The Institute of Jewish Audiovisual Memory (IMAJ), founded in Brussels in 1984, is a non-profit cultural organization.
Beatrice Godlewicz, a Belgian teacher, noted the lack in Europe of cinematographic references to Jewish culture. It therefore took the initiative to create an association to make available to schools and teachers, films and information on Jewish history and culture. Progressively, the association gathered and compiled a listing of a growing number of films and expanded its audience. IMAJ then became a specialized documentation center for those wishing to broaden their knowledge of Jewish cinema or simply for those who love the seventh art, or for those who are curious to know more about Jewish culture. In parallel, IMAJ organizes events that promote recent or old films. The founding members were Baron Georges Arthur Schnek , Baroness Simone Susskind , Paul Danblon , Gyora Glupczynski and Beatrice Godlewicz.
IMAJ participates in the effort to identify and spread films about Jewish culture and history. IMAJ includes in its inventory all types of films: fictions, documentaries, short films, etc. IMAJ currently has a large database in French dedicated to Jewish-themed films. More than 5,000 films are inventoried and around 2000 of them are available for loan or consultation. These are both known films and rare or unknown films. The purpose of this database is to promote films that are related to Jewish history and life. Through this management, IMAJ wants to make a wide public, Judaism in its multiple and varied aspects. IMAJ collaborates, like other Jewish organizations, with the duty of memory, disseminating films about the Shoah , as well as other genocides and crimes against humanity. The association wants, through this medium, to fight stereotypes, denial and anti-Semitism. IMAJ is also a space for reflection on the cinema. Defends freedom of expression, pluralism of opinion and the notion of interculturality. IMAJ wants to create with its actions a citizen dialogue that allows building bridges between the different communities.
IMAJ organizes film events, pre-releases, festivals, screenings with debates, and supports the production of films. He also collaborates with other events such as exhibitions, book presentations, concerts, conferences … In 1989 IMAJ created his first festival entitled “Mieux vaut en rire” (better to laugh) about humor and Jewish cinema. From 2010 the festival is called “Au fil (m) du temps” (over time, with a play on words fil (through) and film). In each new edition, the festival awards a prize to the best Jewish film to Jewish theme. This award is awarded by a professional jury and was named Georges Schnek Prize in tribute to the founding president of IMAJ. The Baron Georges Arthur Schnek was a leading figure in the Jewish community of Belgium.
IMAJ has awarded the prize to:
- Jorge Gurvich for his film «Le Chat de Madame Moskovitch» during the 13th edition of the festival (2010)
- Doron For his film »Melting Away» during the 14th edition of the festival (2011)
- Sharon Bar-Ziv, for her film “Room 514” during the 15th edition of the festival (2013)
From one of its festivals, IMAJ has produced, with the support of the Cinematheque of the French Community, a DVD accompanied by a catalog: «Le cinema de Vouzôtres». This production is destined to be a showcase of the films produced by Belgian filmmakers that have relation with the Jewish life. IMAJ also produced other DVDs on the events it has organized or participated in.
IMAJ is recognized and funded by the Walloon-Brussels Federation . It is also supported by the Judaism Foundation of Belgium. IMAJ has been recognized as a center accredited by the Cellular Democracy or Barbarism of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation in 2010 under the decree on the transmission of memory, for its activities on the subject of the Shoa, genocide and crimes against The humanity.
Notes and references
- Article of the newspaper Le Soir , March 15, 1988.
- Regards article, January 14, 2000.
- Article in the newspaper Le Soir , 22 October 1990. File
- Article of the magazine Le Vif, April 7, 1989.
- Article from the newspaper Le Soir , March 25, 2010. file
- Article from the newspaper La Libre , January 10, 2006 file
- Article on the website of Judaiciné , January 9, 2011 file
- List of accredited centers . archive