In 1998, a group of friends in Portland decided to get together and watch Jewish films. And then, over the course of 23 years, the Maine Jewish Film Festival (MJFF) has grown into a beloved cultural arts organization that serves the area year-round.

Maine Jewish Film FestivalExecutive Director Barbara Merson told us, “We primarily focus on films, but we also present concerts and art exhibits with the mission to enrich, educate, and entertain. Our events are based on the global Jewish experience, which is very, very broad. They include Jewish-specific content as well as themes that resonate with the Jewish community.”

You may be interested to know that the MJFF audience is 50/50 Jewish/non-Jewish as the events tap into the hearts of all kinds of people. Barbara said, “We have a diverse screening committee to reflect the diversity of our audience. And, we look for a variety of topics and quality films that will appeal to people in Maine.”

The annual flagship event, the Maine Jewish Film Festival, is happening virtually this year from November 6th -14th. Barbara added, “The committee watched 100 films and then selected about 20 for audience viewing and conversation. The way the conversations work, you can participate live and ask questions. The filmmakers have been very happy to have Zoom conversations with us; even better than traveling. We record the conversations, so you can watch the replay.”

She noted that they have great films for the November Festival – something for everybody. You can get all the details at