The Baton Rouge Jewish Film Festival continues to deliver in its 17th year

'The Man in the Basement' will show at the Manship on January 14. Photo courtesy BRJFF.

Jewish film festivals featuring works that explore the modern and historic Jewish experience take place in cities around the globe, and the Capital City has had its own such event since 2007.

This year, the Baton Rouge Jewish Film Festival will screen four films over four days at the Manship Theatre.

The films were chosen from dozens of submissions, says BRJFF co-coordinator Ara Rubyan, who organizes the festival each year with his wife, Julie Hoffman, and mother-in-law and festival co-founder, Paula Hoffman.

We get 15 solicitations for every film we pick,” Rubyan says. “We look for stories that have a Jewish theme, but it’s a pretty wide spectrum. It could be a slice-of-life film, or one based on a larger historic event. We’re looking for films that invite the audience to make an emotional connection.”

Paula Hoffman and her late husband, Harvey, founded the festival in 2007 during a time when mid-sized Southern cities were organizing a Jewish film festival circuit to complement established festivals in cities like Miami, Atlanta, Boston and San Francisco.

The festival has always been held at the Manship Theatre, Rubyan says, which has become Baton Rouge’s go-to arthouse cinema while remaining a hub for live music.


This article originally appeared in the January 2023 issue of our sister magazine, 225. To see the full film lineup, visit brjff.com or manshiptheatre.org.