The 2021 Atlanta Jewish Film Festival (AJFF) will present its lineup virtually and live with a three-night drive-in experience at the Home Depot Backyard adjacent to Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Downtown.
Set to take place Feb. 17-28, this year’s festival will screen 38 feature and 16 short films, including world and U.S. premieres. The film selection covers a range of genres, including documentaries “Howie Mandel: But, Enough About Me” and “On Broadway” comedies like “Shiva Baby,” the LGBTQ+ feature “Kiss Me Kosher,” and the drama “Asia.”
It’s a big adaptation for a festival that, in the pre-pandemic years, drew more than 40,000 to several theaters and venues, including the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center.
“In a year of firsts and unprecedented challenges, AJFF has worked tirelessly to reimagine the annual festival in a way that preserves the most cherished qualities of this annual celebration of community and the cinematic arts,” AJFF Executive Director Kenny Blank said in a press release. “Though the experience itself will be undeniably different, the power of these films to connect and inspire us is more deeply felt and appreciated than ever. Our hybrid edition embraces all of the opportunities that virtual affords us while continuing our commitment to bring audiences ‘together through film’ in new ways.”
The pandemic itself is addressed in the film “Atlanta: The City Too Busy to Wait,” a documentary about the local Jewish community’s response to the crisis.
The 11-acre Home Depot Backyard will be able to accommodate more that 200 vehicles nightly for social-distanced drive-in screenings on Feb.18, 20 and 21. The live shows kick off with AJFF’s Young Professionals Night, followed by two campy, kitschy Hollywood classics: Mel Brooks’ sci-fi spoof “Spaceballs” and the musical comedy “Little Shop of Horrors.” Each drive-in pass can be purchased for $40 and accounts for parking for one car, regardless of how many people are in the vehicle. Food trucks will be on-site serving food for moviegoers to enjoy in their vehicles.
For those watching from home, the lineup of films will be accessible via smart TV, home theater, tablet or mobile device. Requiring only a single ticket per film for each household, viewers will have a flexible 48-hour window to watch festival films at their convenience. General admission for virtual screenings is $16 per household (or $14 early bird pricing), and for special events, which include Opening and Closing Nights, admission is $36 per household.
Film-lovers will also enjoy an expanded program of virtual Q&A conversations recorded with filmmakers, actors and other guest speakers. The “Virtual Lobby,” featuring a series of lunchtime Zoom sessions with facilitated discussion, will take a deeper dive into films on show during the festival.
Ticket holders for the opening night screening of “Kiss Me Kosher” will receive a specially curated “Festival-In-A-Box” full of “tasty and cozy surprises.”
Tickets are on sale now for members and will be available to the general public on Feb. 10. For tickets and a full lineup of films and events, visit AJFF.org.