Sept. 20--"Do you know what a nosh is?"
Peggy Pancoe Rosoff started our interview by asking me that question. It's from a Yiddish word for a snack, and it's how she and Beverly Schoninger describe the first event in what they hope will become an annual tradition.
The first screening in the Wilmington Jewish Film Festival will be the movie "Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy." It's written, produced and directed by Michael Kantor, who will be at the screening and participate in a question-and-answer session afterward. The film will be shown at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13, at Thalian Hall, and the $10 tickets can be purchased from the Thalian Hall box office.
It's a "nosh" because it's just a taste of the larger four-film festival planned for April 3-6 at Thalian.
Co-chairs Rosoff and Schoninger have been cooking up this festival for months, with considerable help from committee members and advisers.
The purpose, they said at Rosoff's house last week, is to educate people who aren't Jewish about their heritage, and to foster dialogue within the Jewish community.
Schoninger cited the Hebrew phrase "tikkun olam," which means repairing the world and encourages Jews to act for social good, as a reason for their outreach.
They hope the film festival will foster dialogues between Jews and non-Jews as well as among various groups within the local Jewish community.
Debate, or dialogue, is an integral part of the Jewish faith. It's how people study the Torah, they said, by discussing sections of it.
In fact, they said, Jewish folks are prone to debating just about anything when they get together.
So just how does one go about creating a film festival?
Schoninger had the idea. She moved to Wilmington from Denver about four years ago. There was a long-running Jewish Film Festival there.
In March, Schoninger and Rosoff, along with Frank Block and Bucky Stein, went to Charlotte for its Jewish Film Festival, which was in its ninth year. They visited with some of the organizers.
Then in June, they attended the Jewish Film Presenters Conference in New York, which explores the nuts and bolts of putting on a festival: How much films cost, how to attract audiences, ideas for financing.
They also talked to Dan Brawley, director of the Cucalorus Film Festival.
More than 200 Jewish film festivals exist worldwide, according to Haaretz, a newspaper in Israel, and 150 of them are in the United States. They range from large festivals in major cities to smaller ones in largely rural towns. Altoona, Pa., Haaretz said, no longer has a full-time rabbi but it does have an annual Jewish film festival.
The Wilmington United Jewish Appeal and other community organizations are contributing to fund the local festival.
Schoninger said religion has been an important part of her life.
"I'm proud to be a Jew," she said. She wants people to know the contributions talented Jews have made in various fields.
Rosoff, who worked in Los Angeles producing variety TV specials in the 1970s and '80s, came to Wilmington in 2006 to work with her father's real estate business.
She threw herself into nonprofit work. Her causes have included the Child Advocacy Commission, the Blue Ribbon Commission for the Prevention of Youth Violence and the Cameron Art Museum.
Rosoff is an organizer. She has a document in her overflowing folders to illustrate just about everything.
"I made a list of what everybody should do," she said.
"And some do it and some don't," Schoninger said with a smile.
Find out more about the Wilmington Jewish Film Festival at Facebook.com/WilmingtonJewishFilmFestival.
Column idea? Contact Si Cantwell at 343-2364 or Si.Cantwell@StarNewsOnline.com, or follow him on Twitter.com: @SiCantwell.
(c)2013 the Star-News (Wilmington, N.C.)
Visit the Star-News (Wilmington, N.C.) at www.starnewsonline.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services
A service of YellowBrix, Inc.
Most Popular Stories
- Bently Creates Alabama Small Business Commission
- Is Alibaba's IPO Price a Fairytale?
- When to Say No to Investors, Yes to Mentors
- Los Angeles Angels Clinch Playoff Spot
- U.S. Producer Prices Held Steady in August
- Bolivar Appointed to NSHMBA National Board
- Sanctions Push Russian Ruble to Historic Low
- U.S. Tobacco Growers Lose Last of Price Supports
- Hispanic Buying Power Slow but Growing in South
- Scottish Leaders Scramble for Votes on Independence