JFilm Festival Kicks Off at the Manor Theater

See a few under-the-radar flicks at this annual event, which runs through April 26.


PHOTO COURTESY JFILM FESTIVAL
 

 

BEFORE THE BLOCKBUSTERS ROLL IN, SEE REAL GEMS AT THE JFILM FEST
Sure, there are plenty of films set to premiere this summer that will have everyone talking. But before you line up for a “Terminator” or an “Avenger,” seize an opportunity to catch some very under-the-radar gems at the JFilm Festival, the annual celebration of independent cinema that illuminates Jewish culture around the world. All 20 of this year’s selections are being screened in Pittsburgh for the first time, and the lineup includes films from eight countries.
 
The festival opens tonight at the Manor Theater with a screening of "The Last Mensch" and post-show reception at the JCC-Katz Theater. Producer Nancy Spielberg (sister of Steven) will be in town to discuss the documentary “Above and Beyond,” about American-born Jewish pilots who flew covertly for Israeli independence in 1948. The full lineup of comedies, dramas, documentaries, romances and cross-genre indie creations is available here, and most screenings are $10.
(Various venues; tonight through April 26; info here)
 

BEER WEEK POURS INTO ROW HOUSE CINEMAS WITH “BLOOD, SWEAT AND BEER”
Yes, that is an aroma of hops pervading Allegheny County: It’s Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week. And the celebrations are spreading to Pittsburgh’s most suds-friendly cinema, as Row House presents the craft-beer documentary “Blood, Sweat & Beer.” The feature-length look at America’s burgeoning craft beer scene highlights the joys and hardships of the small brewer — oh, and by the way, one of the two featured breweries in the film just happens to be Braddock’s own Brew Gentlemen Beer Company. For a review of the doc, check out this week’s edition of After Dark!


JAZZ LOVERS, MAKE TRACKS FOR OAKLAND TOMORROW NIGHT
The lovely, historic Twentieth Century Club in Oakland makes for a great music venue. From some seats, you can almost convince yourself that you’re at a roaring ’20s nightclub — making it an ideal setting for great jazz. Tomorrow night, Familylinks will present its annual Just Jazz Concert, a fundraiser and party starring top jazz guitarist John Pizzarelli. The Boston Globe credited Pizzarelli, who has collaborated with everyone from the Boston Pops to Paul McCartney, with no less an achievement than “reinvigorating the Great American Songbook and re-popularizing jazz.” Local legend Roger Humphries will serve as the event’s honorary chair.
(4201 Bigelow Blvd., Oakland; Friday, 7:30 p.m.; reception at 6 p.m.; info here)
 

IN THEATERS: An odd quartet of national releases hits Pittsburgh theaters this weekend. There’s the unnecessary-seeming comedy sequel “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2,” DisneyNature doc “Monkey Kingdom,” crime drama (with non-crime stars James Franco and Jonah Hill) “True Story” and techno-horror bloodbath “Unfriended.”
 
Reggae-flavored alt-rockers Iration will make a stop at Mr. Smalls in Millvale this Sunday.
 
JDRF's annual Rainbow Gala is set for this Saturday at the Westin Convention Center Pittsburgh.
 

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