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Jewish film scores to life for a one-time-only concert at the Atlanta Symphony Hall


In a first-ever collaboration, the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival will partner with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra to bring some of the most beloved Jewish film scores to life for a one-time-only concert on Monday, Jan. 4, 2010, at 8 p.m., at Atlanta Symphony Hall. The AJFF Gala Concert kicks off the 10th Annual Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, which runs Jan. 13-24, 2010.


The Jan. 4 concert, sponsored by Turner Classic Movies and Comcast, will be the first time a concert of Jewish-themed film scores has been presented anywhere in the world by a major orchestra. The concert also marks the first collaboration between the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival.


Film scores for the Jan. 4 concert gala will include: Schindler's List, Driving Miss Daisy, Yentl, Life is Beautiful, The Ten Commandments, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Producers, Gentleman's Agreement, I Have Never Forgotten You, Exodus and Masada. Music selections will be accompanied by a montage of memorable still images from select films projected onto large overhead screens.


Concert tickets, priced from $18 to $75, are on sale now at and at A special Red Carpet VIP ticket is also available for $250 at, and includes premier seating, a private cocktail and hors d'oeuvres reception prior to the concert, and a ticket to the Opening Night film of the 10th Annual AJFF on Wednesday, Jan. 13.


Conductor Richard Kaufman will be the guest conductor for this special evening. Kaufman, a longtime music coordinator at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, has a history of conducting and supervising music for film and television productions and performing film and classical music in concert halls and on recordings.  This Grammy Award winner has conducted various symphony orchestras throughout the United States including Atlanta, Charlotte, Denver, Detroit, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, The Brevard Music Center and the Pacific Symphony in Orange County, Calif. He has conducted the NHK Symphony in Tokyo and the Vancouver Symphony in Canada. In addition, he has conducted for various performers including John Denver, Andy Williams, Mary Martin, Robert Merrill, Nanette Fabray, David Copperfield, Juliet Prowse and Neil Sedaka. As part of his career in film, Kaufman has coached various actors in instrumental, vocal and conducting roles, including Jack Nicholson, Dudley Moore, Tom Hanks and Susan Sarandon. He also played violin on numerous film and television scores including Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. As Principal Pops Conductor, Kaufman is in his 14th season with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and his 19th season with Orange County's Pacific Symphony. 


"I am thrilled to be part of the film music concert which will be presented as a prelude to this year's Atlanta Jewish Film Festival," Kaufman said. "This will be a unique and exciting evening of music from many of Hollywood's most memorable films with themes centered on Jewish life. I can't think of a better way to experience this music than hearing it played by one of the world's great symphony orchestras, the Atlanta Symphony. But this will be much more than just a concert of great music. It's going to be a night to remember!"


Ben Mankiewicz, daytime weekend host for Turner Classic Movies, will introduce the evening's performance and serve as host. A scion of one of Hollywood's legendary families, Mankiewicz is the grandson of writer Herman Mankiewicz and great-nephew of director Joseph L. Mankiewicz, who between them wrote and directed such films as Citizen Kane, All About Eve, Guys and Dolls and Cleopatra. Prior to joining TCM, Mankiewicz hosted the news magazine show "The Times" for WAMI-TV in Miami and he continues to host his satellite radio show, "The Young Turks," on Sirius Satellite Radio.


"This is a momentous event in the history of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival," said Kenny Blank, executive director of the festival. "We can think of no better way to kick off our 10th annual festival than in partnership with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra to bring these memorable film scores to Atlanta audiences. We are truly grateful to the ASO and Woodruff Arts Center for their support."


The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival will announce its 2010 film lineup on Tuesday, Dec.8, 2009.



The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, currently in its 65th season, is one of America's leading orchestras, known for the excellence of its live performances, presentations, renowned choruses, and its impressive list of Grammy® Award-winning recordings. The leading cultural organization in the Southeast, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra serves as the cornerstone for artistic development and music education in the region. Under the Creative Partnership of Music Director Robert Spano, Principal Guest Conductor Donald Runnicles, and President and CEO Allison Vulgamore since September 2001, the Orchestra and audiences together explore a creative programming mix, recordings, and visual enhancements, such as the ASO Theater of a Concert, the Orchestra's continuing exploration of different formats, settings, and enhancements for the musical performance experience. Another example is the Atlanta School of Composers, which reflects Mr. Spano and the Orchestra's commitment to nurturing and championing music through multi-year partnerships defining a new generation of American composers. (more)


Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2010, the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival (AJFF) is a cinematic examination of Jewish life, culture and history produced by the American Jewish Committee's Metro Atlanta Office, the country's oldest human relations organization, to support its mission of "building bridges of understanding" across community lines. AJFF features a diverse showcase of more than 50 international, independent and studio narrative and documentary films, Since its founding in 2000, the AJFF has enjoyed robust growth across all fronts, including attendance, audience diversity, community visibility, depth and quality of programming, and sponsor participation. The festival is now Atlanta's largest film festival with more than 17,000 attendees each year, and the second largest Jewish film festival in the United States. Film screenings are supplemented by guest speakers, providing a dynamic forum for audience dialogue with actors, filmmakers, academics, authors and other expert panelists. The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival is a non-profit event, and made possible with the generous support of corporate, foundation, government and individual sponsors. The 10th Annual AJFF will take place Jan.13-24, 2010 at three theater venues across the metro Atlanta area: the Lefont Sandy Springs, Regal Cinemas Atlantic Station Stadium 16 and Regal Medlock Crossing 18 theaters. For more information, visit or call (404) 806-9913.



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