Atlanta Jewish Film Festival offers extensive gay track


Atlanta Jewish Film Festival
Jan. 30 – Feb. 20
Various area locations

It’s traditional to feature LGBT films as part of the event – and also vital, according to Brad Pilcher, assistant director of the festival.

“The LGBT community in Atlanta is sizable, and the LGBT community is a part of the Jewish community,” Pilcher says. “It is important for us to reach out to our community – the LGBT community, the Muslim community, the black community.”

Although there are no LGBT staffers, the festival has a number of LGBT volunteers, he adds.

Pilcher feels the themes LGBT films raise are important to tackle and discuss.

“What is important for us as a festival is looking at the intersection of Jewish and non-Jewish life,” he says. “We intersect with other communities, religion and the world. It’s important to show films that start a dialogue.”

In his sixth year with the festival but first as second in charge, Pilcher feels this year’s LGBT offerings are strong. 

Of particular note is the festival’s maiden LGBT double feature of two LGBT documentaries on Feb. 8. “The Invisible Men” examines the plight of three young Palestinian men who have fled to Israel while “Undressing Israel: Gay Men in the Promised Land” is director Michael Lucas’ look at an ironic side of Israel – on one hand, it’s in a region that is very religious, but it’s also known as a place that is accepting of the LGBT community.

Pilcher feels the films perfectly complement each other.

“We are excited to be able to show these two films, especially together,” he says.

Another film Pilcher feels is worth seeing is “Koch.” The documentary deals with former New York Mayor Ed Koch and his heated run-ins with various communities, including LGBT people. Koch himself has long been rumored to be gay, although the film doesn’t answer that question. 

“Out in the Dark” is the festival’s LGBT narrative feature. It follows the relationship of two young men whose backgrounds could affect their ongoing courtship. Two shorts films with LGBT themes — “The Seder” and “The Devotion Project: Listen From the Heart” — are also in the line-up.

The goal of the AJFF staff each year is never an exact attendance figure, but they are certainly aware that they are within reach of taking over as the biggest Jewish film festival in the world. If and when that happens, they will be ecstatic but the main priority each year is presenting the best event they can and doing the appropriate outreach, Pilcher says.

Various filmmakers will be present for the festival but at press time those weren’t confirmed. A full lineup and schedule can be found at


“The Seder”

A gay man brings his boyfriend home for the family Seder in this film, part of “Shorts Program 1.”

Friday, Feb. 1, 2:05 p.m., Merchants Walk
Sunday, Feb.3, 4:20 p.m., UA Tara (sold out)

“Out in the Dark”

Two young gay men – a Palestinian grad student and a Jewish lawyer – begin dating in this romance turned thriller from Michael Mayer.

Wednesday, Feb.6, 8 p.m., UA Tara
Friday, Feb. 15, 12:10 p.m., Lefont Sandy Springs

“The Invisible Men”

Yariv Mozer’s award-winning documentary follows three men who flee Palestine and face ostracism, or even death, if they try and go home again.

Friday, Feb. 8, 11:55 a.m., Atlantic Station

“Undressing Israel: Gay Men in the Promised Land”

From adult film star/director Michael Lucas comes a look at an area of the Middle East where homosexuality is illegal but yet is also something of a gay mecca. A number of gay men are interviewed, including a member of Parliament and a soldier.

Friday, Feb. 8, 11:55 a.m., Atlantic Station

“Joe Papp in Five Acts”

Included in this documentary about openly gay theater legend Papp – who is responsible for “A Chorus Line” and more — are scenes from some of his greatest stage work and fond remembrances from the likes of Meryl Streep, Christopher Walken, and Kevin Kline.

Sunday, Feb. 10, 11:25 a.m., Lefont Sandy Springs


Former New York Mayor Ed Koch is profiled in Neil Barsky’s look at the outspoken politician, who himself has often been at the heart of scandals, especially in regards to his own never-revealed sexual orientation.

Sunday, Feb. 10, 7:50 p.m., Lefont Sandy Springs (sold out)
Tuesday, Feb. 12 at 2:50 p.m.,
Sunday, Feb. 17, 1:40 p.m., Lefont Sandy Springs

“The Devotion Project: Listen from the Heart”

A lesbian couple is followed through the birth of their child, who has a heart condition; shown as part of part of “Shorts Program 3.”

Sunday, Feb. 17, 11:40 a.m., Lefont Sandy Springs
Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2:45 p.m., Lefont Sandy Springs


Top photo: Above: Get tickets to the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival early, as some screenings are already sold out. ‘The Devotion Project: Listen from the Heart’ follows a lesbian couple from when they met through the birth of their son, who has a heart condition. (Publicity photo)