films, see www.seattlejewishfilmfestival.org.

Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or mmacdonald@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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