Gala fete planned for Festival’s opening night

by | Dec 7, 2012 | What’s Happening

Saturday, January 19

The Simon Family JCC’s 20th anniversary of the Virginia Festival of Jewish Film presented by Alma* and Howard Laderberg will begin with a movie and gala opening night party to commemorate the festival’s longevity and success.

The Film Festival, slated for Sunday, Jan. 20– Sunday, Jan. 27 at the Roper Performing Arts Center in downtown Norfolk, will hold a special opening night on Saturday, Jan. 19 at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts. The Sandler venue brings an evening of film to Virginia Beach.

“For many years the Virginia Festival of Jewish Film presented by Alma* and Howard Laderberg has been trying to expand by using a second venue,” says William Laderberg, screening committee co-chair. “In our 20th year, we have been fortunate enough to be able to have our Opening Night event at the Sandler Centera perfect place for our audience to watch a festive and fun movie, and enjoy a celebratory party all under one roof.”

“Steve and I are delighted and thankful that the Film Festival chose to want to have its opening night film shown at the Sandler Center for its anniversary celebration,” says Art Sandler. “We are happy that the venue was available and glad to have brought our arts communities together.”

The use of the Sandler facility is made possible through the generosity of Global Spectrum, locally run by David Simone, and The Virginia Arts Festival. Both institutions share the responsibility of managing the Performing Arts Center. “The board and staff of the Virginia Arts Festival want to congratulate the JCC as they celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Virginia Festival of Jewish Film,” says Rob Cross, director of the Virginia Arts Festival. “We are so proud of our continued partnership, and look forward to many more seasons of collaborative world class arts events.”

The opening night movie is Hava Nagila, a journey through the “history, mystery and meaning of the great Jewish standard,” featuring interviews with Harry Belafonte, Leonard Nimoy, Connie Francis, Glen Campbell and Regina Spektor. The film follows the song on its journey around the world, from its origins to its presence as a current party song. Its producers say it is “high on fun and entertainment, it is also surprisingly profound, tapping into universal themes about the importance of joy, the power of music and the resilient spirit of a people.”

Hava Nagila was the opening night film in San Francisco and Nashville’s Jewish Film Festivals and closing night film at five more festivals in the U.S. and Australia this year.

“This will be a sophisticated, elegant celebration to celebrate 20 years of Jewish Film in this area,” says Gloria Siegel, Film Festival co-chair. The opening night committee has been planning the after-film gala party for months. Catering will be provided by the Village Caterers at Beth Sholom Home.

“It all started on Newport Avenue,” says Siegel, reflecting on the growth and popularity of the festival. “And here we are at the Sandler Center, celebrating the vision that our community leaders had.”

*of blessed memory