The Northern Virginia Jewish Film Festival began with a dream of bringing Jewish film to the local community. Founding chairperson, Aliza Kolker, and Roz Engels, former JCCNV director of adult services, worked tirelessly with a small group of volunteers to begin raising funds, previewing films and planning programs. The first film festival took place in March 2001 at the Cinema Arts Theater in Fairfax, featuring seven films in seven days.
Aliza passed away in 2003, but the film festival she cultivated lives on. Roz Engels produced the festival through 2012, and Sarah Berry, Cultural Arts Director, is the current producer. The Film Festival Committee is one of the more active J committees, screening 60-70 films each year to come up with a diverse slate of films from around the world. Year after year, Festival programming has become more robust, with approximately 2,000 community members attending screenings and participating in facilitated discussions.
- Updated December 2018