This year’s programme is more varied than ever, with an unprecedented number of UK premieres including Jewish-related feature, documentary and short films from around the world. In addition, there will be a number of exciting panel discussions and Q&A sessions with leading directors and filmmakers. Highlights include:
FAMILY LAW (UK Premiere) by award-winning Argentinian director Daniel Burman is “a deft, witty and emotionally rewarding study of a 30-something man in his roles as father and son” (Variety). It is the story of lawyer turned teacher Ariel Perelman and his father, lawyer for an array of colourful petty criminals. A delightful, refreshing comedy-drama, set against the backdrop of bustling Buenos Aires.
HEIGHTS (Special Preview Screening) is the final Merchant Ivory production, before Merchant’s untimely death, and features Glenn Close and Isabella Rosselini in a film of “subtle beauty” (Christian Science Monitor). It takes place over 24 hours on an autumn day in New York City and follows the interrelated stories of five characters. As the connections between their lives begin to reveal themselves and finally things begin to unravel so that they must choose what kind of lives they will lead before the sun comes up on the next day.
FREE ZONE (UK Premiere) by acclaimed Israeli director Amos Gitai, tells the menacing story of Rebecca (Natalie Portman), a young American woman who suddenly breaks off her engagement with Julio, her Israeli fiancé. In a state of emotional shock she gets into a taxi and asks the driver to take her anywhere as long as it is far away from her lover. Although reluctant, the taxi driver Hanna lets her accompany her to Jordan’s Free Zone. Hannah Lazlo, in the role, won the best actress award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Amos Gitai will be attending the festival for a Q&A session.
KNOWLEDGE IS THE BEGINNING (UK Premiere) is an award-winning documentary about Daniel Barenboim’s West Eastern Divan Orchestra, which he co-founded with the Arab intellectual, the late Edward Said in 1998. On the notion that “music is the language of peace,” the orchestra brings together Arab and Israeli musicians. Director Paul Smaczny has followed the orchestra since its inception and this emotional film chronicles the story of its remarkable existence. The Director Paul Smaczy will attend the screening, which will be followed by a Q and A.
The festival will open in London with a Tenth Anniversary Celebrity Gala on Wednesday 1st November at Curzon Mayfair. It will be a special screening of the eagerly awaited SIXTY SIX, a Working Title production based on the true story of film director Paul Weiland, who celebrated his Bar Mitzvah on the day of the England’s only ever victory in the World Cup. Prior to the film, there will be a drinks and canapés reception at the Washington Mayfair Hotel from 7-8pm. Tickets, in aid of the UK Jewish Film Festival, are priced at £66.
The screening is sponsored by Lord Puttnam, and the reception is sponsored by Bank Leumi (UK). It will be attended by amongst others director Paul Weiland, and actors Eddie Marsan and Gregg Sulkin, who plays 12-year-old Bernie. Gregg, a newcomer to acting, was discovered in a trawl of the north London Jewish community and its schools. Helena Bonham-Carter play’s Bernie’s mother, in what has been billed as a feelgood movie as good as Billy Elliot.
Commenting on the programme, Judy Ironside, Director of the UK Jewish Film Festival, said:
“To mark our tenth anniversary year, we have programmed our biggest and most exciting festival yet. We have sourced the very best Jewish-themed films from around the world and have found some incredible features, award-winning documentaries and some wonderful shorts. With an unprecedented number of UK premieres, and some of the world’s leading film directors in attendance – we have a feast of film not only for film fans, but for all those with an interest in Jewish culture and issues. As such, we hope more people than ever will join us for the screenings across London, and be entertained and inspired by the incredible diversity of Jewish film today. “
For the first time this year, the Jewish Chronicle is the media partner of the UKJFF.
For a programme, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 01273 735 522 or visit www.ukjewishfilmfestival.org.uk