TJFF made its debut in 1993 under the direction of our current Artistic Director, Helen Zukerman. At the time there was a limited focus in Toronto on Jewish culture in the film industry. TJFF’s Festival proved to be a creative, exciting way to introduce people in the city and surrounding areas to Jewish culture, and how it fits with the multicultural kaleidoscope that is Toronto. The Foundation incorporated in 1994, setting out to be a showcase of the diversity in Jewish life and cultural experiences around the world.
TJFF’s annual Festival began as a ‘downtown’ Festival, but has, over the years, expanded its use of venues, both downtown, midtown and further north in an attempt to be as inclusive and inviting as possible and to appeal to a broader demographic. TJFF also introduced programming to address the needs of marginalized segments of the community: offering ASL interpreters at screenings for the deaf/hearing impaired community and sensory-sensitive screenings for families affected by autism, who would not otherwise be able to enjoy a public “in-theatre” event.
An additional goal of the Foundation is to expose the non-Jewish community to the multiculturalism and diversity of Jewish life globally. We endeavour to provide programming for all ages and sectors of the larger Toronto community. TJFF plans strategies to overcome the barriers to attendance amongst the non-Jewish population and the younger secular Jewish population, allowing them to feel co