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“Borg vs. McEnroe” part of EU Film Showcase at AFI Cultural Center

  • Published in Film

BORG MCENROE copyThe Swedish film "Borg vs. McEnroe," starring Shia LaBeouf and Sverrir Gudnason as tennis rivals John McEnroe and Björn Borg, kicks off the annual European Union Film Showcase now playing through Dec. 20 at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center. COURTESY PHOTO  Todd Hitchcock and Abbie Algar get to watch movies as part of their jobs.

In preparation for the annual European Union Film Showcase, to take place next month at the American Film Institute Theatre and Cultural Center, Hitchcock, the AFI director of programming, and Algar, the AFI associate director of programming, attend such prestigious film festivals as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes, and Toronto.

“Each of us sees some 40 to 50 films on each of these trips,” said Hitchcock. “There are screenings all day and into the night.”

That's because the showcase is a curated event, “not an open-submission process,” Hitchcock explained.

At this time of year, the theater will present many classic holiday films, including such perennial favorites as “It's a Wonderful Life,” “The Shop around the Corner,” and “Miracle on 34th Street.”

However, the European Union showcase, now in its 30th year, will also take place from Dec. 1 to Dec. 20.

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Multicultural music at Strathmore

  • Published in Music

Tararam copyTaharam group opens the Washington Jewish Music Festival. COURTESY PHOTO  When cultural organizations interact, they enrich the community.

AFI Silver Theatre, AMP Powered by Strathmore, the Music Center at Strathmore, and Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center – all Montgomery County arts groups – are serving as sites for the 11-day-long Washington Jewish Music Festival.

The Festival, the flagship of the Edlavitch Jewish Community Center of Washington D.C.’s year-round music program, starts formally on Nov. 2 with a group called Taharam, considered “Israel’s Stomp.” It continues through Nov. 12 with the silent film version of “Humoresque” and a performance by Nomadica, which performs music of Arabs, Roma, and Jews.

“The 19th Washington Jewish Music Festival’s lineup is a very exciting alchemy – it brings together some of the most prestigious, original and boundary-pushing artists from around the world working in the Jewish space, and encourages them to experiment in the nation’s capital,” said Festival Director Ilya Tovbis. “Additionally, we’re doubling down on highlighting and elevating the work and artistry of local D.C. musicians whose output spans hip-hop, klezmer, bossa nova, and cantorial repertoires.”

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Documentaries shine in AFI DOCS Festival

Programming staff, front-line screeners and members of a screening committee spent the better part of this year winnowing down documentary films to include in the American Film Institute’s 15th annual AFI DOCS Festival, which took place at the AFI Silver in downtown Silver Spring, as well as Landmark’s E Street Cinema and the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

“It’s a very long process,” said Michael Lumpkin, director of the festival. “Over 2000 films were submitted this year, of which we chose 103.”

“The films come from 28 countries. All have not yet been released and not yet been shown in movie theaters, online, or on television,” Lumpkin said.

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