| by Joesph Dispenza
ìIím doing this so that you will be able to SEE,î said David Wark Griffith, almost a hundred years ago, in answer to the question as to why he made films. Griffith went on to create the two towering, defining works of early cinema, The Birth of a Nation (1915), and Intolerance (1916), earning for himself the title, Father of the Narrative Film.
At the Societyís Annual Conference in November, we are going to celebrate the power of film to inform, inspire and envision with a Film Fiesta highlighting works that depict Jewish life and Jewish history. Please mark your calendar for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, November 6, 7 and 8óin Albuquerque. The Fiesta will be comprised of films of particular merit, and, when appropriate, their directors and/or featured actors.
Films will be screened at the historic KiMo Theater, and our and we are extremely pleased to report the confirmation of the film and personal appearance of a major star. On Saturday, November 7, we will commemorate the 50th anniversary of Hollywoodís first film about antiñSemitism, Gentlemenís Agreement. Introducing the film, and delivering the keynote address at our banquet will be the female lead of that film, Celeste Holm.
Ms. Holm is eager to share her observations about the making of Gentlemenís Agreement, and to speak about its influence on American life, and on Hollywood, itself. Although a halfñcentury has passed since its initial release, the film continues to be a standard to which other films with similar themes measure themselves.
A successful Film Fiesta will require much work. If you are interested in helping out by serving on a committee, please contact the Society at (505) 989ñ6656.
As plans proceed with the Film Fiesta, you will receive updates by means of the Newsletter. We are uncovering an enormous amount of fascinating material on film relating to Jewish life and Jewish historyóenough for several weeks of screenings. It is going to be a challenge to narrow down all the worthy films to just a few excellent and exciting samples. If the November event is successful, we would like to continue to hold similar Film Fiestas over the course of the next several years.
The first weekend in Novemberóa memorable weekend! An opportunity to SEE just what D.W. Griffith was talking about.
Joseph Dispenza is a film historian and the author of ten books. Most recently, he wrote the first chapter, ìThe Romance of New Mexico,î of the newly released book, One Hundred Years of Film-Making in New Mexicoî. Mr. Dispenza has been engaged by the NMJHS to coordinate the November 6ñ8 Film Fiesta