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At Jewish Film Festival, Filmmaker Focuses On Innovation Within Tradition

An innovative take on the sukkah, a traditional Jewish hut.
An innovative take on the sukkah, a traditional Jewish hut.

The Washington Jewish Film Festival is back for its 24th year, showcasing dozens of films.

The program for this year's film festival includes more than 60 films from 18 different countries. One of those cinematic works is by filmmaker Jason Hutt, who grew up in Potomac, Md.

His documentary called Sukkah City is about an architectural competition that challenges participants to apply innovative design techniques to sukkahs, traditional huts some Jews build during the harvest holiday of Sukkot.

As a director, Hutt says he's interested in finding unique or innovative expressions of modern Jewish life in the 21st century.

"There's so much competing for our time and our energy in the digital world that unless we come up with ways to make these ancient rituals speak to our current generation, then people are just going to discard them and they're going to be lost," he says.

But the film isn't just about the sukkah, he says. "It's about ritual. It's about creativity, and it's also about the things we do either as Jews or as anyone else in this world, to give our lives meaning."

The Washington Jewish Film Festival runs through Sunday.

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