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African, Jewish film festivals come to Midpeninsula

October is a fine month for film on the Midpeninsula: the Silicon Valley Jewish Film Festival holds screenings in Palo Alto and the Silicon Valley African Film Festival comes to CSMA in Mountain View.

The African Film Festival runs Oct. 11 through Oct. 13, with some 30 feature films, shorts and animated movies by African filmmakers. Opening night brings "GriGris," a French-Chadian film that tells the story of a 25-year-old African man with a paralyzed leg who wants to become a dancer, but works for petrol traffickers to earn money. There will also be an "African Women in Technology" forum on Oct. 12, with women from 16 African countries who work in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

In addition, the festival will include African drumming and dance performances, workshops, panels, filmmaker talks, African food and an African marketplace.

All events are at the Community School of Music and Arts at 230 San Antonio Circle in Mountain View. One-day tickets are $20; a full festival pass is $30, with student and senior discounts. Go to svaff.org.

The Jewish film festival runs Oct. 19 through Nov. 17. Now in its 22nd year, the festival features 24 dramas, comedies and documentaries; seven of the movies will be screened in Palo Alto, with two special events there as well. The rest of the screenings are in Campbell and San Jose.

Chaim Topol, the Israeli actor who played Tevye in "Fiddler on the Roof," will be the focus of opening night in Palo Alto, taking questions from the audience. Scenes from his movies will be shown and a reception will follow. "Fiddler" will also be screened on Oct. 20 at 2:30 p.m.

Other Palo Alto films include "Paris-Manhattan," about a Parisian Jewish girl obsessed with Woody Allen movies; "Zaytoun," about a friendship between a downed Israeli pilot and an Arab boy; and "The Gatekeepers," a documentary featuring interviews with all surviving former heads of the Shin Bet. Actor Elliott Gould will attend a closing-day reception and screening of his movie "Dorfman in Love" on Nov. 17 at 5 p.m.

Palo Alto screenings are at the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center, 3921 Fabian Way. General-admission tickets are $11 in advance and $13 at the door ($9.50/$11 for seniors). Opening night is $70 (both advance and at the door) and closing night is $25/$30. Go to svjff.org or call 1-800-838-3006.

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