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Maine Jewish Film Festival continues to grow in its 22nd year

The Maine Jewish Film Festival is back, offering 17 movies from around the world.

PORTLAND, Maine — The Maine Jewish Film Festival, now in its 22nd year and going strong, could scarcely have emerged from more humble beginnings.

When it started in the community hall of a synagogue in South Portland, the lineup consisted of six videos shown on a television set. As times have changed, so has the festival. Due to COVID-19, this year's event is entirely virtual.

“Although it’s not the same as being in person, there actually are some advantages to being online,” MJFF Executive Director Barbara Merson said. “Luckily, film is an art form that really translates well to being online, and of course, you can watch on your own time frame and make your own schedule.”

The festival runs from November 6 to 15, offering a mix of features and documentaries, 17 films in all.

Although the state’s Jewish population is a small one, that’s never held the festival back or kept it from growing its audience.

“Our mission is to show these films to as diverse an audience as possible,” Merson said. “We always get a diverse audience, and I think that by being online that only increases our diversity.”

Want to learn more about this year’s festival? 

Watch our interview with Merson below as she talks about three of her favorite films in the lineup: