Jewish International Film Festival 2015

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Oct 062015

Son of Saul 1A

The Jewish International Film Festival is back for another year, with an impressive line-up of 60 feature films and documentaries. The festival will screen its full programme in Sydney and Melbourne, with a choice selection of titles playing Perth, Brisbane and Auckland.

Kicking of the festival in all locations is SON OF SAUL, the astonishing début from director László Nemes which took home 4 awards at the Cannes Film Festival, including the Grand Prix Prize (2nd prize). The film follows a father’s quest for moral redemption as he tries to salvage the body of a boy whom he believes to be his son, amidst the horrors of 1944 Auschwitz. Sure to be a challenging, but a rewarding watch.

Closing out the festival is SABENA HIJACKING – MY VERSION, a compelling docu-drama that revisits the 1972 hijacking of Belgian’s Sabena Flight 571 by four armed members of the Palestinian Black September terrorist organisation.

Other highlights include
A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS – Natalie Portman’s directorial début, in which she also stars as Fania, a Holocaust survivor (and mother of Amos Oz, one of Israel’s best-known writers) who struggles with the horrors of the past, whilst facing the challenges of the present. Based on Oz’s best-selling memoir.

BY SIDNEY LUMET – In a never-before-seen interview recorded a few years before his death, legendary filmmaker Sidney Lumet guides us through his life and work – from his early years on the Yiddish stage to directing of some of cinema’s most enduring classics, including 12 Angry Men, Dog Day Afternoon, Serpico and Network.

FELIX AND MEIRA – Meira is a Hasidic wife and mother consumed by the strict rules of her society. Felix is an eccentric French-Canadian man mourning his wealthy father. When the two meet in a bakery, an unexpected friendship is born. It soon blossoms into something more as they open one another’s eyes to the possibilities that lie beyond their worlds. This film is Canada’s nominee for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2016 Academy Awards.

THE VOICE OF PEACE – A documentary about a pirate radio station based on
a ship in international waters off the coast of Tel Aviv which broadcast messages of peace and love, as well as great music, to millions across the Middle East and Europe. Fighter pilot turned political activist Abie Nathan was determined in his mission to bring Israelis and Arabs together in peace, and soon counted Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Yoko Ono,Johnny Mathis and The Carpenters among his supporters.

Festival dates & locations

SYDNEY: 28 October – 18 November, Event Cinemas, Bondi Junction
MELBOURNE: 4 – 29 November, Classic Cinemas, Elsternwick
PERTH: 31 October, 1 & 8 November, Event Cinemas, Morley
NEW ZEALAND: 15 & 22 November, Academy Cinemas, Auckland
BRISBANE: 21, 22 & 29 November, New Farm Cinemas

To view the full programme and ticket information, visit the official JIFF Website at:

Zero Motivation

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Oct 192014


Screening at the upcoming Jewish International Film Festival, Zero Motivation, the excellent début feature from Israeli writer/director Talya Lavie, won the top prize for narrative world cinema at the Tribeca Film Festival. A black comedy addressing the mundanity of Israeli Army base HR management and secretarial duties, it focuses on a unit of female conscripts who find their camaraderie tested by the base’s comings and goings, and are willing to do anything to make their service bearable – while keeping their sanity and dignity.

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Jewish International Film Festival 2014

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Oct 022014


The annual Jewish International Film Festival returns to Melbourne and Sydney – and, for the first time Perth, Gold Coast and New Zealand – with an incredibly rich global selection of 49 award-winning features, documentaries and shorts within 11 categories.

Gett, The Trial of Viviane Amsalem, will open JIFF in each city. This compelling French/German/Israeli co-production, which screened as part of Directors’ Fortnight at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, affords a rare insight into the rabbinical court and its treatment of women as we follow the five-year quest of Viviane Amsalem to obtain a ‘gett’ (Jewish divorce) amidst a process where tragedy and absurdity abound. Above and Beyond, a riveting documentary that encapsulates the indomitable Jewish spirit, will screen on Closing Night.

What lies between these two films is a selection of outstanding features and documentaries sourced from Israel, Germany, France, USA, the Philippines, Switzerland and Ireland that will enthrall, inform and captivate audiences from both within and beyond the Jewish community.

Highlights include:
THE GREEN PRINCE (Germany/Israel/UK/USA) D: Nadav Schirman
Category: Hamatzav (The Situation)
Winner of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award (World Cinema: Documentary) and Best Documentary at the 2014 Ophir Awards, this is a gripping account of terror and betrayal based on the best-selling book, Son of Hamas, a memoir by Mosab Hassan Yousef. Palestinian Yousef, is ready to fight Israel, but at 17, is arrested for smuggling guns. Interrogated by Israel’s security service, he is sent to prison, where he turns and, deeply ashamed, agrees to spy for Israel. But for his Shin Bet handler, there is no greater prize than operating the oldest son of a founding member of Hamas.

THE FAREWELL PARTY (Israel) Directors: Tal Granit and Sharon Maymon
Category: Triumph of the Spirit
Nominated in 14 categories at the 2014 Ophir Awards this off-beat comedy, which won the Venice Day’s People’s Choice Award at the 2014 Venice Film Festival, is a compassionate tale about life, death and friendship. Ezikiel and his friends at a Jerusalem retirement home build a euthanasia machine to help their terminally ill friend. When rumours of the machine begin to spread, more and more people ask for their help, and the group is faced with an emotional, ethical dilemma.

MY OLD LADY (France, USA) Director: Israel Horovtiz
CATEGORY: Meant to Be
An uplifting, superbly acted story about what life can do to you while you’re making other plans, and about making the most of the time we have. A down-and-out, harried New Yorker (Kevin Kline) travels to Paris to sell a valuable apartment he has inherited from his estranged father. Once there he finds the apartment inhabited by a refined older lady (Academy-Award winner Maggie Smith) and her daughter (Kristin Scott Thomas). She tells him that, legally, he cannot sell the apartment until she dies.

Festival dates & locations

SYDNEY: 29 October – 16 November Event Cinemas, Bondi Junction
MELBOURNE: 5 – 23 November Classic Cinemas, Elsternwick
GOLD COAST: 15, 16 & 23 November Event Cinemas, Robina
PERTH: 15, 16 & 23 November Event Cinemas, Innaloo
NEW ZEALAND: 16 & 23 November The Bridgeway, Auckland

Tickets are now on sale

Visit the official website at:
Follow the festival on Twiiter: @JewishIFF

2013 Jewish International Film Festival

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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.

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