VideoFest kicks off today. I’ll be offering up my picks for each day of the festival here on the blog, beginning with Thursday’s choice cuts:
A Dallas Jewish Journey – Today, Dallas has a vibrant Jewish community. But how did it start? This 17 minute film turns back the clock 100 years or so to look back at the first Jews living in Dallas. The story that’s told is one of endless generosity among people with a shared identity. When one found success, he was expected to help out those still planting roots in Dallas. That charitable spirit led to the founding of the Dallas Hebrew Freeloan Association and the first Jewish nursing home and later brought Dallas Jews to the airport to welcome Russian Jews immigrating to North Texas in the 1970s. Because of the time period the doc focuses on, Dallas filmmakers Allen Mondell and Cynthia Salzman Mondell didn’t have a lot of footage to work with. But they do an excellent job of sharing hundreds of photos from Dallas’ Jewish past. The film plays with a pair of other Jewish-themed shorts: 4 Questions for a Rabbi (7:18) and The Tale of Nicolai and the Law of Return.
A Dallas Jewish Journey screens at 7 p.m.
Orgasm Inc. – Liz Canner’s film looks at the race among drug companies to develop the female version of Viagra. What she finds is an industry doing its best to create a demand – even going so far as to coin the ambiguous term “Female Sexual Disorder” – so that it can in turn provide the supply. Consider Canner a sweeter version of Michael Moore – willing to ask the tough questions without being confrontational and then letting the cameras role as the subject struggles to find the answer.
Orgasm Inc. screens at 9 p.m. Click here to read my interview with the film’s director, Liz Canner.
Click here to listen to today’s KERA radio story about a program of YouTube videos that screens on Sunday.