A photo from the movie, "The Dead of Jaffa," which will screen at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas. Courtesy photo
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La Paloma Theatre to host screenings for the film festival this month

ENCINITAS — North County residents can now enjoy films during the San Diego International Jewish Film Festival at the beloved La Paloma Theatre.

The Encinitas theater will be hosting films for the first time for the annual, cultural event, which is now in its 30th year.

“With movie theaters closing everywhere — not just in San Diego — La Paloma is a little gem in our community that I hope the community will recognize as an asset and support by attending both our festival and any other films they have there,” Ryan Isaac, director of cultural arts, Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, said. “La Paloma truly serves an important place in our community as a place for people to gather and in the arts community as a place to showcase film.”

La Paloma Theatre, the intimate theatre on Coast Highway that opened in 1928, will be one of five venues to host a handful of films when the San Diego International Jewish Film Festival runs for 10 days beginning Thursday, Feb. 13.

“We always try to bring our festival to North County, and we feel that Encinitas and La Paloma have grown in attracting festival followers and film lovers,” Isaac said. “Encinitas continues to grow and develop with the arts, eating, festivals. We are now part of that.”

Films such as “The Dead of Jaffa,” which tells the story of Israeli Palestinians Rita and George, who encounter three West Bank children in their home, “The Mover,” which tells the story of Zanis Lipke, who saves Jewish friends by hiding them on his property during World War II, will both air at La Paloma Theatre.

The films are just two of the more than 30 that will play across San Diego County during the festival’s 10-day run. Attendees can also expect a selection of short films.

“We have an exceptional lineup of film from Jewish directors or films that showcase Jewish or Israeli stories,” said Christina Fink, chair of the San Diego International Jewish Film Festival. “This is the largest Jewish cultural event in San Diego County. But, having said that, let me mention that the festival is truly a format for diverse international film and the entire San Diego community should feel welcome and invited.”

Fink said attendees of the San Diego International Jewish Film Festival will always walk away learning a bit about a culture or history because of the films they see at the event.

“It never fails to surprise me how many stories are out there that are new, different and interesting,” said Fink, who has led the festival for four years. “I always feel that I am better and wiser having seen films that expose us to learning about other people and their life experiences.”

Other than La Paloma Theatre, the San Diego International Jewish Film Festival will showcase movies at Clairemont Reading Cinemas, the Museum of Photographic Arts, the David and Dorothea Garfield Theatre and at White Labs in San Diego.

Other events of the long-running festival include a kickoff party at Leichtag Commons in Encinitas, which is open to all ticket holders, and meetings with filmmakers.

Those interested in seeing a movie at La Paloma can pay per screening or purchase a film festival pass and watch three movies for $39. A six-pack of movies pass is $68 while an all-festival pass is $300.

“We want to welcome the entire community to explore stories of Jewish heritage and tradition,” Fink said. “The festival will let any viewer “armchair” travel to different countries, different time periods, and different cultures.”

For more information about the San Diego International Jewish Film Festival, go to sdcjc.org/sdijff.

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