'Crazy' festival in small, frigid Alaska town with a couple hundred Jews attracts mostly non-Jewish patrons.
The 15th Farthest North Jewish Film Festival opened in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Organizers say the festival, which began Saturday and runs through March 3, attracts mostly non-Jewish viewers from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, which sponsors the festival with Or HaTzafon, the city's only synagogue. Attending a film will sometimes be a class assignment.
This year's selection includes ; a documentary about the folk song "Hava Nagila"; and “Paris-Manhattan,” a French film about a young Jewish woman whose life is guided by her love for Woody Allen.
Fairbanks, where temperatures often fail to break zero in the winter months, when the sun shines for just four hours a day, is believed to be home to just a couple hundred Jews among a total population of 32,000.
The idea came to education professor Jerry Lipka and his wife, academic adviser Janet Schichnes, after attending a Jewish film festival in San Francisco, according to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.
“Jerry came to me and says, ‘I have this idea of having a Jewish film festival here,' ” UAF film curator Len Kamerling told The Times of Israel. “I said, ‘That’s crazy enough.’ ”
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