Oct 162013


The Jewish International Film Festival (JIFF) is back with a line-up of 51 Israeli and Jewish-themed features, documentaries and shorts from around the globe. The festival will run in Sydney 30 October – 17 November and in Melbourne 6 – 24 November. The Festival will explore the full spectrum of Jewish experience in all its rich complexity, via an incredible 50 Australian première screenings, spread, for the first time, across 12 diverse categories to assist patrons in navigating the eclectic slate of movies on offer.

The titles of these categories, which hint at the cinematic gems within, include All the World’s a Stage, Quality Schmaltz, Triumph of the Spirit, Coming of Age, Drama and Desire, Brilliant Minds, Haunted Histories, Power to the People, Reimagining Culture, Women on Film, Hamatzav (The Situation) and…Living Dead (yes, every Festival needs a good Zombie flick!)

Launching JIFF 2013 will be Fill the Void, the poignant story of an 18 year-old girl who finds herself torn between love and duty when pressured to marry the husband of her late sister. Screening courtesy of Rialto Films, this fine drama, set amidst Tel Aviv’s ultra-Orthodox Hassidic enclave, has won a multitude of prestigious awards and was a resounding hit with both critics and audiences at the Toronto and Venice International Film Festivals.

Closing night will pay homage to a great Jewish tradition…humour, with the delicious documentary, When Comedy Went to School an affectionate look at an era when comic legends such as Jerry Lewis, Sid Caesar, Jerry Stiller, Jackie Mason, Larry King and others honed their patter at the famous Catskill Mountains in upstate New York. Also features rare archival footage of comedians including Lenny Bruce, Rodney Dangerfield, Henny Youngman, Don Rickles, Mel Brooks, Danny Kaye and a young Jerry Seinfeld who all ‘cut their teeth’ on one of the toughest circuits in showbiz.

Check out some festival highlights and location details after the jump.

Highlights Include:
Bethlehem (Israel)
Directed by Yuval Adler
Category: Hamaztav (The Situation)
Israel’s entry for the 2014 Academy Awards, Winner of the FEDEORA Award for Best Film (Venice Days, Venice FF 2013), and fresh from its triumph at the Ophir Awards (Israel’s Oscars) where it won in six major categories including Best Film, Best Director and Best Actor, Bethlehem explores the complex friendship between an Israeli secret service officer and his teenage Palestinian informant. Not to be missed.

Cannon Fodder (Israel)
Directed by Eitan Gafny
Category: Living Dead
Using more than 150 litres of fake blood and with a cast of ex-Israel (IDF) special-ops soldiers, Israel’s first zombie film shocks with gob-smacking gore. IDF trooper Doron Geva spearheads a mission with a battalion of soldiers but they soon discover that a biological weapons test has gone horribly wrong, forcing them to fight against a horde of ravenous, flesh-eating zombies.

Rock The Casbah (Israel/France)
Directed by Yariv Horowitz
Category: Hamaztav (The Situation)
Winner of the Art Cinemas Award at Berlinale 2013, Rock the Casbah follows a group of young Israeli soldiers assigned to watch over a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip at the height of the Intifada during the summer of 1989. Despite their instructions, the task proves virtually impossible, as most of their opponents are children. A compelling and unforgettable cinematic experience.

Wakolda (Argentina/France/Spain/Norway)
Directed by Lucia Puenzo
Category: Haunted Histories
Nominated for Un Certain Regard at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, this tension-laden drama tells of the imagined experiences of a family in 1960s Argentina who come into close contact with Dr Josef Mengele, the engineer of the Third Reich’s experiences to create a master race.
Festival Dates:

SYDNEY: 30 October – 17 November – Event Cinemas, Bondi Junction
MELBOURNE: 6 – 24 November – Classic Cinemas, Elsternwick
For more information, please visit the festival website www.jiff.com.au