The New York Jewish Festival opens on Wednesday with a packed slate of premieres and in-person appearances, continuing in its 21st year as New York film's finest lens into Jewish life around the world.

The opening selection this year is Mabul (The Flood), from Guy Nattiv, the tale of an extraordinarily fractured family told through the eyes of their youngest son, who is preparing for his bar mitzvah. A New York premiere (and nominee for six Israeli Academy Awards), the film went on sale to such high demand that a third screening was added for Wednesday afternoon. All three screenings will be attended by the film’s co-star, Michael Moshonov, who plays the family’s autistic elder son in a performance Variety called “physical and raw.”

Actress Sarah Adler will be on hand for New York premieres of two of her films this weekend, the French comedy Bachelor Days Are Over and the gentle Israeli drama Restoration. On Saturday night you can catch a one-off screening of Mary Lou, a Glee-style musical series stitched into a film from well-liked Israeli director Eytan Fox (Walk on Water, Yossi & Jagger). Sunday afternoon, see one of next week’s hot-ticket titles early with an added screening of the U.S. premiere My Australia

Rare-film buffs will be in line for the U.S. premiere the newly restored Breaking Home Ties, a silent drama previously thought to be lost. It will play Sunday accompanied by a live piano and violin score.

Rounding out the first week are selections from the festival’s robust documentary slate. Among the decidedly diverse screenings this week are Shoah: The Unseen Interviews, a 16mm look at unused footage from the landmark film; White: A Memoir in Color, a man’s exploration of what it means to be white in America; and the world premiere 400 Miles to Freedom, (partly) about the exodus of 2,500-year-old community of Jews in the Ethiopian mountains. All three films will feature in-person appearances by filmmakers.

Tickets begin at $8 for members and are on sale now for the festival, which runs through January 26. The festival is presented in partnership with The Jewish Museum. For complete listings of the films this week and next, head to the festival page.