Jewish Film in America & Europe
The year 1985 brought the ground-breaking nine-hour documentary Shoah, which set in motion a wave of Holocaust-themed films, both narrative and documentary. The best known, Spielberg's Schindler's List met with great box office and critical success, though it generated some scholarly controversy regarding its historicity and its very attempt to present the Holocaust in dramatic form. .
The advent of Jewish film festivals has vastly reconfigured distribution outlets for Jewish-themed films. Beginning in the early 1980s in San Francisco, the trend spread to New York, Toronto, and eventually to towns with much smaller Jewish populations, like Portland, Maine. Jewish film festivals continue to offer venues for strongly Jewish-themed work that often cannot find screening opportunities in more mainstream outlets.
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