Harlem Fave Sheryl Lee Ralph And Others At The Virtual Teaneck International Film Festival

Now in its 15th year, the Teaneck International Film Festival, a project of the Puffin Foundation, is going virtual and, according to Executive Director Jeremy Lentz, the benefits are many.

He has said there are no planes, trains, or automobiles and yet filmgoers can come from all over the country to watch films from the safety and comfort of their own homes. With 14 features, documentaries, and shorts scheduled one at a time over a two week period – November 12 – 25, 2020 – no one will have to race between theatres and everyone will be guaranteed the best seats in the house.


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The all-access pass is back, with a price tag of just $35 for admission to all the films and, for those who don’t want to commit to a movie every night, ticket prices are just $5 per film.

The theme Activism: Making Change has earned the TIFF accolades as the “film festival with a social conscience.” The 2020 program will include movies and talkbacks about racism, oppression, the environment, the LGBTQ community, women’s rights, immigration, and the underserved and forgotten whose stories have not been told. There will, of course, be opportunities for escape and laughter.

For film descriptions and previews; the schedule; information about talkbacks, guests, and tickets – visit the website: www.teaneckfilmfestival.org. Just click the “Buy Tickets” box to be directed to ticket sales on Eventbrite (there is a small service charge on each purchase). Make your selections, pick up some popcorn, and get ready for two weeks of thought-provoking and engrossing entertainment.

The TIFF 2020 opening night is Thursday, November 12, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. when Black Orpheus will be sponsored by the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc., Bergen / Passaic Chapter and Bergen County (NJ) Chapter of The Links, Inc. The 1959 drama/fantasy/musical that won the Academy Award for best foreign-language film and the Cannes Festival’s Palme d’Or revives the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice and transports the story to the 20th century in the middle of Carnival in Rio de Janeiro.

With its stunning cinematography, talented cast of mostly Black Brazilian actors, and moving and bewitching samba soundtrack, the film was an international cultural event of its time. Teaneck’s own Sandi Klein (creator of the podcast, Conversations With Creative Women) will moderate a talkback that will include renowned actor and activist Sheryl Lee Ralph.

On Saturday, November 14, 2020, at 8 p.m., the Martin Luther King Birthday Committee and the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Bergen / Passaic Chapter will sponsor the documentary John Lewis: Good Trouble, an intimate account of the legendary U.S. Representative’s life, legacy, and more than 60 years of extraordinary activism.

One of Martin Luther King’s closest allies, Lewis organized Freedom Rides that left him bloodied or jailed, and stood at the front lines in the historic marches on Washington and Selma. He never lost his spirit and called on his fellow Americans to get into “good trouble” until his passing on July 17, 2020. A talkback will follow the film.

The Woman Who Loves Giraffes, sponsored by Wise Older Women, will complete opening weekend, Sunday, November 15, 2020, at 7 p.m. At 23, biologist Anne Innis Dagg made an unprecedented solo journey to South Africa to study giraffes in the wild. Anne (now 85) retraces her steps with letters and stunning, original 16mm film footage.

She offers an intimate window into her life as a young woman, juxtaposed with a first-hand look at the devastating reality that giraffes are facing today. The director, Alison Reid, and the subject of the film – scientist / activist / feminist Dagg will participate in the talkback.

After three days, there is much more to go before the closing night film, Crescendo, sponsored by the Jewish Standard, Sunday, November 25, 2020, 7:30 p.m. This German feature (with subtitles) is about a world-famous conductor who creates an Israeli-Palestinian youth orchestra. The talkback will be with Stephen Glantz, who wrote the script.

Check www.teaneckfilmfestival.org for updates about special guests, sponsors, and films that have closed captioning. Questions and comments may be emailed to tiff@teaneckfilmfestival.org. Please “like” the TIFF on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Look for it on YouTube, and watch for news of TIFF on TikTok!

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