An international festival of Jewish cinema is to hold screenings in Norwich and Cambridge for the first time in its 23-year history.

The UK Jewish Film Festival launched in Brighton in 1997, before growing to include screenings in London and then larger UK cities from 2012.

This year’s festival marks the first time the annual event has held screenings in East Anglia.

The planned showings are:

  • God of the Piano – December 1, Cambridge Arts Picturehouse: Psychological drama from Israeli director Itay Tal. When Anat, the scion of a distinguished musical family, learns that her new born baby might become deaf, she decides in a moment of madness – or extreme clarity – to do the unthinkable, hoping that this will allow her to keep the family’s dream intact.
  • The Birdcatcher – December 3, Norwich Cinema City: Esther, a Jewish-Norwegian teenager, dreams of moving to America with her parents and becoming a Hollywood star. But shortly before the family manages to leave Europe, the Nazis invade the country and their hometown. They are rounded up but Esther manages to escape and winds up on an occupied farm, where she pretends to be a Norwegian boy.
  • It Must Schwing! The Blue Note Story – December 5, Norwich Cinema City: Jazz buffs Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff fled Germany in the 1930s and settled in New York City, making it their life’s work to give the music they so admired the respect it deserved. Produced by Wim Wenders, this film is as cool as the Blue Note sound and as stylish as its iconic albums’ covers.
  • Solomon and Gaenor – December 8, Norwich Cinema City: Oscar-nominated classic of British-Jewish cinema. Set amid the anti-Jewish riots of 1911, and starring Ioan Gruffudd, Nia Roberts and Maureen Lipman, Solomon and Gaenor tells the story of a young Orthodox-Jewish man in South Wales who falls in love with a local girl. Will their love survive their respective communities’ prejudice and fear?
  • My Polish Honeymoon – December 11, Norwich Cinema City: Comedy following recently-married Parisian couple Anna and Adam as they head off on a belated honeymoon to Poland, leaving their baby in the hands of Anna’s parents. Whilst Anna hopes to find out something of her family’s history, Adam is more interested in having a few days alone with his wife.

Festival chairman Jonathan Lewis said: “This year we are able, with the benefit of funding from the British Film Institute, to take the festival to venues throughout the country with more than 20 cities having the benefit of the very best that the festival has to offer, on top of our twelve venues in London.

“Many of these cities have very small Jewish communities and have very little exposure to a positive vision of Jewish culture. It is an opportunity to reach out to the wider British community in a way that only film can do.”

For more details and booking visit the UK Jewish Film Festival website.