2014 Films

This year the theme of our festival is Courage.
So many of our films have a spirit of heroism and bravery‎, a courage that is both physical and spiritual.
We are proud to salute all those who have stood strong in the face of adversity and we are humbled by the courage of their convictions.
We know you will be uplifted by the stories told in this wonderful selection of films, and we look forward to seeing you at the movies:)

UK-Jewish-Film  Thank you to the UK Jewish Film Festival for all their assistance and their extensive library for this Festival. Below are our 2014 film offerings with trailers & synopsis – in alphabetical order.Horizontal line

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24 Days (24 JoursLa vérité sur l’affaire Ilan Halimi) – Opening Night Film, kindly sponsored by the Chouraqui Family. This film will also be screened in Hong Kong schools in association with the Hong Kong Holocaust and Tolerance Centre.

We are honoured to announce that Ruth Halimi and her daughter Yael will both be in attendance.

Dir. Alexandre Arcady | France 2014 | Drama | French with English and Chinese subtitles | 110 mins
Supported by the Consulate General of France.

‘A white-knuckle dramatization’ The Hollywood Reporter

Sticking dangerously close to the real-life incident that inspired it, 24 Days offers up a white-knuckle dramatization of the nearly month-long kidnapping and torture of 23-year-old Ilan Halimi, whose traumatic ordeal at the hands of the “Gang of Barbarians” prompted a massive police manhunt and, eventually, a national outcry against anti-Semitism in France.

Considered so important that the French Ministry of Education has decided it must be shown in schools.

A powerful and timely film by one of France’s most celebrated filmmakers.

PRESS QUOTES

–       “Terrific Cast” (Hollywood Report http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/24-days-24-jours-la-697501)
–       “Gripping and carefully-plotted thriller” (Toronto Jewish Film Festival 2014, http://tjff.com/film-info.php?id=3089&sortby=&filterby=)

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Above and Beyond: The Birth of the Israeli Air Force  – Kindly sponsored in honour of the United Israel Appeal – Keren Hayesod

Dir. Roberta Grossman | USA 2014 | Documentary | English | 87 mins
Supported by the American Consulate General

 

Gripping and un-missable. In 1948, a group of World War II pilots volunteered to fight for Israel in the War of Independence. As members of “Machal” – volunteers from abroad – this ragtag band of brothers not only turned the tide of the war, preventing the possible annihilation of Israel at the very moment of its birth; they also laid the groundwork for the Israeli Air Force. Above And Beyond is their awesome and inspiring story.

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Anywhere Else  (Anderswo) |

Dir. Ester Amrami | Germany, Israel 2014 | Comedy/ Drama | German, English, Hebrew and Yiddish with English subtitles | 84 mins

Fresh from its prize-winning debut at the Berlin Film Festival comes this charming film about a young Israeli woman figuring out where and with whom she feels most at home.

Filled with humour and emotional depth, and featuring engaging performances from the entire cast, including star Neta Riskin (Shtisel), as Noa, who is torn between her gorgeous German boyfriend and her crazy Israeli mother.

Starring: Neta Riskin, Golo Euler, Hana Laslo, Hana Rieber, Dovaleh Reiser, Romi Abulafia, Kosta Kaplen Best Independent Film at the 2014 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival

 

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Arabani  | 

Dir. Adi Adwan | Israel 2013 | Drama | Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles | 84 mins

Winner at the Jerusalem International Film Festival. A closed and deeply conservative Druze community is scandalized by the return of one of its native sons in Arabani, the first film by an Israeli-Druze filmmaker.

Newly divorced from his Jewish wife, Yosef arrives in the village of Sumaka with his two unruly teenage kids. A suspicious community turn on him and his children, as they start new relationships and romances with the locals, causing tensions to erupt.

 

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Belle et Sébastien  | 

Dir. Nicolas Vanier | France 2013 | Drama | French and German with English subtitles | 98 mins
Supported by the Consulate General of France.

The 1960s TV series beloved around the world has been remade for a new generation as a heart-warming family film that deserves to be seen on the big screen.

Belle et Sébastien is set high in the snowy Alps during the Second World War. The resourceful Sébastien (an adorable Félix Bossuet) is a lonely boy who tames and befriends a giant, wild mountain dog, Belle – even though the villagers believe her to be ‘the beast’ that has been killing their sheep.

At the same time, the Germans have arrived in the peaceful village looking for resistance members who are helping Jewish refugees escape into Switzerland. Through danger and adventure, Belle and Sébastien forge an indestructible friendship.

Set against breathtaking scenery and a dramatic time in history, and co-starring Tchéky Karyo, one of France’s most popular actors, this moving story will be enjoyed by the whole family.

 

PRESS QUOTES

A well-crafted outdoor action-adventure in the old school Disney tradition”, Hollywood Reporter

Stars: Félix Bossuet, Tchéky Karyo, Mehdi El Glaoui 2014 Youth Jury Award Prize for Best Films4Families Feature: Grand Jury Prize  

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Besa the Promise | 

Dir. Rachel Goslins | USA 2012 | Documentary | English with Chinese subtitles | 86 mins  | Music: Phillip Glass
Supported by the American Consulate General

 

“IN A SMALL, LITTLE COUNTRY CALLED ALBANIA, SIMPLE PEOPLE DID SIMPLE THINGS, BUT IN RETROSPECT THEY WERE NOT SIMPLE AT ALL, THEY WERE GREATLY HEROIC”

This compelling documentary reveals the little known history of Albanians, mostly Muslims, who risked their lives sheltering Jews during WWII, following the ancient moral code of besa (a promise).

The film tells a remarkable story of the gentle, thoughtful Albanian toyshop owner Rexhep Hoxha in his quest to find the Jewish family his father sheltered and to return the sacred books left in his care sixty years ago.

Featuring original music by Philip Glass and striking portraits by American photographer Norman H. Gershman, this is a truly inspiring tale of simple humanity, bravery and the possibility of co-existence.

PRESS QUOTES

“…a lesson in interfaith cooperation…”, Laura Koran, CNN

 
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Cupcakes  – Kindly sponsored by Pharmalink

Dir. Eytan Fox | Israel 2013 | Comedy | Hebrew, French and English with English subtitles | 90mins

 

Award-winning filmmaker Eytan Fox (Yossi & JaggerWalk On Water) returns with a stylised, gossamer-light musical comedy about life, love and friendship.

When heartbroken Tel Aviv baker Anat gets together with her friends to watch a Eurovision-style song contest, the catchy tune they write to cheer her up unexpectedly ends up as Israel’s entry for the contest! But will the good-natured friends survive the cut-throat world of the pop business? With feel good music by Babydaddy (Scissor Sisters), technicolor styling à la Almodóvar and an unashamedly entertaining storyline that could have come from Friends, this hit musical comedy is the guiltiest pleasure of the year.

PRESS QUOTES

“Watching Cupcakes is like taking an extravagant 90-minute vacation from reality, and who couldn’t use a vacation these days?”, Jerusalem Post

Special Mention, Haifa International Film Festival, 2012 Winner of Best Comedy – 2014 LA Jewish Film Festival

 
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Dancing in Jaffa  | 

Dir. Hilla Medalia | Israel, USA 2013 | Documentary | English, Arabic and Hebrew with English and Chinese subtitles | 88mins
Supported by the American Consulate General

A story to make your heart sing. The renowned dancer and teacher Pierre Dulaine, returns to his native Jaffa for the first time since he left with his Palestinian-French mother and his Irish father, as a child.

He is determined to teach the ‘two step’ to 11 year-old Palestinian and Israeli children in his own bid to overcome political and cultural differences. Not a simple task and he encounters a whole lot of resistance and prejudice along the way whilst setting a significant challenge to the children and their families.

This tender and elegant film proposes a glimmer of hope in the darkness of the Middle East conflict.

PRESS QUOTES

“A sweet and incredibly moving tale filled with moments of truth, poignancy and hope”, Indiewire

 
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G-d is Kidding  |

Dirs. Boaz Balachsan & Dima Tretyakov | Israel 2012 | Animation | Hebrew with English subtitles | 7 mins

A short and sweet animation exploring the eternal philosophical questions about G-d and faith through the eyes of children.

BITFILM Hamburg (Germany) 2013-04 1st Place, 2D contest

 

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G-d’s Slave  |

Dir. Joel Novoa | Venezuela, Argentina, Uruguay, USA 2013 | Drama | Spanish, Arabic, Hebrew and French with English subtitles | 90 mins
Supported by the American Consulate General

Taut and mesmerising, fast action drama-thriller, based on the true story of the 1994 bombing of the Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires.

Award-winning young Venezuelan director Joel Novoa Schneider draws compelling performances from his two troubled protagonists: one a ‘sleeper’ terrorist, activated to carry out a deadly mission and the other, a Mossad agent, desperate to avoid past mistakes and prevent tragedy.

Fresh and unpredictable from start to finish this is an outstanding debut from one of the rising stars of Latin American cinema.

 

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Hanna’s Journey  (Hannas Reise) |

Dir. Julia von Heinz | Germany, Israel 2013 | Drama | English, Hebrew and German with English subtitles | 100 mins

Unexpected romantic complications arise when a young German student, Hanna, travels to Israel to further her career. When an Israeli colleague starts goading her with Holocaust jokes and cynical comments on German history, tensions rise but so do romantic interests….

Based on the Theresa Bäuerlein novel, Hanna’s Journey is a provocative and engaging examination of the after-effects of the Holocaust on third-generation Germans and Israelis. It also features beautiful camerawork by award-winning cinematographer Daniela Knapp, who contrasts the hot, chaotic bustle of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem with the wintry symmetry of Berlin.

The producer Saar Yogev will be in attendance.

 

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Hannah Cohen’s Holy Communion |

Dir. Shimmy Marcus  | United Kingdom  |Drama  | English | mins 12

 

Pears Short Film Fund Winner 2012

Set in Dublin in the 1970’s, this film explores a rarely glimpsed Ireland, as seen through the eyes of spirited seven year old, Hannah Cohen. Hannah can’t wait to make her Holy Communion – only problem is – she’s Jewish! An Irish/Jewish film with an international feel, the beauty of this story lies in its simplicity, humour, and the universal desire to fit in.

Hannah Cohen picked up the Silver Award at the Robinson International Short Film Competition
Best Short Audience Award – Washington Jewish Film Festival
Best Short Audience Award – Chicago Irish Film Festival
Best Short Audience Award – Cine Gael Montreal Film Festival
Best Short Audience Award – Door County Short Film Festival
Best Short – Waterford Film Festival
Best Script – Pears Foundation Short Film Script Award

 

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How to Make it to the Promised Land  |

Dir. Sam Zalutsky | USA 2013 | Drama | English | 17mins
Supported by the American Consulate General

Lizzie, a precocious teenage girl, is forced to play a Holocaust role-play “game” while attending a Jewish camp. A short film to make you think…

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In Silence  – Kindly sponsored by the Amias family and the Consulate General of the Czech Republic

Dir. Zdeněk Jiráský | Slovakia, Czech Republic 2014 | Drama | English and Slovak with English subtitles | 84min

A highly original, visually stunning and emotionally devastating film that celebrates the musicians whose lives were lost in the Holocaust.

Czech director Zdeněk Jiráský had planned his film to be a documentary but, through the amassing of material, ended up with a highly original drama. The level of invention and intensity is unforgettable and brings home the power of cinema.

 

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Kidon  – Kindly sponsored by BHI

Dir. Emmanuel Naccache | Israel, France 2013 | Comedy | English, Hebrew, and French with English subtitles | 97 minutes | Cast: Bar Refaeli, Sasson Gabai

Fast-moving black comedy thriller starring a ‘Who’s Who’ of actors including Bar Refaeli and Sasson Gabai.

The assassination of a Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai in 2010 was blamed on Mossad, but was the agency framed by a group of small-time criminals? That is the premise of this entertaining and fast-paced spy heist movie.

PRESS QUOTES

“A breezy throwback to the caper comedies of the 1960s and ‘70s” Jerusalem Post

 

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Life in Stills   – Kindly sponsored by Sharon Ser, honouring her mother Irene Ser,  and Vivienne Piciotto, Anneke Patria, Ketty Grossman and other feisty women of the HK community of a certain age…

Dir. Tamar Tal | Germany, Israel 2011 | Hebrew with English subtitles | 60mins

Israel’s most famous photographer, Rudi Wasserstein, gave the nation some of its most iconic images. But his momentous photo studio, still run by his 96 year-old widow, Miriam, is in trouble. In this delightful, intimate portrait, the camera follows the relationship between the stubborn, feisty Miriam and her gentle grandson as they struggle with property developers to save the shop and its archive – home to over a million of Rudi’s priceless negatives – for the nation’s heritage. A touching, funny portrait of two generations who don’t always see eye to eye but find strength in each other.

PRESS QUOTES

“Unique and moving, a great film” Ha’aretz

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Magic Men  – Closing Night Film, kindly sponsored by Withers.

Dirs. Erez Tadmor and Guy Nattiv | Israel 2014 | Drama | Hebrew with English subtitles | 100 mins | Cast: Makram J. Khoury

Moving and beautifully shot father-and-son road trip movie from the director of hit Israeli comedy A Matter of Size.

Dispatched by his boss to an obscure town twinning ceremony in Greece, Avraham is confronted by his own buried past as a young Greek Jewish boy hidden during the Second World War by a local magician. Avraham’s Hassidic rapster son is sent to keep an eye on him and the poisonous cocktail of their difficult and estranged relationship make for an explosive journey with some surprising and often amusing twists and encounters.

Nativ and Tadmor’s thoughtful film is an ambitious and poignant portrait of family relationships, the divide between religious and secular and the coming together of cultures.

PRESS QUOTES

““Magic Men” is not the first nor the last film that deals with the relationships between parents and children, between men and women or between belief and the lack of it. But it is a film that magically makes the viewers acknowledge the power, complexity and beauty of these relationships, and by doing so, it will not leave you indifferent.”

Dalit Nmeirovski, Telavivian, 30/3/14

Emily Kaiser Thelin Best Actor Award – 2013 Israeli Academy Awards Audience Award – 2014 Maui International Film Festival

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Noodle  |

Dir. Ayelet Menahemi | Israel 2007 | Drama | Hebrew and Mandarin with English and Chinese subtitles | 90mins

A charming and deeply moving comic-drama about a young Israeli woman and an abandoned Chinese boy whose lives converge in the most surprising manner.

Miri, a thirty something flight attendant lives with her volatile sister Gila, who is in the throes of a mid-life crisis. Returning home from work one day Miri thinks nothing of being asked to look after their Chinese maid’s young son. But when she fails to return Miri finds herself with a six year old Chinese boy silently waiting for his mother to come back. Flawless script, witty dialogue and well crafted visuals are all spiced up with a sensitive insight into human lives and loves, turning this film into a memorable cinematic experience.

 

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Run Boy Run (Lauf Junge Lauf)  – This film will also be screened in Hong Kong schools and is sponsored by the Hong Kong Holocaust and Tolerance Centre. Supported by the Consulate General of France.

Dir. Pepe Danquart | Germany, France 2013 | Drama | Polish, Yiddish, Hebrew and German with English and Chinese subtitles | 107 mins

A superlative saga of courage and compassion, Run Boy Run tells the extraordinary true story of a Polish boy who seeks the kindness of others in his solitary struggle to outlast the Nazi occupation and to keep alive his Jewish faith.

An unforgettable cinematic experience featuring exceptional performances, arresting cinematography and transcendent musical score, Run Boy Run is directed by Oscar-winner Pepe Danquart and based on the bestselling Holocaust novel by Israeli author Uri Orlev.

 

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Secrets of War  – This film will also be screened in Hong Kong schools and is sponsored by the Hong Kong Holocaust and Tolerance Centre.

Dir. Dennis Bots| Netherlands, France, Germany | 2014 | Family Drama, Adventure | Dutch, English Subtitles | 95 mins
Supported by the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, who are also sponsoring the free goodies and candies from Sim’s Sweets, which will be given out at the screening at the Film Festival.

The friendship between Tuur and Lambert (12) is challenged when Maartje, a Jewish girl in hiding, joins their class and confides only in Tuur who just found out his father is a member of the resistance while Lambert’s father is a Nazi collaborator. Feeling excluded, Lambert tells a seemingly harmless secret…

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Sturgeon Queens  |

Dir. Julie Cohen | USA 2014 | Documentary | English | 54 mins
Supported by the American Consulate General

 

Irresistible portrait of the famed New York Lower East Side lox and herring emporium, Russ And Daughters, 100 years old this year, and embarking on its first in-house diner!

Featuring two of the original daughters for whom the store was named, now 100 and 92 years old, and interviews by prominent enthusiasts including actress Maggie Gyllenhaal and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bade Ginsburg, this is a celebration of New York Jewish cuisine at its tastiest!

PRESS QUOTES

“The quick witted Russ Daughters are sharper than a nova-slicing knife.” Time Out New York

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The Attack  |

Dir. Ziad Doueiri | France, Qatar, Egypt, Belgium and Lebanon 2012 | Drama | Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles | 105 mins

 

Dr. Amin Jaafari (award-winning actor Ali Suliman) is an assimilated Palestinian Israeli surgeon who seems to have it all with a promising career with honors among the Israelis in Tel Aviv.

That all changes after a devastating terrorist suicide bombing and his beloved wife, Siham, is found among the dead as the primary suspect.

Riveting drama with exceptional performances.

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The Green Prince  |

Dir. Nadav Schirman | Israel, Germany, UK  2013 | Documentary | English and Hebrew with English subtitles |
Supported by the American Consulate General
99min 

 

Based on the best-selling book the Son of Hamas, this real-life thriller tells the story of one of Israel’s most prized intelligence sources, the son of a top Hamas leader. Under the code name ‘The Green Prince’, he was recruited to spy on his own people for over a decade.

Focusing on his complex relationship with his handler, this is a gripping account of terror, betrayal, impossible choices and of a friendship that defies all boundaries.

“The Green Prince” is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned)

PRESS QUOTES

“Captivating and emotional. Full of twists and turns”

“Gripping documentary thriller” – NY Times

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The Seder  |

Dir. Justin Kelly | Canada 2011 | Comedy | English | 12 Minutes
Supported by the Consulate General of Canada

 

When openly gay Leo decides to bring his boyfriend Mitchell home for the first time during his family’s Passover Seder, the boundaries of love and understanding get a little strained. To top it all off, Rabbi Solomon is the guest of honour on this most special of occasions. A short comedy with a Jewish twist.

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Transit  |

Dir. Hannah Espia | Phillipines 2013 | Drama | English, Hebrew, Filipino, Tagalog with English and Chinese subtitles | 93 mins

 

Transit was the Filipino entry for the 2014 Best Foreign Film Oscar.

When Moises, a Filipino caregiver comes home to Tel Aviv for his son Joshua’s fourth birthday, his world is turned upside down by the unnerving news that children of foreign workers are at risk of deportation following the passing of a new law.

A thoughtful and moving film that captures both the beauty and dangers of a foreign city as both a place of opportunity and a source of anxiety for immigrants. Director Hannah Espia explores with sensitivity the theme of home and national identity in the globalized world.

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Under the Same Sun  |

Dir. Sameh Zoabi | Israel 2013 | Drama | English, Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles | 84 mins


Supported by the American Consulate General 
 

A utopian fantasy, set in the near future, where an Israeli and a Palestinian businessman introduce solar energy to the West Bank, with glorious results!

Search for Common Ground, a conflict resolution NGO, supported the making of this thought-provoking and imaginative film, which was broadcast simultaneously in Israel and Palestine

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Wakolda (The German Doctor) 

Dir. Lucia Puenzo | Argentina, France, Norway, Spain 2013 | Drama | Spanish, German, Hebrew with English and Chinese subtitles | 93mins


Lucia Puenzo’s striking Wakolda premiered in Cannes ‘Un Certain Regard, 2013′, and was immediately snapped up by the Toronto International Film Festival.

A deeply atmospheric and eerily gripping thriller, set in the stunning landscape of the Patagonian hills in the 1960s, about an innocent family who unknowingly welcomes a Nazi war criminal into their home.

When Nazi-hunting news reports start showing up on the TV, locals start sensing that something is wrong, and that the family, with a pregnant mother and an undersized daughter, is in danger from the guest in their midst that they consider a friend…

 

PRESS QUOTES

“A gently striking and achingly tense drama” Screen Daily

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