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Bart Got A Room

TITLE: Bart Got A Room
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Brian Hecker
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 80 minutes
SOURCE: Cinetic Media, NYC
TEXT: Star William H. Macy. See at Tribeca Film Festival, 2008. Based loosely on the life of the director/writer. A nerdy Jewish high school senior, Danny Stein (Steven J. Kaplan), waits for the last moment to find a senior prom date, and with raging hormones and peer pressure, comedy ensues. His parents are already dating other people as their divorce progresses (Wm Macy wear a Jew Fro). Danny should take his friend to the prom, but starts to fantasize what could happen at the after party if he takes a hottie. As for the title? It comes from the remark that even the school's biggest nerd, Bart, has a date and a hotel room for the after party (during the credits, you find out how Bart made out). Suitable for families (PG rated). Set in a south Florida retirement community.

Fugitive Pieces

TITLE: Fugitive Pieces
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Jeremy Podeswa
COUNTRY: Canada/Greece
LANGUAGE: English, Greek, Yiddish, German
TIME: 104 minutes
SOURCE: FugitivePiecesTheFilm.com
TEXT: Fragments of past and present create a haunting kaleidoscope of words and emotions. Lyrical and complex, Jeremy Podeswa's adaptation of Anne Michael's beloved novel builds into a breathtaking mosaic as fragments of the past and present reveal the inner depths of a writer who can't let go of the ghosts that haunt him. Athos is directing an archaeological dig in Nazi-occupied Poland when he discovers a little boy hiding. After witnessing the massacre of members of his family, seven-year-old Jakob does not know the fate of his beloved sister Bella - a mystery that will haunt him for the rest of his life. As Jakob grows into a man, he becomes progressively more consumed by his family's tragedy and his longing for Bella, coloring his relationships.

Foul Gesture - Tnuah Meguna

TITLE: Foul Gesture - Tnuah Meguna
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Tzahi Grad
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 98 minutes
SOURCE: Tnuah Meguna, Kfar Sirkin, Israel
TEXT: Seen at San Sebastian Film Festival, 2007. Winner of Best Film at Haifa Festival 2007. A revenge drama. Film starts on Holocaust Memorial Day. Michael Kleinhouse awakes to an awful day. His wife flips the finger at a man who crahes into her car and nearly kills her. Michael takes down his license plate and tells the police. The police could not care less, until the realize that the offender is Danny Ben Moshe, also known as Dreyfus the gang leader. The cops tell Michael to forget it, but this nebish turned toughie decides to pay a visit to the gangster's club. Violence begins and each side ratchets it up as the film and the tension increases. The film incorporates the periods of silence that occur during Holocaust Day, Fallen Soldier Day, and Independence Day

AmericanEast

TITLE: AmericanEast
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Hisham Issawi
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: minutes
SOURCE: AmericanEastMovie.com
TEXT: Seen at the Dubai Film Festival in December 2007. Stars Tony Shalhoub as Sam, A Jewish businessman who wants to open a restaurant with Mustafa (Sayed Badreya), a Muslim Arab-American, in Los Angeles against the backdrop of terror alerts and suspicions from the FBI and both men's communities.
"AmericanEast" is a timely, poignant drama about Arab-Americans living in post-9/11 Los Angeles. The story examines long-held misunderstandings about Arabic and Islamic culture, and puts a human face on a segment of the U.S. population whom most Americans know nothing about, but who today are of particular interest to them, either from curiosity or suspicion. The story highlights the pressures under which many Arab-Americans now live by focusing on the points-of-view of three main characters. Mustafa (Sayed Badreya) is a widowed Egyptian immigrant and the owner of Habibe's Café, a popular hang-out for Los Angelenos with Middle Eastern backgrounds. He is devoted to providing his children with a moral upbringing despite the pressures of contemporary American urban life. He also finds himself cast in the role of protector to his unwed sister Salweh, for whom, by family and tribal custom, he is responsible for finding a traditional suitor. But his respect for tradition comes up against his own aspirations to adapt to the American Dream when he decides to open a new restaurant with a Jewish partner - his friend Sam (Tony Shalhoub). This "unholy alliance" is unpopular amongst the habitués of his café and the insular Arab community in which Mustafa resides. It is one of several personal points of tension that gradually build against the backdrop of larger, national events affecting the Arab-American community and lead to the explosive denouement of the story.
Salwah, Mustafa's sister (Sarah Shahi), must also reconcile her traditional values and familial obligations with new American realities. Although she is grateful to Mustafa for bringing her to America when she was young, and allowing her to pursue an education, conflict arises between them when Mustafa insists upon fulfilling his duty of finding her a traditional, arranged-marriage partner from Egypt. The arrival of this arranged suitor, her older cousin Saber (Al Faris), throws her life into turmoil and makes her question her own beliefs and faith. Secretly, she is attracted to an American, Dr. John Westerman (Tim Guinee), a young and attractive non-Muslim...
Mustafa's friend Omar (Kais Nashif) is a struggling actor and Habibi's Cafe regular, a young Egyptian man who supports his dream of becoming a movie star by working as a part-time cab driver for Mustafa's ragged, one-car taxi company. Because of his Middle Eastern looks and accent, however, he is constantly cast in the role of a terrorist in American TV shows that portray only a shallow understanding of Arabs and their culture. When an opportunity for a non-racially-designated role arrives, Omar feels his chance for success -- to be seen as an actor first and not a Muslim -- has finally arrived. It is the break he has been waiting for on many levels: a chance at the financial freedom necessary to marry and support his pregnant American girlfriend Kate (Amanda Detmer), and a chance for him, and his future child, to be embraced as an American, in the same way that he has embraced America. But misunderstandings and prejudices related to his Arabic background conspire against him once again and his opportunity is lost, pushing Omar to make a drastic, unreasoned decision that sets off a chain of events leading to a violent conclusion that affects the lives and conflicts of all the other characters ...

Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman

TITLE: Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Jennifer Fox
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 6 hours
SOURCE: AliveMindMedia.com
TEXT: Documentary. Fox, 45, a self absorbed filmmaker, on the cusp of maturing, deals with her relationship with her Swiss boyfriend, the desire to have a child together using fertility treatments, and interviews her mother, aunt, and nearly 100 year old grandmother. A meditation on sisterhood, motherhood, love, divorce, sex, oppression, abuse, and gender-as-destiny. But wait, I am a man. So if you are a woman, please see this film for yourself. It will be much more poignant for you than it was for me.

You Don't Mess With The Zohan

TITLE: You Don't Mess With The Zohan
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Dennis Dugan
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: minutes
SOURCE: Columbia Pictures releasing
TEXT: Opens June 2008 in USA. This Adam Sandler comedy is many years in the works and various rewrites. At first it was hard to cast, since few Arab comedians wanted to play the Arab roles, so half Jewish/Half Filipino American comedian, Rob Schneider, plays an Islamist terrorist. Co written by Robert Smigel, Adam Sandler and Judd Apatow, the film is about Israeli counter terrorist crime fighter, Zohan Dvir, who saves Israel and fights terrorists, but dreams of cutting hair in NYC. He fights Hamas while eating hummous. He scores a job in NYC with salon owner, Dalia, a Palestinian and potential love interest, and he starts to help her fight off an evil developer. Dalia is played by the French Moroccan actress, Emmanuelle Chriqui, and Zohan's arch nemesis is played by... John Turturro. A fun stereotype filled comedy. Ido Mosseri (an Israeli actor of Egyptian, Polish, Russian heritage) plays Oori, a stereotypical Israei electronic retailer in NYC, who works in a store named "Going Out of Business."

Loins of Punjab

TITLE: Loins of Punjab
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Manish Acharya
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 88 minutes
SOURCE: www.loinsofpunjab.com
TEXT: A ruthless philanthropist. A bhangra rapper. An over-protected prodigy. A reckless actress. A lovelorn businessman. An entrepreneurial yogi. And a Loin King. Enter a roller-coaster world of seven strangers whose lives collide during a singing contest in a small New Jersey town. Over three days, in a small New Jersey town, five Indian-Americans and one Jewish Indophile (Josh Cohen, played by Michael Raimondi) participate in the first DESI IDOL, a Bollywood-style singing contest sponsored by a pork millionaire.These six people are pitted against each other in a singing and dancing extravaganza presided over by the wily contest promoter Sudarsh Bokade, a man with a strong preference for Gipsy Kings music. For seventy-two hours, armed with a song, these seven strangers are going to war. LOINS OF PUNJAB PRESENTS is one of the first films to combine the musical vibrancy of a Bollywood film with a narrative rhythm that emerges from the West - think Monsoon Wedding meets Annie Hall, in a diner in Queens, for a masala omelette. 88 min. English. 35 mm. Dolby Digital 5.1. Colour. Narrative. 2007

Forgiveness

TITLE: Forgiveness
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Udi Aloni
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English ST
TIME: minutes
SOURCE: www.forgivenessthefilm.com
TEXT: On April 9, 1948, a Jewish militia entered the Palestinian village of Deir Yassin and killed over 100 villagers. Soon after, a mental hospital was built on the ruins. The first patients to be committed were Holocaust survivors. A legend says that to this day, the survivors have been communicating with the ghosts of the village. FORGIVENESS (Mechilot) tells the story of David Adler, a 20-year old American-Israeli who decides to move back to Israel, only to find himself committed to a mental institution that sits on the ruins of a Palestinian village called Deir Yassin. Flashbacks and flashforwards reveal the events that led up to his hospitalization. A 10-year old female ghost holds the secret to the riddle. But only when the secret is revealed can she find rest and give David the option to end a perpetually-repeated destiny... Doctor Itzhik Shemesh, a psychiatrist at the mental institute, injects David with a chemo-technological drug in an attempt to build a bridge over the trauma zone and allow David to live a normal life. Even though he doubts its ethical consequences, his use of the drug is an act that mirrors his own deep denial... Doctor Shemesh is given permission to use the drug by David's father, Henry Adler, a Holocaust survivor who spent a short time in Israel before becoming one of the most pre-eminent musicians in America. Henry, who has the arrogance of Oedipus and faith in the rational overcoming of trauma via action, doesn't understand why his son has been hospitalized. But Henry's lust for life and his desire for normality make him live in denial of the past, which is unbearable for David, whose restless soul seeks the truth. Henry will confront a horror beyond all horrors when the truth reveals itself. A blind patient in the hospital named Muselmann, also a Holocaust survivor, tells David to listen to the ghosts that are haunting him, that they have something important to tell him. Like the blind prophet Tiresias, Muselmann knows that the truth does not hold redemption, and this is why he never tried to reconstruct his life after the camps. Because he lives between the world of the dead and the living, Muselmann can act as a conduit between the murdered ghosts and David. The flashbacks and flashforwards from the mental institute reveal, with the story of David's life, the story of the eternal return of the trauma and a destiny that seems unalterable...

Swimming in Auschwitz

TITLE: Swimming in Auschwitz
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Jon Kean / Jon Kean and Michael Berenbaum
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 63 minutes
SOURCE: http://www.swimminginauschwitz.com/ -- Bala Cynwyd Productions
TEXT: Shown at Santa Barbara Film Festival. Documentary focuses on six women in Los Angeles who survived Auschwitz . One of the glaring omissions in the ongoing study of the events of the Holocaust is the experiences of women in the concentration camps. While subject to the same physical conditions as the men, and many of the same physical hardships, the ways in which women convey their memories is a stark contrast to most male testimonies. A strong focus on family and friendship, on faith and spirituality of all kinds become focal points. It is this experience that Swimming in Auschwitz captures. At the outset of the film, we meet six women from throughout Europe (Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Holland) in the years proceeding World War II. As the viewer is granted a glimpse of their "normal" lives, the impact of the expanding Third Reich soon becomes apparent. Schools are closed, laws are changed to exclude Jews and conscription into forced labor camps begins. As all this happened, these women, teenagers at the time, tried to continue with life as they were accustomed. This soon proved impossible for most, as the war started in September of 1939. Jewish life soon became a never ending saga of persecution, ghettoization and an almost futile attempt to maintain normalcy. Through the lives of the six women, we see the impact of the German war effort throughout Europe. Eventually, starting in 1942, these women were herded on to cattle cars and transported through the gates of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Survival in Auschwitz came in stages. The first obstacle was the initial shock. Separated from family after three or more days on a train with no food or water, stripped of clothes, shaved of hair with numbers tattooed on their arms, the first night was often spent outdoors in a forest with the smell of the crematoria in the air. Only one in ten made it to this point. Eventually, the women had to adapt to the food, the living conditions and the labor. If one survived to this point, it was then possible to attempt to shape your survival chances by taking risks and using your wits.
While it is easy to view these events in a simple chronological order, what is more interesting is how these women survived emotionally. The ways in which they sought out "camp families", how they tried to uplift and be uplifted and how they always yearned for a chance to tell the world what was being done to them. Their time in Auschwitz was unique to them, but, together, they tell a universal experience of the camp from a perspective that only a survivor has.
It is often common to think that the survivors' struggles ended the moment they left Auschwitz. This misconception is far from the truth. Many were sent to labor camps throughout Poland and Germany and thousands more were subjected to the notorious death marches. True freedom did not come until May 8th and then only at a steep price. It was not until liberation that the true toll of the Holocaust could be calculated and even then, the fates of most family members remained a haunting mystery.
There is no way to view the Holocaust as anything other than an "absolute evil". Nuance and texture must be stripped from all conversation about the physical acts undertaken by the Third Reich and its "final solution". Their goal was to fully dehumanize and exploit before killing. The women in this film are a living embodiment of the failure of those policies. Try as they might, the Nazis could not kill the spirit that lived within these and thousands of other survivors. This spirit is defiantly shown in the stories of the women from Swimming in Auschwitz.

Waltz with Bashir

TITLE: Waltz with Bashir
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Ari Folman
COUNTRY: Israel - France - Germany
LANGUAGE: Hebrew dialogue English Subtitles
TIME: 87 minutes
SOURCE: WaltzWithBashir.com
TEXT: Award winning animated film. One night at a bar, an old friend tells director Ari Folman about a recurring nightmare in which he is chased by 26 vicious dogs. Every night, the same number of beasts. The two men conclude that there's a connection to their Israeli Army mission in the first Lebanon War of the early eighties. Ari is surprised that he can't remember a thing anymore about that period of his life. Intrigued by this riddle, he decides to meet and interview old friends and comrades around the world. He needs to discover the truth about that time and about himself. As Ari delves deeper and deeper into the mystery, his memory begins to creep up in surreal images ...
The autobiographical protagonist Ari sets out to find old friends and other people who can help him recall the brutal massacre in the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila, which Israeli forces countenanced during their 1982 occupation of West Beirut. The director / protagonist was then a member of the army - will he manage to overcome the trauma and amnesia and remember whether he was a party to one of the darkest chapters of Israeli history? This unconventional film by Ari Folman was one of the most powerful entries in this year's Cannes competition. In this it was aided not only by its realistic, indeed autobiographical basis, but also by its form as an animated documentary. "War is surreal and memory so treacherous that I said I would rather set off down memory lane with a team of animators," explained Folman. In the steps of Persepolis, this is another animated film about recent history in the Near East - and every bit as absorbing, moving and horrific.
Ari Folman (b. 1962, Haifa, Israel) completed his military service in the mid-80s and hit the road. When he returned he studied film, and debuted with the feature-length documentary Comfortably Numb (1991), and now makes documentary and feature series for television. His first feature film Saint Clara (Clara Hakadusha, 1996) This was followed by the film Made in Israel (2001). Waltz with Bashir is his third feature film, and was screened to great acclaim in competition at Cannes 2008. Ari Folman is also a member of the Grand Jury at this year's Karlovy Vary Film Festival.

Citizen Nawi

TITLE: Citizen Nawi
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Nissim Mossek
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew and Arabic w/ English ST
TIME: 84 minutes
SOURCE: CitizenNawi.com
TEXT: Documentary. Citizen Nawi, the story of political and social activist Ezra Nawi, took director Nissim Mossek and producer Sharon Schaveet five grueling years to make. Produced by Biblical Productions, this dynamic and gripping film follows two intertwined story lines: the daily hardships faced by the Palestinians in the South Hebron Hills and the intriguing personal life of Nawi. Ezra's life consists of challenges, dangers and pursuit of an ideal. He is constantly clashing with the army, police, and in particular with the militant settlers who harass the Palestinian farmers Ezra works to protect. The film accompanies Ezra to Tuwane, a small village of stone caves and a few scattered buildings situated on the hills overlooking South Hebron. Here Ezra initiates projects to provide the villagers with essential amenities such as a health clinic, and tries to protect them from settlers and military bulldozers alike. The film also tracks the trying three-year relationship between Ezra and his Palestinian partner, Fuad Mussa. It follows Fuad through his never-ending cycle in and out of prison, and the film touches on the complex loving relationship between Ezra Nawi and his mother, whose eternal wish is to see Ezra provide her with grandchildren. The film, produced with the support of the Rabinovich Foundation, premiered at the Jerusalem film festival in July 2007 and was awarded a special mention by the jury. Citizen Nawi cannot be shown on Israeli television because of the potential harm it might cause to the lives of several homosexuals appearing in the film who belong to communities in which homosexuality is not accepted.

Holy Land Hardball

TITLE: Holy Land Hardball
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Brett Rapkin and Erik Kesten
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 84 minutes
SOURCE: HolyLandHardball.com
TEXT: Documentary. Silverdocs 2008 When Boston baker Larry Baras wanted to create a professional baseball league in Israel, his idea was met with incredulity, dismissal, and even hostility. He attempted it anyway. With extraordinary access, HOLY LAND HARDBALL follows the unlikely formation of the Israel Baseball League, the first ever professional baseball circuit in the Middle East. In classic cinema-verite form, the film chronicles the highly unpredictable journey from the first player tryouts in Massachusetts in August 2006 through the league's scheduled first pitch in Israel in June 2007. In its efforts to bring America's pastime to the Israeli people, the IBL opens the door to the dreams of 120 very diverse ballplayers. Among them, a 41-year-old father of three with a Peter Pan complex and a wife struggling with her husband's obsession with the game; a 27-year-old aspiring writer/artist/musician still finding himself after the disappointment of not being drafted out of college; a 34-year-old father-to-be whose own father, now deceased, fought for Israel's independence in 1948; and a 22-year-old African-American who was told by a preacher at a young age he would one day "play in front of God's people." But in order to pull off this daring quest, Baras and his recruits have the challenging task of drawing the Israeli people to the entirely unfamiliar and confusing game of baseball after 5,767 years without the sport. Add a skeptical Israeli media, disgruntled players, delayed stadium preparations, customs snafus, and a rapidly approaching Opening Day and the question Baras is left with is: If I build it, will they come?

Waiting for Godik

TITLE: Waiting for Godik
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Ari Davidovich
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English ST
TIME: 60 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at IsraelFilmFestival.com
TEXT: Nominated for the 2007 Jerusalem Film Festival's Best Documentary award, this intimate look at the rise and fall of legendary producer and impresario Giora Godik examines the Israeli King of Musicals' quest to bring the American dream to Tel Aviv. That vision ended when Godik unexpectedly fled to Germany on the eve of his last premiere and ended up selling hotdogs for a living at the central railway station in Frankfurt. The film glimpses into the gap between glittering lights and a life in the shadows, bringing to life the story of a man who believed that life was a musical. STARRING: Shlomo Bar-Shavit, Haim Hefer, Joel Silberg, Yehoram Gaon, Tiki Dayan, Meni Peer, Zeev Godik, Edith Godik, Yafa Yarkoni, Dan Almagor, Rivak Raz, Moti Giladi, Emma Godik

Out of Focus

TITLE: Out of Focus
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Tomer Heymann
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 52 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at IsraelFilmFestival.com in Fall 2008
TEXT: Like his other documentaries, the director is part of the film. The director Tomer Heymann follows the creative work process of the choreographer Ohad Naharin (Bat Sheva Dance Company). For the first time Naharin agrees for his creative work process to be observed and documented. The film follows Naharin's work with the dancers of the modern dance company Cedar Lake at their studio in New York. During the shooting we are exposed to Naharin's complex character and his ideological objection to the documentation of his work. The film is the result of the unique encounter between cinema and dance.

The Galilee Eskimos

TITLE: The Galilee Eskimos
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Jonathan Paz / Eskimoseem Bagalil
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 99 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at IsraelFilmFestival.com in Fall 2008
TEXT: An old kibbutz tucked in the Hills of Galilee plunges into bankruptcy. Men, women and children abandon their homes, leaving behind a desolate scene except for a dozen residents of an old-folk's home on the property who discover they have been deserted and are left to fend for themselves. The largest creditor, a bank, closes a deal with a contractor who arrives at the kibbutz and is astonished to discover that the senior citizens were left behind. The group initially sinks into deep depression, feeling betrayed by their relatives and society, but organizes in hopes of rebuilding the kibbutz. STARRING: Mosco Alcalay, Gabi Amrani, Levana Finkelstein

Altalena

TITLE: Altalena
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Eli Cohen
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 77 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at IsraelFilmFestival.com in Fall 2008
TEXT: Eli Cohen (Aviya's Summer, Under the Domim Tree, The Quarrel) presents a dramatized version of the tragedy of the ship "Altalena," in which 960 new immigrants, most of them Holocausts survivors, were caught in the middle of a conflict that most could not even believe possible. The film deals with the uncompromising struggle between David Ben Gurion and Menachem Begin, over the distribution of weapons, the disbandment of the paramilitary organizations, and the character of opposition in a democratic state. Had it not been for this rivalry, perhaps the tragic end of the episode could have been avoided. STARRING: Yossy Kantz, Yoram Hattab, Sharon Alexander, Dvir Bendekt, Jolia Levi Boeken, Micha Selektar

The Debt

TITLE: The Debt
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Assaf Bernstein
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 93 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at IsraelFilmFestival.com in Fall 2008
TEXT: Nominated for four Israeli Academy Awards, The Debt is a spellbinding, cat-and-mouse espionage thriller set in Israel in the mid-1990s. Rachel is a retired Mossad agent whose recently published memoirs boasted how she helped capture a monstrous Nazi war criminal known as the "Surgeon of Birkenau." But complications ensued, the prisoner never went on trial and a story was fabricated about him committing suicide. More than 30 years later, a frail, perhaps delusional, man in a nursing home in the Ukraine claims to be the surgeon, and Rachel, long considered a national hero, has some unfinished business. The film was nominated for four awards at the Israel Film Academy, including Best Supporting Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction and Best Costumes. STARRING: Gila Almagor, Neta Gerti, Oded Teomi Nominated for 4 Israeli Academy Awards including: Best Cinematography, Best Supporting Actress, Best Art Direction and Best Costumes.

The Secrets

TITLE: The Secrets
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Avi Nesher
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 120 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at IsraelFilmFestival.com in Fall 2008
TEXT: The Secrets presents the complexities of a religious lifestyle within the context of youth, rebellion and desire. Naomi postpones marriage to the prodigy of her ultra orthodox rabbi father to study at a Jewish seminary for women in the ancient Kabalistic seat of Safed following her mother's death. Her quest for individuality takes a defiant turn when she befriends Michelle, a free-spirited but headstrong fellow student. Their unlikely alliance is jeopardized by a mysterious older woman named Anouk, a terminally ill tortured soul shunned by the community for her crime of passion. Together, they attempt to purge her sins through a series of secret rituals. The film was nominated for eight Awards of the Israeli Film Academy, including Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Art Direction, Best Costumes, Best Editing, Best Music and Best Sound. STARRING: Fanny Ardant, Ania Bokstein, Michal Shtamler, Adir Miller. Official Selection - Toronto International Film Festival

Father's Footsteps

TITLE: Father's Footsteps
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Marco Carmel
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 95 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at IsraelFilmFestival.com in Fall 2008
TEXT: In the early 70s, Felix and Mireille and their children Eric and Michel move from Israel to the working-class Parisian neighborhood of Belleville. The family has barely settled in when Felix meets Serge, a local gang leader. Serge leads Felix down the path of organized crime, until his arrest when Felix decides to step into Serge's shoes as the leader of the gang. The shame is too much for Mireille to bear so she tells the children their father has gone back to Israel to join the army. But tensions between rival gangs and the discovery of the truth about his father lead Michel to experiment with violence and follow in his father's footsteps. Its up to Mireille to find the strength to hold her family together and protect them from themselves. STARRING: Jules Angelo Bigarnet, Richard Berry, Gad Elmaleh, Yael Abecassis

The Little Traitor

TITLE: The Little Traitor
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Lynn Roth
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 83 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at IsraelFilmFestival.com in Fall 2008
TEXT: Set in 1947, based on the novel, Panther in the Basement, by world-renowned novelist, Amos Oz, this beautiful story of an implausible friendship between an amiable British soldier and a spirited, 11-year-old Israeli militant who wants the occupying imperialists off his land takes place just a few months before Israel achieves independent statehood. When Proffy Liebowitz meets British officer Sergeant Dunlop, he's reprimanded for roaming the streets after dark and breaking curfew. They later become friends, but town officials soon learn of their secret and accuse the boy of being a traitor. The ensuing events will forever change their respective outlook on life. STARRING: Alfred Molina, Ido Port, Theodore Bikel. The Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival

Lost Islands

TITLE: Lost Islands
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Reshef Levy
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 103 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at IsraelFilmFestival.com in Fall 2008
TEXT: The biggest Box Office success in Israel in 2008, this autobiographic drama set in the 1980s centers around the Levis, a large family with a unique lifestyle. Mr. Levi lectures his children daily on the importance of fulfilling their dreams, while his wife preaches absolute family loyalty. When twin brothers, Erez and Ofer, fall in love with the same girl, they must choose between family loyalty and love. Neither boy finds comfort in their self-inflicted situations and later learns one must pursue his heart's desire without taking his family into account. STARRING: Michael Moshonov, Oshri Cohen, Ofer Schechter, Yuval Scharf, Shmil Ben Ari, Orly Silbersatz, Pini Tavger, Guy Kresner, Asaf Cohen, Michal Levi, Michael Alony Winner of 4 Israeli Academy Film Awards 2008, including Best Actor & Best Supporting Actor

Eli & Ben

TITLE: Eli & Ben
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Ori Ravid
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 89 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at IsraelFilmFestival.com in Fall 2008
TEXT: Eli is 12-years-old and his world is turned upside down when his father, the City Architect of Herzliya, is charged with taking bribes. His father is taken into custody right before Eli's eyes and the news makes its way into the newspaper and the school ground alike. Eli is convinced that his father is innocent. He intends to draw on the full reserves of his innocence and mischief to see to it that his father is released. But the path will not be easy. Eli will face injustice, corruption and pretense, among both adults and children. He will have to shape his own principles and stick to them. In the process he will re-discover his father and taste the bitter sting of first love. STARRING: Lior Asheknazi, Yuval Shevah, Tzahi Grad, Nissan Nativ, Yael Hadar, Mili Eshet, Eliran Or-Hen, Adam Keneth, Sigalit Fox. Shimeon Mimran, Asher Tzarfati, Shemuel Edelman

Children of the Sun

TITLE: Children of the Sun
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Ran Tal
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 70 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at IsraelFilmFestival.com in Fall 2008
TEXT: Documentary. Winner of the 2007 Jerusalem International Film Festival's Best Documentary Award, Children of the Sun is an unconventional history of the kibbutz movement that inspired so many of the original settlers in the Holy Land. What was it like to grow up driven by such strong idealism? What was the impact of living in quarters where children were raised together largely separate from their parents? Director Ran Tal, who himself grew up on a kibbutz, turns to other members of his generation, using their words and home movies to reveal a thoroughly fascinating, conflicted and authentic portrait of a disappearing world. First prize - Jerusalem Film Festival 2007, Preservation of Audio-Visual Memory Award JFF 2007; editing prize.

Homeland

TITLE: Homeland
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Dani Rosenberg
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 40 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at IsraelFilmFestival.com in Fall 2008
TEXT: Lolek, a young Holocaust survivor who has been given a new identity, arrives in Israel and is left in the middle of the desert during a war in 1948. He is assigned to an isolated post under a brutal commander and the burning sun. A stranger to the language and afflicted by homesickness and the heat, he sets out to look for some shade. STARRING: Itay Tiran, Miki Leon, Oren Dolphin, Natasha Manor

Out of the Blue

TITLE: Out of the Blue
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Igal Burstyn
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 92 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at IsraelFilmFestival.com in Fall 2008
TEXT: Shabtia and Herzel drive through the streets of Tel Aviv buying and selling used furniture and trash. Now and again, Shabtai takes a nap and in his dreams a seductive and passionate red-haired woman makes love to him. One day, Shabtai discovers her photograph in a face-cream advertisement and realizes that the woman of his dreams really exists. He sets out to find her. But it is Herzel who first wins her attention and then her heart. Herzel, however, loves Batya.... A comedy about abortive loves and about a friendship which survives them. STARRING: Alon Aboutboul, Moshe Ivgy, Dorit Bar-Or, Zehavit Passi, Nir Levi, Liat Goren

Restless

TITLE: Restless
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Amos Kollek
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 90 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at IsraelFilmFestival.com in Fall 2008
TEXT: Moshe's life seems to have hit rock bottom. His many small business ventures are going under. He can't even afford to pay rent on his disheveled basement apartment. 20 years ago Moshe was a moderately successful poet in Israel, but never got the recognition he felt he deserved. When his son was born, his feelings of entrapment and disappointment prevailed. He left for New York to seek his fortune and never looked back. Tzach is a handsome young man, serving as a soldier in an elite unit of the Israeli army. Tzach lives on the edge, risking his life in every possible way, as though trying to ease some internal wound. After his mother's death, Tzach finds his father's address among some papers, and decides to contact him, unleashing years of pent up anger and resentment. The contact with Tzach changes Moshes life, and his carefully constructed world of denial begins to crumble. STARRING: Moshe Ivgy, Ran Danker, Karen Young, Phyllis Somerville

Wind Chimes (Student film)

TITLE: Wind Chimes (Student film)
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Orr Sav Schulman
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 19 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at IsraelFilmFestival.com in Fall 2008
TEXT: Wind Chimes (The Sam Spiegel Film & T.V. School Jerusalem) 19min Orit gets a desperate phone call from her daughter Lea, threatening to commit suicide. Together with her husband they drive to see if this time it is for real. STARRING: Leora Rivlin, Shlomo Vishinsky, Keren Berger, Moshe Folkenflick

Roads (student film)

TITLE: Roads
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Lior Geller
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 22 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at IsraelFilmFestival.com in Fall 2008
TEXT: Roads (Tel Aviv University- Film and Television Dept.) 13-year-old Ismayil searches for a new life for him and his younger brother, outside the Arab drug slums of the city of Lod. Daniel, a traumatized Israeli ex-soldier, often buys drugs from Ismayil trying to escape his own reality. Here, deep in the sewers of Israeli society, they just might find in each other their way out. STARRING: Waseem Nur Habshi, Daniel Chernish, Mahmud Mura, Osama Rabaya, Haled Mayer Marwat. Gole Sangam premiered at the Docaviv, and participated in the International women's film festival, Women and religion film festival in Jerusalem and Wisconsin Film Festival

Mapping (student film)

TITLE: Mapping
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Asaf Saban
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 15 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at IsraelFilmFestival.com in Fall 2008
TEXT: Mapping (Hamidrasha Biat - Berl College) Two surveyor workers, working during Memorial Day on the construction of the separation wall, unaware of the different segments of Israel's absurd reality surrounding them. The Memorial Day siren burst through a country, where the past is always at presence. STARRING: Yusef Abu-Warda, Ami Weinberg July 2007 - Cine Fiesta 2007, Puerto Rico; November 2007 - 9.up-and-coming Int. Film Festival, Hannover, Germany; February 2008 - Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, France April 2008 - International Frontera Film Fest, Mexico; May 2008 - Seattle International Film Festival, USA; May 2008 - The 6th Red Sea International Film Festival, Eilat Israel June 2008 - Short Film Festival Hamburg, Germany; June 2008 - IN THE PALACE - International Short Film Festival, Sofia, Bulgaria

Ben-Gurion Remembers

TITLE: Ben-Gurion Remembers
YEAR: 1973
DIR/PROD: Simon Hasera
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 85 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at IsraelFilmFestival.com in Fall 2008
TEXT: Coinciding with Israeli's 25th anniversary and the Yom Kippur War, this a warm and personal portrait of a man not known for his congeniality pays tribute to David Ben-Gurion, an ardent Zionist who played an instrumental role in the Jewish state's creation and was its first prime minister. The film, directed by Simon Hesers, includes interviews with Ben-Gurion, Golda Meir, Abba Eban and Moshe Dayan, as well as footage showing Ben-Gurion with U.S. Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Harry Truman, and French leader Charles de Gaulle. The film's original poster: "...How a 5000-year-old promise from God became a 25-year-old nation."

Praying in Her Own Voice

TITLE: Praying in Her Own Voice
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Yael Katzir
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 60 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at IsraelFilmFestival.com in Fall 2008
TEXT: The new documentary Praying in her own Voice is a thought provoking powerful piece about Feminism and Judaism . It depicts the struggle of the Women of the Wall in the last few years for the right to pray like men do at the Western Wall. It includes commentary from some of the top women rabbis in LA: Rabbi Laura Geller, Rabbi Naomi Levy , Rabbi Sharon Brous, Rabbi Denise Eger , Rabbi Lisa Edwards and Rabbi Lynn Brody. Executive Producers Dan Katzir and Ravit Markus. The film was directed by award winning director Yael Katzir and is an hour long, Hebrew and English, with English sub-titles.

The Quest for the Missing Piece

TITLE: The Quest for the Missing Piece
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Oded Lotan
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 52 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at IsraelFilmFestival.com in Fall 2008
TEXT: Oded Lotan, a young Jewish gay man living in Tel Aviv with his German partner, pieces together the story of his own bris while reflecting on the complex role his sexuality and time abroad has played in shaping his Israeli identity. Presented as a gently humorous fairy tale bridging the gap between tradition and modernity, the film sheds light on feelings toward the male-circumcision ritual, fear of exclusion and the need to belong. Aided by wonderful animated sequences, Lotan negotiates an emotive topic with considerable wit and panache, proving to be an endearing presence and filmmaking talent to watch. DocAviv Israel 2007, Montreal IFF 2007, Tallinn Black Nights Estonia 2007, AFI Los Angeles 2007, UK JIFF 2007, Leeds IFF 2007, Palm Springs IFF 2008

Srugim

TITLE: Srugim
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Eliezer Shapiro
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: minutes
SOURCE: Seen at IsraelFilmFestival.com in Fall 2008
TEXT: Jerusalem provides the same services and attractions for religious singles that Tel Aviv provides for secular ones. A university, entertainment centers, (kosher) restaurants, and cultural institutions. In the Rehavia, Katamon, Nachlaot neighborhoods and the German Colony, the "Jerusalem Swamp" came into existence: a new social class of single men and women in their thirties, a large number of whom are very well educated and intelligent who do not find their place within the existing religious frameworks. They live in rented apartments scattered throughout the city. Some of these young persons are students and others already have prestigious jobs. Almost all of them are seeking love and an escape from the situation in which they have been entrapped - a temporary waiting period ("until marriage") which has turned into a permanent situation. Many of the single religious people feel that the traditions and religious law upon which they were raised and still observe did not prepare them to deal with the situation of adults who are not married and which do not provide solutions to the problems that they confront. Many allow themselves to take exceptions and cut corners, particularly in those areas concerning the relationships between men and women. Every Sabbath the single men and women gather in certain synagogues and eat together with friends in rented apartments that are all similar to each other. Every Friday night, young people can be seen walking through the streets carrying bags: the women bringing salad or pudding, and the men with bottles of wine or soda. This new and alternative family provides those things that the traditional home is no longer able to bestow. Once each month they go home to their parents, absorb some of their parents' despair and some of the pity of the neighbors and then they rush back to Jerusalem and promise themselves that they won't go home anymore - until the next time. This is the background of the series " Knitted." (named for the knitted skullcaps worn by it's characters) This is a light drama that uses the extreme situations in which those in the "Swamp" find themselves in their attempts to find a mate and to live normal lives within the tight constraints that religion and tradition place upon them. The series creates strong identity with the characters who, after all, seek what everyone seeks - warmth and love. The writers of the series are a group of young people who actually live or have lived in the "Jerusalem Swamp." They are intimately acquainted with the characters that they created. They write about experiences that they or their friends have undergone. This provides deep emotional truth in the most extreme comic and dramatic moments of the scenario. STARRING: Yael Sharoni, Tali Sharon, Sharon Fauster, Ohad Knoler, Amos Tama, Zohar Straus

The Debt

TITLE: The Debt
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Assaf Bernstein
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 93 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at IsraelFilmFestival.com in Fall 2008
TEXT: Nominated for four Israeli Academy Awards, The Debt is a spellbinding, cat-and-mouse espionage thriller set in Israel in the mid-1990s. Rachel is a retired Mossad agent whose recently published memoirs boasted how she helped capture a monstrous Nazi war criminal known as the "Surgeon of Birkenau." But complications ensued, the prisoner never went on trial and a story was fabricated about him committing suicide. More than 30 years later, a frail, perhaps delusional, man in a nursing home in the Ukraine claims to be the surgeon, and Rachel, long considered a national hero, has some unfinished business. The film was nominated for four awards at the Israel Film Academy, including Best Supporting Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction and Best Costumes. STARRING: Gila Almagor, Neta Gerti, Oded Teomi Nominated for 4 Israeli Academy Awards including: Best Cinematography, Best Supporting Actress, Best Art Direction and Best Costumes

You Never Know

TITLE: You Never Know
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Boaz Shahak
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 63 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at IsraelFilmFestival.com in Fall 2008
TEXT: Shlomo Carlebach was a brilliant young torah scholar sent by the Lubavitcher rebbe to deliver the good word from scripture to hippies in the San Francisco Bay Area for whom he once performed on guitar and vocals at a festival in 1966 wedged between Pete Seeger and the Jefferson Airplane. When his love for flower power crossed the boundaries of Jewish law, the Orthodox establishment shunned him. Carlebach, who once boasted about having composed 4,000 original melodies, died penniless 13 years ago. But his music still fills concert halls and his followers live in nearly every Jewish community. Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival, 2007

Dancing Alfonso

TITLE: Dancing Alfonso
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Barak Heymann
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 50 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at IsraelFilmFestival.com in Fall 2008
TEXT: Alfonso is the lead dancer in a flamenco troupe, which rehearses in a Tel Aviv suburb. The average age of the group-members is over 75. After the death of his wife, he begins to obsessively court Sima, a dancer with the troupe, to the displeasure of his children, who are unwilling to accept the fact that their father might be interested in another woman. Soon after the big performance of the troupe in the Tel-Aviv dance center, we find Alfonso starting his search for a new woman, after having broken up with Sima. The film "Dancing Alfonso" provides its viewers with a novel and unfamiliar portrait of the inner world of older people, and with a fresh look at our endless, but ever hopeful, search for someone to love. \

Bridge Over the Wadi

TITLE: Bridge Over the Wadi
YEAR: 2006
DIR/PROD: Tomer Heymann and Barak Heymann
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 55 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at IsraelFilmFestival.com in Fall 2008
TEXT: For the first time in Israel, a group of Arab and Jewish parents decide to establish a conjoint bi-national, bi-lingual school inside an Arab village. The film follows the school's first year and portrays through the personal stories of its characters, how complicated and fragile is the attempt to create an environment of co-existence against the backdrop of the complicated reality around.

Ben's Mom (student film)

TITLE: Ben's Mom (student film)
YEAR: 2003
DIR/PROD: Omer Yefman
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 26 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at IsraelFilmFestival.com in Fall 2008
TEXT: Ben's Mom (Tel Hai Communication Center for Cinema) 26min It is Sunday morning and Miri wakes her son, a soldier, to yet another lengthy period, serving in the northern border. The radio announces of casualties in an armed conflict and Miri says goodbye to her son with a heavy heart... Until this morning, Miri believed herself to be a level-headed, responsible woman who always knows the right thing to do. Until this morning... The Jewish Film Festival in Viena 2003; The Doc Aviv International film festival in Tel-Aviv 2003

Ride (student film)

TITLE: Ride (student film)
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Lior Segev, Lior (Kipod) Segev
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 15 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at IsraelFilmFestival.com in Fall 2008
TEXT: Ride (Sapir Academic College) A Dark road in the south, One Ride, Two lonely men In the line between light to darkness. A broken intimacy. STARRING: Dvir Bendek, Michael Moshonov . Cinema South Festival, Netivot, Israel - Best Film award 07; The Wolgin Award Short Films contest, Jerusalem Film Festival, Israel 07

Full of Life (student film)

TITLE: Full of Life (student film)
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Tamar Ben Baruch
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 15 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at IsraelFilmFestival.com in Fall 2008
TEXT: Full of Life (Ma'ale School of Television, Film & Arts) Twelve-year-old Roni is sent by her mother to a weight-loss summer camp for fat children - the "Full of Life" camp. Roni, who is angry and rebellious, would normally find solace in the swimming pool, but the camp shares its pool with a professional children's swim team, and Roni is ashamed to get in the water. Here Roni meets the team champion Yotam, who hates swimming but has no choice but to compete. A gentle bond is formed between the children which gives Roni the confidence to come to terms with her weight.

The True Story of Palestine

TITLE: The True Story of Palestine
YEAR: 1962
DIR/PROD: Joel Silberg
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 80 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at IsraelFilmFestival.com in Fall 2008
TEXT: The True Story of Palestine features the work of numerous Israeli-entertainment legends, with excerpts from hundreds of hours of film shot by Nathan Axelrod, a pioneer of Israeli cinema who documents the building of a Jewish state in Palestine. Joel Silberg and Uri Zohar shape this material into an 80-minute film, with Haim Hefer's narration read by Haim Topol.

I'm A Civil War

TITLE: I'm A Civil War
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Omri Lior
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 45 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at IsraelFilmFestival.com in Fall 2008
TEXT: This 45-minute documentary depicts the extraordinary life and work of Israel Prize winner Chaim Guori as a reflection of Israel's history. Born in 1923, the 84-year-old Tel Aviv native made his mark as an author, journalist and filmmaker whose first book, "Flowers of Fire," was published in 1949 when he still was a soldier. Guori, who takes a critical look at the political and social reality of his beloved homeland, mourns from the northern border next to Mettula that "everything has changed and the feeling of hatred and being under siege continues and the land continues to bleed."

Sons of Sakhnin United

TITLE: Sons of Sakhnin United
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Christophe Browne
COUNTRY: USA/Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 84 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at The Other Israel Film Festival in NYC in Fall 2008
TEXT: In this insightful and exciting documentary, the small Arab town of Sakhnin has been united by sport, and Jews and Arabs strive for a common goal. Beating the odds in a quixotic quest for Israel's State Soccer Cup, the multi-ethnic and religious soccer team of Sakhnin battles to maintain their "premiere" league status. 2007 Tribeca Film Festival
SOME ADDITIONAL ISRAEL ORIENTED SHORTS

6.5 Minutes in Tel Aviv
Director: Mirey brantz
Lovers parting, families traveling, businessmen commuting - a Tel-Aviv bus is the setting for an unexpected confrontation brought on by fear and panic.
Best of Festival Award & Best Student Live Action Award, 2008 Palm Springs International ShortFest


Ajameion
Directors: Ziad Bakri, Alex Bakri
Two young Arab men strung into the frustrating reality of the impoverished Jaffa, go onto a prolonged journey for a very basic need - the essential yearning for nothing but a cigarette.


Shades of Light
Director: Maysaloun Hamoud
Laila keeps her talent and aspiration a secret from Ziad, her traditional, hard-working husband. The film follows the couple on the day her secret unveils.


Power
Director: Ayelet Bechar
In the Bedouin Village of Arab El Sawaed in the north of Israel, there are homes built and roads paved by the people themselves but no basic services such as electricity or running water.


Roads
Director: Lior Geller
13-year-old Ismayil searches for a new life for him and his brother outside the Arab drug slums of Lod. Daniel, a traumatized Israeli ex-soldier, buys drugs from Ismayil, escaping his own reality. Here, deep in the sewers of Israeli society, they just might find in each other their way out.
Best short, 2008 Tribeca Film Festival



Arab Labor

TITLE: Arab Labor
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Roni Ninio
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 80 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at The Other Israel Film Festival in NYC in Fall 2008
TEXT: After its successful world premiere at The Other Israel Film Festival last year, Arab Labor is back in the festival with NEW EPISODES, humorously exploring the daily conflicts that Arabs face when interacting with Israeli Jewish society. The series, created and written by Sayed Kashua, follows Amjad, a 35-year-old Arab journalist and his escapades while working for a Jewish newspaper. Best TV Drama Series, 2008 Jerusalem International Film Festival

The Heart of Jenin

TITLE: The Heart of Jenin
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Leon Geller & Marcus Vetter
COUNTRY: Germany
LANGUAGE: English ST
TIME: 89 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at The Other Israel Film Festival in NYC in Fall 2008
TEXT: In November 2005, Ahmed Khatib, a twelve-year-old Palestinian boy from the Jenin refugee camp, was accidentally killed by an Israeli soldier. Despite his grief, the boy's father Ismael consented to donate his son's organs to several Israeli children. Thanks to this act of humanity, four of those children, each from a different part of Israeli society, are alive today. The Heart of Jenin explores the legacy of Ismael's decision during the two years following his son's death.
In 2005, at the age of twelve and living in the Jenin refuge camps, Ahmed Khatib is killed when an Israeli soldier mistakes his toy gun for a real weapon. Ahmed's father Ismael is then faced with the choice of donating his son's organs for the benefit of other sick children. After consulting the head of the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades and obtaining the blessing of his Imam, Ismael Khatib agrees to the organ donation. What has made this choice so controversial is that while Ahmed was an Arab those who will receive his organs may be Jewish. The filmmakers follow three of the six people who ultimately received Ahmed's life saving gift, among them are Menuha, an Orthodox Jewish girl in Jerusalem, Samah, a young Druze girl and Mohammad, a Bedouin boy in the Negev desert. The remarkable portrait of Ismael Khatib that arises as he travels to see each of these children is both poetic and enlightening and his commitment to seek peace even after the violent death of his son is an inspiration to all.
After such a long conflict between Israel and Palestine, it takes an extraordinary story to jolt us out of accepting the status quo. The Heart of Jenin tells such a story. In November 2005, Ahmed Khatib, a twelve-year-old Palestinian boy, was playing with a plastic gun in the Jenin refugee camp on the West Bank when an Israeli soldier, mistaking the toy for a weapon, shot and killed him. Despite his grief, the boy's father Ismael consented to donate his son's organs to several Israeli children. Thanks to this act of humanity, four of those children, each from a different part of Israeli society, are alive today.
The Heart of Jenin explores the legacy of Ismael's decision during the two years following his son's death. We meet three of the young recipients of Ahmed's organs: Samah, a Druze girl in northern Israel, near the border of Lebanon; Mohammad, a Bedouin boy in the Negev desert; and Menuha, an Orthodox Jewish girl in Jerusalem. At the centre of the story is the compelling figure of Ismael Khatib. Having lived his whole life under occupation, he joined the resistance during the first Intifada and spent time in an Israeli prison. He later gave up fighting to focus on his family, but has lost two businesses to the conflict. The existing Israeli checkpoints make it difficult to visit his cousin, who lives only ten minutes away.
Directors Leon Geller and Marcus Vetter bring diverse backgrounds to the project. Geller lives in Israel, while Vetter is based in Germany, and has an unusual background that he explored in the autobiographical documentary My Father the Turk. With great sensitivity, they explore the complexities and the sorrow that persist on each side of the wall dividing Israel and the West Bank. In spite of all these troubles and the death of his son, Ismael maintains a willingness to seek peace through his own means. His journey is a triumph of the heart.
Leon Geller was born in New Jersey and moved to Israel, where he studied film at Tel-Aviv University. His graduate short film earned him an Academy Award(r) nomination. He has directed various short documentaries for Israeli television, as well as the short film Roads (07). Heart of Jenin (08, co-director) is his debut feature documentary. Marcus Vetter was born in Stutt-gart, and studied economics and media theory and practice at the University of Tübingen. He works as a television editor, producer and director, and his filmography includes the feature documentaries Wargames (02), My Father the Turk (06, co-director), Die Unterzerbrechlichen (06, co-director), Traders' Dreams - the eBay World (07, co-director) and The Heart of Jenin (08, co-director).

Lady Kul el-Arab

TITLE: Lady Kul el-Arab
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Ibtisam Mara'ana / Barak Heymann, Timna Goldstein-Hattav
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 56 minutes
SOURCE: Heymann Brothers Films, Tel Aviv .
TEXT: Seen at The Other Israel Film Festival in NYC in Fall 2008. Angelina, the first Druze woman to attempt significant steps in the Israeli fashion world, finds herself in the middle of a societal conflict when the tradition and values of her village clash with her aspirations to be the first Druze Miss Israel. Her brave choices put her life and dreams in danger as she attempts to defy her community's ways. IDFA, Amsterdam Documentary Film Festival 2008, Bangkok Int'l Film Festival 2008, Jerusalem Int'l Film Festival, The Wolgin Awards Competition 2008
Duah Fares, a young woman from the Druze village of Sagur in the Galilee, was one of the 12 finalists in the beauty pageant for Israeli-Arab women - 'Lady Kul el-Arab.' While preparing for the pageant, a special relationship develops between Duah and fashion designer Jack Yaakub. Together they go to Tel Aviv in order to register Duah for the general Israeli beauty contest as well. Duah breezes through the primary selections for the general Israeli contest and changes her name to Angelina. She now feels close to her dream of becoming the Israeli beauty queen with its promise of an international modeling career. However, the situation quickly deteriorates and what was one teenager's dream becomes a nightmare for an entire society. Angelina, the first Druze woman to attempt significant steps in the Israeli fashion world, finds herself in the middle of a complicated conflict in which the tradition and values of her society clash with her brave efforts to choose her own way in life. Lady Kul el-Arab which set out as a glamorous film about a beauty pageant, turned into a moving story of a family caught between cultures. In her fifth film, director Ibtisam Mara'ana succeeds in delicately drawing the dramatic and touching portrait of a young lady who finds herself at the heart of a struggle which fascinates the whole country.

Desert Brides

TITLE: Desert Brides
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Ada Ushpiz
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 90 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at The Other Israel Film Festival in NYC in Fall 2008
TEXT: This is the story of three relatively educated and independent women, trying to survive, in their own way, a life of polygamy. The family tragedies presented in this film highlight the strength and survival of social structures and their injustices, leaning usually on the victims' partial cooperation. Best Film, 2008 DocAviv

Just Married

TITLE: Just Married
YEAR: 2006
DIR/PROD: Ayelet Bechar
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 70 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at The Other Israel Film Festival in NYC in Fall 2008
TEXT: The Israeli Citizenship Law states that residents of the Palestinian Authority may not enter Israel, even if married to Israeli citizens. Just Married is the story of two Palestinian couples who decide to marry knowing that it will be impossible for them to live together in Israel.

Fog

TITLE: Fog
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Rafik Halabi
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 57 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at The Other Israel Film Festival in NYC in Fall 2008
TEXT: A fascinating story of bereavement, mysticism and reincarnation, Fog follows the quest to unravel the fate of the missing soldier, First Sergeant Mu'in Halabi, who disappeared at the beginning of the Yom Kippur War. Veteran newsman, Rafik Halabi set out on a journey into time, memory, and the Druze religion, in an attempt to uncover what lies beneath this multi-layered story, and to explore the Druze belief in the re-embodiment of the soul.

ID Blues

TITLE: ID Blues
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Chaim Yavin
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 106 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at The Other Israel Film Festival in NYC in Fall 2008
TEXT: Chaim Yavin takes us on a travel log with his camera among Israel's Arabs. Compiled of two parts, the first part, entitled "My Blood is Red Like Yours," ponders the discrimination towards Arabs in Israeli society, including the fields of economics, education, land ownership, and employment. The second part, "Land of the Negev," deals with Israel's Bedouin population, torn between rapid modernization and daily destruction.

Anne and the Reverend / Anne et la Reverand

TITLE: Anne and the Reverend / Anne et la Reverand
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Francois Uzan / Francois Uzan, Valentine Oberti
COUNTRY: France
LANGUAGE: French, Japanese with English ST
TIME: 29 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at The Hamptons International Film Festival in Fall 2008
TEXT: Anne and the Reverend is a short doc. Formatted in Betacam SP Stars: Makoto Otsuka ANNE AND THE REVEREND is a short documentary about a Japanese Reverend devoted to teaching Japanese children about the Jewish Holocaust and the lessons to be learned from it. A chance meeting with Otto Frank years ago changed his life, and lead him to build the only Holocaust museum in Japan.

The Beetle / Hachipusheet

TITLE: The Beetle / Hachipusheet
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Yishai Orian
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: In Hebrew, Arabic with English subtitles
TIME: 70 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at The Hamptons International Film Festival in Fall 2008
TEXT: Betacam SP. To everyone who's been told they love their car a little too much - this one's for you. Yishai Orian adores his 40-year-old VW Beetle, even though its engine barely carries the car over the hills of Jerusalem. Yishai's pregnant wife, however, doesn't see eye-to-eye on the matter. She'd rather take a taxi to the hospital when the big day comes, and she refuses to put her baby in what she considers to be a safety hazard. Against everyone's advice, Yishai heads to Jordan in search of a cheap garage to fix up his car like new. And then the inevitable happens: in the middle of the desert, the car finally breaks down.The Beetle is more than just the story of one car and its owner - it's about the intersection of cultural politics and personal stories. Yishai's interviews with his car's previous owners include one who refused to drive it after he discovered Hitler's involvement in the original design, and another who actually gave birth while in the passenger seat. Most moving, however, is the sight of Jewish and Arab hands working together to rebuild the car: an optimistic metaphor for reconciliation in the Middle East

Director Yishai Orian is one of the millions of proud Beetlemanics sprinkled throughout the world. Despite the vehicle's rough and noisy ride, underpowered motor and dubious distinction as Hitler's "car for the masses," the Volkswagen Beetle became the most produced car of a single design in history (Hitler himself is said to have sketched the prototype for what would become the Beetle). Sadly, Orian's beloved 40-year-old car is on its last legs and his beloved and very pregnant wife wants it scrapped. We join the filmmaker on his extremely funny and touching road trip as he introduces us to the people who owned, loved and even gave birth in his cherished car. As fatherhood looms, Orian is reluctant to let go of the past, and he debates his options to repair or sell the car. The Beetle was selected as the opening night film at the DocAviv Festival.

For My Father / Sof Shavua B' Tel Aviv

TITLE: For My Father / Sof Shavua B' Tel Aviv
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Dror Zahavi / Zvi Shpielmann, Shlomo Mogrbi, Haike Wiehle Timm, Eviatar Dotan, Rami Damri, Heike Wiehle-Timm
COUNTRY: Israel / Germany
LANGUAGE: In Hebrew, Arabic with English subtitles
TIME: 98 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at The Hamptons International Film Festival in Fall 2008
TEXT: 35mm Cast: Shredi Jabarin, Hili Yalon, Schlomo Wishinski, Rozina Kambus, Avital Pasternak. Terek (Shredi Jabarin ) is a young Arab who leaves the city of Tulkarm to be a suicide bomber in Tel Aviv, but he is given a second chance on life when his bomb doesn't function. With nothing to do until he can repair his explosive vest, Terek is forced to spend the weekend in Tel Aviv among the very people he had intended to kill in the market. He quickly encounters several Israeli outsiders, including Mr. and Mrs. Katz, an elderly electrician and his wife who lost their soldier son and the young and beautiful Keren (Hili Yalon) who has been mysteriously cut off from her Orthodox Jewish roots. With nothing to loose on either side, they open up to one another and an unlikely love blooms between these two isolated and damaged individuals. Raised to be enemies, Keren and Terek are surprised to find they share so many things and for a moment they allow themselves to be carried away by their emotions. But the threat of a remote detonation by Terek's comrades looms large and forces them to make painful choices that will forever change their lives. An Israeli-German Co-production by Israfilm (Tel Aviv) and Relevant Film (Hamburg).

Four Seasons Lodge

TITLE: Four Seasons Lodge
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Andrew Jacobs / Matt Lavine, Andrew Jacobs
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 100 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at The Hamptons International Film Festival in Fall 2008
TEXT: Digital Betacam. Cast: Hymie Abromowitz, Carl Potok, Olga Bowman, Aron Adelman, Genya Boyman. Where does a Holocaust survivor find peace and joy today? The answer is found in Andrew Jacobs' beautiful documentary FOUR SEASONS LODGE. In the quiet Catskill Mountains there is a community where families have been gathering for decades, a place to get away and be surrounded by people who share a past full of pain and a yearning to enjoy the days that remain. Horrific stories of loss and survival are interwoven with cheerful meals in the common area and evenings filled with music and dancing. One of the greatest strength of the film is the delicate cinematography that handles the raw emotions of these extraordinary individuals with both patience and respect. This is a rare film that achieves intimacy and honor for all involved, including the audience who will no doubt feel thankful for the opportunity to witness this remarkable generation before they have disappeared

Lemon Tree

TITLE: Lemon Tree
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Eric Riklis / Moshe Edery, Leon Edery, David Silber
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Arabic, Hebrew, English with English subtitles
TIME: 102 minutes in 35 mm
SOURCE: Seen at The Hamptons International Film Festival in Fall 2008
TEXT: Cast: Hiam Abbass, Rona Lipaz-Michael, Ali Suliman, Tarik Kopty, Doron Tavory LEMON TREE is the remarkably poignant story of a minor struggle that mirrors the vast complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The incredibly talented actress Hiam Abbass plays Salma Zidane, a Palestinian woman who lives alone in a lemon grove that was planted years before by her late father. Though she battles loneliness, Salma lives peacefully until the day that the Israeli Defense Minister and his wife build a house directly next door to the grove. The Defense Minister fears that the thick trees pose a threat to his family's safety, but his wife, Mira (Rona Lipaz-Michael), relishes the sight of the beautiful grove and is curious about the reserved woman who tends so lovingly to the trees. When her husband orders the removal of the lemon trees, Mira finds herself caught in an ethical and political dilemma that has more powerful ramifications than she ever could have anticipated. Rona Lipaz-Michael and Hiam Abbass both give commanding and emotional performances as two women separated by politics but interconnected through their mutual human compassion. Eran Riklis also made THE SYRIAN BRIDE (HIFF 2004). Both enlightening and immensely moving, LEMON TREE is sure to be one of the most talked about films.

Nursery University

TITLE: Nursery University
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Marc H. Simon . Marc Simon and Matthew Maker
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 90 minutes Digital Betacam
SOURCE: Seen at The Hamptons International Film Festival in Fall 2008
TEXT: Cast: Cynthia Tony, Juliana Pratofiorito, Heidi Roderick, Jackson Moon, Aleta St. James, Wyatt Sprague, Kim Ashton, Kris and Kieron Ragoonath. NURSERY UNIVERSITY documents the elite New York City private preschool admissions process. The film follows a likely scholarship student, the offspring of several millionaires, twins with different needs, a child who just happens to live in the neighborhood and others as they grapple with the intricacies of a highly competitive and stressful system. The application cycle begins with phone calls at 8AM the day after Labor Day, and ends with the fateful envelopes of acceptance, rejection or wait-listing that arrive in the spring (just like college). Along the way parents, administrators and elementary school admissions advisors sweat-out the details of the annual gleaning of the preschoolers. Told with humor and pathos, laced with suspense and surprise, NURSERY UNIVERSITY evokes the world of 'feeder preschools' - conduits to the very highest of higher education. The wry and weary principals, admissions staff and paid consultants put ambitious, anxious and usually wealthy families through a gauntlet of open houses, group interviews and supervised 'play-dates', before ultimately deciding that very few toddlers have the right stuff after all.

One Day You'll Understand / Lus Tard, Tu Comprendras

TITLE: One Day You'll Understand / Lus Tard, Tu Comprendras
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Amos Gitai
COUNTRY: France, Germany
LANGUAGE: French w/ English ST
TIME: 89 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at The Hamptons International Film Festival in Fall 2008
TEXT: Cast: Jeanne Moreau, Hippolyte Girardot, Emmanuelle Devos, Dominique Blanc. Set against the genteel interiors of bourgeois Paris, ONE DAY YOU'LL UNDERSTAND is a meditation on loss, memory, identity, and family legacy. Jeanne Moreau (JULES ET JIM) stars as Rivka, the elegant, elusive mother who refuses to dwell on the past, and Hippolyte Girardot (MANON OF THE SPRING) as Victor, the son whose obsession with it threatens to unbalance his life. Spurred by the horrors coming to light during the televised trial of Klaus Barbie(WWII's infamous "Butcher of Lyons"), Victor begins to dig into his own family background, to learn just how his parents managed to survive in Vichy France, and why Rivka's Jewish parents did not. The more Victor uncovers, the more he is horrified. But his mother will discuss none of it, let alone provide answers. And as his sister points out, without the compromises that he finds so loathsome, they would none of them be alive. Their mother has always done what was necessary, then and now, to protect her loved ones.

The Red Race

TITLE: The Red Race
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Chao Gan
COUNTRY: China, Germany
LANGUAGE: Chinese with English ST
TIME: 70 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at The Hamptons International Film Festival in Fall 2008
TEXT: Doc. With a keen emphasis on composition and rhythm, Director Chao Gan astutely presents the harsh life of kindergarten-aged gymnasts at China's Lu Wan District Youth Athletic School, where grueling training and ferocious competition break down children in order to build up the next Olympic champions.

Second Guessing Grandma

TITLE: Second Guessing Grandma
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Bob Giraldi
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 10 minutes short
SOURCE: Seen at The Hamptons International Film Festival in Fall 2008
TEXT: Cast: Kathleen Chalfant, Shawn Hollenbach, Lori Wilner, Adam Grupper, Alex Organ When Ed tells his family that he is gay, he worries that his traditional Jewish grandmother won't understand. Intimate and endearing, Second Guessing Grandma is about the joy and strife of family conflicts, and a reminder that grandmothers, even at seventy-six, can still surprise us.

Vasermil

TITLE: Vasermil
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Mushon Salmona
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew, Russian Amharic with English subtitles
TIME: 90 minutes in 35mm
SOURCE: Seen at The Hamptons International Film Festival in Fall 2008
TEXT: Cast: David Taplitsky, Adiel Zamro, Nadir Eldad. This Israeli drama depicts life on the gritty urban streets for three struggling teenage boys. Dima is a hard-edged Russian émigré with a penchant for vandalism and a talent for the piano. Shlomi is captain of the school football team, but his home life and bullying boss are rough. Adiel finds some solace in being the most talented football player around, but he bears the brunt of racism. All three boys have siblings depending on them. VASERMIL follows the three on their separate journeys as their lives become intertwined when they are placed on the same team. Accident and misunderstanding lead to unforeseen connections between the boys as they play football, go clubbing, fight each other and others and grapple with the harsh realities of their precarious existence. Signs of the ongoing regional conflict are pervasive, with air raid sirens and rocket-launchers right in the neighborhood of their school and an expected part of the daily routine. When Coach Matan takes the boys in hand, they learn new meanings for the term 'streetwise' and are confronted with choices that chart the course for their futures. In VASERMIL the volatile elements of clashing cultures and generations combine with unpredictable results.

Hamlet 2

TITLE: Hamlet 2
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Andrew Fleming
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 92 minutes
SOURCE: Focus Features
TEXT: This comedy premiered at Sundance in January 2008 and was acquired for an enormous sum. When I saw it, I realized why Focus Features paid so much for it. It is quite hilarious and dry. What is Jewish about it? Well, I can argue that the young teen nemesis (Noah Sapperstein) and high school drama critic is most likely Jewish, and the ACLU rep (Cricket FeldStein) is fond of saying that her husband is Jewish, so the powers that be better watch out, cuz she married to a tough kick ass Jew.
In Hamlet 2, when Dana Marschz proudly announces that he's finished his magnum opus, Hamlet 2, his wife Brie rightly responds, "But doesn't everyone die at the end of the first one?" True enough, but throughout literary history other writers haven't been deterred by such simple problems when coming up with sequels and other types of derivative works. In this irreverent comedy, a failed actor-turned-worse-high-school-drama-teacher rallies his Arizona high school students, a multicultural polyglot of adolescents, as he conceives and stages politically incorrect musical sequel to Shakespeare's Hamlet that stars a godspell-like Jesus who is fighting with his dad (God)

Milk

TITLE: Milk
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Gus Van Sant
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 92 minutes
SOURCE: Focus Features
TEXT: Not to be confused with the documentary titled The Life and Times of Harvey Milk, this feature stars Sean Penn as Harvey Milk, the first openly gay city politician in San Francisco, who was later murdered by another city council member who murdered Milk and the city's mayor, claiming he was distraught and high of sugar (twinkie defense). After moving to San Francisco, the middle-aged New Yorker, Harvey Milk, became an activist and city politician. He called himself the "Mayor of Castro Street." He was elected to the Board of Supervisors (city council) on his third attempt in 1977, making him the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in the USA. The following year, both he and the city's mayor, George Moscone, were shot to death by former city supervisor, Dan White. Mr. Milk had been the subject of several books and the Academy Award-winning documentary feature but this film is the first fictional feature to explore private aspects of the man's personal life and career. Milk was filmed on location in San Francisco. Many of Mr Milk's real-life surviving friends and former associates participated in the making of this film, several appearing on camera. Van Sant said he had been talking about making this film for 18 years. "He's an American hero," Van Sant said. "He's a great example of a man representing his community and his city." Gay rights activist Cleve Jones is played in the film by Emile Hirsch. Penn is helped by the fact that the time and place in which Milk existed have been so impeccably recreated, and that he is surrounded by ensemble cast members who vividly play Milk's fellow activists (Hirsch) and lovers (Diego Luna) or both (James Franco), not to mention the fellow city supervisor who was his opposite in every way (Josh Brolin).

Blessed is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh

TITLE: Blessed is the Match
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Roberta Grossman / Lisa (Clif Bar) Thomas and Marta Kauffman ("Friends")
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: minutes
SOURCE: Katahdin.org or http://www.blessedisthematch.com/
TEXT: Narrated by three-time Academy Award nominee Joan Allen, Blessed Is the Match is the first documentary feature about Hannah Senesh, the World War II-era poet and diarist who became a paratrooper, resistance fighter and modern-day Joan of Arc. Safe in Palestine in 1944, Hannah joined a mission to rescue Hungary's Jews. Shockingly, it was the only outside rescue mission for Jews during the Holocaust. Hannah parachuted behind enemy lines, was captured, tortured and ultimately executed by the Nazis. Incredibly, her mother Catherine witnessed the entire ordeal - first as a prisoner with Hannah and later as her advocate, braving the bombed-out streets of Budapest in a desperate attempt to save her daughter. With unprecedented access to the Senesh family archive, this powerful story unfolds through the writings and photographs of Hannah and Catherine Senesh. Roberta Grossman has written and produced more than forty hours of documentary television. She also made Heroines of the Hebrew Bible and Judas for the A&E series Mysteries of the Bible. Now she looks at the life of Hannah Senesh. Tell me that you would not have killed to work on this project. A great topic, a great director, and producers, one of which produced the tv series Frends and the other who co founded Clif Bar.

Rachel Getting Married

TITLE: Rachel Getting Married
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Jonathan Demme
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: minutes
SOURCE: Sony Picture Classics
TEXT: When Kym (Anne Hathaway) returns to the Buchman family home for the wedding of her sister Rachel (Rosemarie Dewitt), she brings a long history of personal crisis, family conflict and tragedy along with her. The wedding couple's abundant party of friends and relations have gathered for a joyful weekend of feasting, music and love, but Kym - with her biting one-liners and flair for bombshell drama - is a catalyst for longsimmering tensions in the family dynamic. Filled with the rich and eclectic characters that remain a hallmark of Jonathan Demme's films, Rachel Getting Married paints a heartfelt, perceptive and sometimes hilarious family portrait. Director Demme, first-time writer Jenny Lumet, and the stellar acting ensemble leaven the drama of these difficult but compelling people with wry affection and generosity of spirit.

A Zero Degree Turn

TITLE: A Zero Degree Turn
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Hassan Fathi
COUNTRY: Iran
LANGUAGE: Farsi
TIME: 22 episodes
SOURCE: Channel 1 in Tehran
TEXT: A big budget, self produced television series in Iran that is set in WW2 Europe and concerns the friendship of an Iranian (Persian) man and a Jewish woman. Filmed in Iran, Budapest and Paris, the tv show tries to show how Iranaina Jews were saved during the Holocaust. It is not anti Jewish, but definitely anti Zionist and also tries to shows that Jews plotted to move to Palestine. But mostly, Iranian audiences have been watching the show because it shows Iranian women dressed in lavish clothes during the 1930/40's, and not kept out of sight I post revolutionary Iran.

Z32

TITLE: Z32
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Avi Mograbi
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: minutes
SOURCE:
TEXT: A musical documentary tragedy. An Israeli ex-soldier who participated in a revenge operation where two Palestinian policemen were murdered, seeks forgiveness for what he has done. His girlfriend does not think it is that simple and she raises issues he is not ready to address yet. The soldier willingly testifies for camera as long as his identity is not exposed. While looking for the proper solution to conceal the soldier's identity, the filmmaker questions his own political and artistic conduct.

Adam Resurrected

TITLE: Adam Resurrected
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Paul Schrader
COUNTRY: Germany Israel
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 120 minutes
SOURCE: seen at Telluride, September 2008
TEXT: Like his Oscar-nominated AFFLICTION (19'97), Paul Schrader's latest film deals with an individual tormented by memories of horrific violence. Like MISHIMA, it jumps boldly through time, mixing sordid reality and stylized, sexually charged fantasy. What's new and startling in ADAM is its black comedy, which Schrader deploys in an attempt to overturn every sentimental platitude established in the Holocaust-movie genre. Adam Steiner (Jeff Goldblum), the film's clown-victim- hero, is a concentration-camp survivor being treated in an Israeli mental institution. His incisive, manipulative intelligence and uncontrollable sexual hunger keep us wondering: Who's running the asylum? Noah Stollman adapts Yoram Kaniuk's celebrated 1971 novel and Goldblum, with fine support from Willem Dafoe, Derek Jacobi and Ayelet Zurer, gives the performance of a lifetime, reveling in every twist and quirk of Adam's character. With Jeff Goldblum, William Defoe, Derek Jacobi and Ayelet Zurer. Directed by Paul Schrader. Screenplay by Noah Stollman based on the 1968 novel by Yoram Kaniuk. Produced by Ehud Bleiberg of Bleiburg Entertainment in LA. Variety says that Goldblum's performance is a tour de force, but the film will have limited commercial appeal since it is so dark and set in a death camp and an insane asylum
It's not every day you see a magic realist film maudit concerning the Holocaust. But the unexpected is what Paul Schrader has consistently delivered over his extraordinary career. As a screenwriter and director, he is the confirmed master of the anti-hero, men caught in solipsistic traps that push them into despair, madness and often violence. Now joining Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver), Julian Kaye (American Gigolo), Jesus (The Last Temptation of Christ) and Wade Whitehouse (Affliction) in the Schrader pantheon is Adam Stein, the funniest Jew in pre-war Germany and by 1961, the most popular resident of a sanitarium in Israel's Negev Desert. What happened to Adam in the interim and how he finally confronts his wartime experiences shape this unique cinematic odyssey. The film is also about humans who become dogs and then become human again. While interned at a concentration camp, Adam was subjected to a particular form of cruelty when a merciless commandant (Willem Dafoe, captivatingly odious here) made him his pet. Fifteen years later, a feral boy who believes he is a dog awakens Adam's sense of self and his faith in others, both of which had been viciously stamped down in the war. One might expect a meditative tone for such a story, but Schrader and his Israeli producers opt instead for a kind of madcap farce, reminiscent at times of Le Roi de Coeur, Philippe de Broca's bittersweet masterpiece of madness and compassion. And through this tacitly forbidden approach - a Holocaust comedy? really? - Schrader finds new and enlightening things to say about how we might come to terms with something so impossibly tragic. Imagine a theology class taught by a sad clown, and you get some idea of how disorienting the film actually is. To make such a radical idea come to life, a great actor is required. Enter Jeff Goldblum, whose inimitable style perfectly suits the material. His awkwardness, and the irony that accompanies it, keeps us guessing about Adam's intentions and the form his ultimate redemption might take. It is a virtuoso turn from an under-recognized master of his craft, perfectly matched to the breathtaking courage that frames this project
. Paul Schrader studied at Columbia University, the American Film Institute and the University of California, Los Angeles. He made his film debut co-writing the screenplay for The Yakuza, and has since written several films directed by Martin Scorcese, including Taxi Driver (76), Raging Bull(80) and The Last Temptation of Christ (88). His directorial work includes Blue Collar (78), Hardcore (79), American Gigolo (80), Cat People (82), Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (85), The Comfort of Strangers (90), Light Sleeper (92), Affliction (97), Auto Focus (02), The Walker (07) and Adam Resurrected (08).

Waltz with Bashir

TITLE: Waltz with Bashir
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Pari Folman
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 87 minutes
SOURCE: Sony Pictures Classics. Seen at Telluride
TEXT: Beginning with unnerving images of a pack of dogs racing through the streets of Tel Aviv-an emblem of tormented conscience-writer/director Ari Folman offers the most powerful statement yet about the agony of years of Middle East violence. Folman reconstructs a notorious atrocity that occurred in Palestinian refugee camps during the 1984 invasion of Lebanon, proving adept both as an investigative journalist and as a visual poet, delivering his story through the expressive medium of animation. Dreams and black comedy gracefully enrich rigorously gathered facts, with eyewitness testimony serving as narration to the surreal, magical, insistently subjective drawn images. WALTZ WITH BASHIR's hybrid form becomes more than a skilled reconstruction of a tragedy. It is, like the masterpieces of Resnais and Marker, a universal meditation on the interaction of historical and personal memory.

Religulous

TITLE: Religulous
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Larry Charles / Charlie Siskel
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English, Hebrew, Arabic, Farsi, Spanish w/ English ST
TIME: 101 minutes
SOURCE: http://www.lionsgate.com/religulous/
TEXT: American comedy/documentary film written by and starring political comedian Bill Maher and directed by Larry Charles. According to Maher, the title of the film is a portmanteau derived from the words "religion" and "ridiculous"; the documentary examines and satirizes organized religion and religious belief.A range of views on the various world religions are explored as Bill Maher travels to numerous religious destinations, such as Jerusalem, the Vatican, and Salt Lake City, interviewing believers from a variety of backgrounds and groups, including Jews for Jesus, Christians, Muslims, former Mormons, Satanists, and Hasidic Jews. He travels to Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park, London and satirically preaches Scientology beliefs. George Coyne, former director of the Vatican Observatory. Father Reginald Foster, Catholic priest, senior Vatican scholar, Pope's principal Latinist. Pastor Jeremiah Cummings, or Jerry Cummings, former member of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes. Cummings is founder of Amazing Life World Outreach in North Carolina. Ken Ham, Young earth creationist and founder of Answers in Genesis. josé Luis de Jesús Miranda, founder of Growing In Grace International Ministry in Miami, Florida. Aki Nawaz, Muslim British rapper also known as Propa-Gandhi. Andrew Newberg, MD University of Pennsylvania research neuroscientist. Newberg discusses the process of imaging people's brains as they pray, meditate or speak in tongues. Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss, spokesman for the anti-zionist organization Neturei Karta. Mark Pryor, junior U.S. Senator from Arkansas and a believer in Creationism. Steve Burg, representing ex-Jews for Jesus (Burg himself is a former missionary with the organization), discussed believing in miracles. Maher stated he used a fake title for the film to obtain interviews: "We never, ever, used my name. We never told anybody it was me who was going to do the interviews. We even had a fake title for the film. We called it 'A Spiritual Journey.' It didn't work everywhere. We went to Salt Lake City, but no one would let us film there at all." Creationist Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis, who appeared in the movie, was critical of what he called Maher's "deception" to obtain the interview. The documentary was produced by Thousand Words and is being distributed by Lionsgate. Originally slated for an international release date coinciding with the Christian Easter holiday 2008 (March 23), post-production delays resulting from a screenwriters guild strike pushed the release date back to July 11, 2008. The movie was released on October 3, 2008.

TIFF: Designed (with glee!) to polarize and unsettle, Religulous takes on the last sacred cow in American society, and everything else that symbolizes organized religion. The title is a mash-up of religious and ridiculous, and the aim is to take a hammer of hard skepticism to the gossamer vault of faith. Because the men wielding that hammer are Bill Maher and Larry Charles, the result is hilarious. Maher is already a prominent troublemaker, well-known for his political humour on television (from Politically Incorrect and Real Time with Bill Maher) and in print (New Rules: Polite Musings from a Timid Observer). This is the first time he has been the subject of a feature-length documentary. Charles, first celebrated for writing episodes of Seinfeld now makes his follow-up to the spectacularly successful Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. United in heresy, these two men continue their practice of making hysterically scathing social critiques disguised as popular entertainment. Maher criss-crosses the globe, travelling from Jerusalem to Vatican City to Salt Lake City, interviewing people about God and their own beliefs. In typical Maher fashion, the man does not hold back, and his irreverent wit and blinding logic produce wild reactions from representatives of nearly every major faith. How could the universe have been created only four thousand years ago? What explains bad things happening to good people? What's with all the beards?
The team of Maher and Charles works as beautifully as God and Moses, laying down tough questions and wicked satire on what remains the world's most controversial topic. When this taboo subject inevitably collides with political views, it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish between lighthearted comedy and sober sincerity. In the end, no one is safe and certainly nothing is sacred. Catholics, Protestants, Hasidic Jews, Jews for Jesus, Jesus impersonators, Scientologists, Muslims, Satanists, creationists or anyone who believes in anything: brace yourselves for the unstoppable wrath of Charles and Maher.
Larry Charles was born in Brooklyn and performed as a stand-up comedian in the seventies. He has served as writer, producer and/or director on many successful television series, including Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Mad About You, Dilbert and Entourage. He made his feature filmmaking debut with 2003's Masked and Anonymous, which was co-written by Bob Dylan, and directed Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan in 2006. Religulous (08) is his latest feature.

Vasermil

TITLE: Vasermil
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Mushon Salmona / Marek Rozenbaum, Michael Rozenbaum, Itai Tamir
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 92 minutes 35mm
SOURCE: http://www.transfax.co.il Transfax Films 3 Yagia Kapayim Street, 67778 Tel Aviv Israel Tel: +972 3 687 1202 Fax: +972 3 687 1499 E-mail: sales@transfax.co.il
TEXT: Seen at Karlovy Vary. Cast: David Taplitzky, Adiel Zamro, Nadir Eldad. Set in contemporary Israel, this story of three young outsiders is seen through the eyes of an observer who focuses on the festering aspects of daily life. Shlomi, Adiel and Dima live in the town of Be'er sheva, they constantly play truant from school, and two of them look as if they might end up as criminals - Dima, a new immigrant from Russia, is a drug dealer, and Shlomi is given the sack and takes his revenge on his employer by trashing the latter's pizzeria. While both have bitter experiences facing various injustices, they regard the Ethiopian Adiel a "nigger", and call him this to his face at every opportunity. No amount of stiff persuasion is enough to prevent our three heroes from beginning their downward spiral, they don't take ultimatums from their teachers seriously and, in all three cases, the women at home have little influence over them. But the boys manage to find their footing when they are recruited for the local soccer team by the squad's unusual coach. At first, the lads don't seem too enthusiastic, but things change with the up-coming youth championship, held in the famous Vasermil stadium. Mushon Salmona read cultural and critical studies at University College, London, graduating in 2005; four years prior to this (1996-2000) he studied Communication and Audiovisual Production at London's Metropolitan University. He began at home making short features, leaving for London in the mid-1990s where, in addition to further shorts, he also made documentaries - e.g. Dance with Me (2000), a 14-minute film about folk dancing in London's Israeli community. After returning to Israel, he concentrated mostly on documentaries and worked in television. He was also involved in the 6-hour BBC documentary entitled The 50 Years War about the Arab-Israeli conflict. Vasermil (2007) is his feature debut.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

TITLE: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Mark Herman / David Heyman
COUNTRY: UK
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: minutes
SOURCE: BBC Films
TEXT: Some will find it cloyingly awful. Others will love it. Some believe that you degrade the Holocaust with fictional stories. Up to you.
Based on the best selling Irish novel by John Boyne. Filmed in Hungary. Filmed with British accents for all actors. The unlikely friendship that develops between Shmuel, a Jewish boy in a Nazi death camp, and Bruno, the 8 year old son of the camp commandant. As seen through the eyes of Bruno. SPOILER SPOILER ALERT. Also note that I type pajamas, but they are called "PYjamas" Bruno (Asa Butterfield), is the son of the strict commander of a Nazi concentration camp (David Thewlis). He has a strong headed sister, Gretel. They live in a five storey mansion, but are one day suddenly moved to a place called Out-With (Auschwitz). Bruno, outraged by his father's decision to move to Out-With, and desperate to go home, spends his time in his room with no friends. He is also annoyed by the fact that they live in a small house instead of their old mansion, and with such a small space, there isn't any room for exploration (a hobby of Bruno's) to be done. He also misses sliding down the banister in their old house. From his bedroom window, Bruno spots a fence with people in striped pajamas behind it. These are the Jews, and they are in a concentration camp, with a couple working in the family home. This is where he first meets Pavel (David Hayman), a Jew and a doctor who mends Bruno's cuts when he falls off the swing. One day, his parents come to an agreement that both Bruno and Gretel need a tutor for their education so they hire Herr Liszt (Jim Norton). To Bruno, Herr Liszt is the most boring teacher one could ever have - because he teaches history instead of the imaginative literature, which Bruno prefers. So, in boredom and confusion he wonders what is going on at Out-With and why people are always dressed in striped pajamas there. Bruno, unaware of the dark truth for the camps existence, becomes friends with a Jewish boy, named Shmuel (Jack Scanlon), who has been put in the camp at the bottom of Bruno's garden. Bruno often visits him throughout the time the film is set in. He brings Shmuel food and plays checkers with him through the electric fence. Pavel is murdered by a German lieutenant and soon, Shmuel takes his place. When Bruno sees Shmuel in the house he gives him a cake to eat. However, a German soldier sees Shmuel eating and starts shouting at him. Shmuel says that Bruno gave him the cake but when the soldier asks Bruno, he says that Shmuel stole it. The soldier and Bruno leave and the soldier tells Shmuel that he will return when he's finished cleaning to have a little "chat". The next time Bruno goes downstairs he sees that Maria, the maid, has taken over for Shmuel. For the next few days Bruno doesn't see Shmuel at the camp and when he sees him he has a badly damaged face. He forgives Bruno for the lie and they become friends again. Soon, Shmuel's father goes "missing" (the boys are unaware that he has likely been killed) and Bruno decides to break into the prison camp, disguised as a worker to help him find his father. Shmuel sneaks some pajamas to his young friend and they dig their way into the camp. SPOILER SPOILER ------- Once inside, the boys are marched into a gas chamber where they are eventually killed together. This is juxtaposed with Bruno's mother (Vera Farmiga), father and sister realizing that he has gone missing from the garden. Finding the boy's clothes next to the hole in the fence, Bruno's father tries to find him before it is too late. He runs throughout the camp, eventually discovering a completely empty hut. He comes to the conclusion that Bruno has been brought to the gas chamber, but it is too late. The screams and shouts of the people inside have been silenced. The movie ends with the camera moving slowly away from the door, panning out to reveal the hundreds of striped 'pyjamas' hanging, forgotten like their wearers, outside the door. In the words of audiences, the ending is filmed in one of the most unforgettably devastating ways and realizes the potential of film as a artful form of communications.

$9.99

TITLE: $9.99
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Tatia Rosenthal / Amir Harel and Emile Sherman
COUNTRY: Isrel / Australia
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 78 minutes 35mm
SOURCE: Sherman Pictures/Lama Films. Fortissimo Films
TEXT: Based on short stories by Keret. Principal Cast: Geoffrey Rush, Anthony LaPaglia, Samuel Johnson, Claudia Karvan, Joel Edgerton, Ben Mendelson, Barry Otto. Meet Dave Peck. Dave is an unemployed, soft-spoken twenty-eight-year-old man who shares an apartment with his father. Dave is desperate to discover the meaning of life, so when he comes across a book that claims to contain this knowledge - "all for the low price of $9.99" - he rather understandably makes the purchase. Inside the book, Dave finds the answers he is looking for and feels compelled to share his new knowledge with everyone he knows. Given the limited scope of his everyday life, that group is primarily made up of his neighbours: a widower with a cranky guardian angel; a retired, down-on-his-luck magician; a captivating woman who has strong preferences where men are concerned; a newly single man who befriends a group of hard-partying, two-inch-tall students; and a quietly rebellious little boy. Their stories are woven together, examining hope, love and spirituality. Using technically complex, labour-intensive stop-motion animation, (best recognized as the style of Aardman Animations' Wallace & Gromit films and Tim Burton's Corpse Bride), director Tatia Rosenthal creates an enthralling world with compelling visual detail. Rosenthal previously received international attention for her collaborations with Etgar Keret (Israel's most lauded writer of short stories, one of which became the film Wristcutters: A Love Story), and the pair have joined forces again to create this most extraordinary cinematic experience. $9.99 is like a dream international co-production: a script written and directed by two of Israel's most talented young artists and the voices of an extraordinary cast of Australian actors, including Geoffrey Rush, Anthony LaPaglia, Ben Mendelson and Barry Otto. The result of this globe-spanning artistic collaboration is a gently surreal universe that will provoke, inspire and even comfort those lucky enough to experience it.
Tatia Rosenthal was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, and attended the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, where she created the award-winning short Crazy Glue (1998). She works as a freelance director and animator in NY, and directed the short A Buck's Worth in 2005. $9.99 (2008) is her first feature.

Baghdad Twist

TITLE: Baghdad Twist
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Joe Balass
COUNTRY: Canada
LANGUAGE: English and Arabic w/ English ST
TIME: 34 minutes
SOURCE: Seen at Toronto Intnl Film Festival
TEXT: Having fled from Iraq to Canada in 1970 to avoid persecution, Joe Balass and his mother Valentine now share their memories of the once-thriving Jewish community in Baghdad. Balass combines archival images, home movies and family photographs to capture a complex visual memoir of a place and time that no longer exist. KM Joe Balass lives in Montreal. He has directed Nana, George & Me (98),The Devil in the Holy Water (02), Parting Words (06) and Baghdad Twist (07).

Empty Nest / El Nido Vacio

TITLE: Empty Nest / El Nido Vacio
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Daniel Burman / Sebastián Ponce, José María Morales, Diego Dubcovsky, Daniel Burman
COUNTRY: Argentina/Spain/France/Italy
LANGUAGE: Spanish Hebrew w/ English ST
TIME: 91 minutes 35mm
SOURCE: Bavaria Film International
TEXT: Principal Cast: Oscar Martínez, Cecilia Roth, Arturo Goetz, Inés Efron, Eugenia Capizzano. Marriage is hard work. It involves commitment, constant negotiation and putting up with your spouse's friends. Daniel Burman's superbly imaginative and entertaining Empty Nest is a comedic look at the problems inherent in married life and the difficulties associated with keeping a long-term relationship new and exciting. At once hilarious and nostalgic, Burman's film ponders reality itself while offering a profound consideration of memories and how they are created. Burman invites the viewer into the quasisurrealist world of playwright Leonardo (played with Woody Allen-like guile by Oscar Martínez) and his wife Martha (wonderfully performed by All About My Mother's Cecilia Roth). The opening scene finds them at a dinner party with Martha's friends, where Leonardo is visibly bored and uncomfortable with any discussion of his work. Martha finally speaks for him, stating that Leo does not believe in the idea of talent in the artist; instead, he considers himself a craftsman honing his technique. He is especially glib when invited to see one of their friends' daughter's plays. "I've seen it," he snaps, and from Martha's expression, the audience knows that this is not true. The masterfully written script naturally interweaves plot twists, and Empty Nest is a testament to Burman's maturity as a director. The narrative sustains a sense of gravity throughout, but manages to treat the difficult topic of infidelity with delicacy and a dose of playfulness. This mischievous undertone is evident as the film traces Leonardo's obsession with freezing croissants, concocts a perfectly choreographed dance routine to help him chase a girl and pairs him with a perfect sidekick to get him through some rough patches. Moving from the hectic streets of Buenos Aires to the stunning and peaceful calm of the Dead Sea, Empty Nest is laugh-out-loud funny even while its nostalgic scenes bring tears to the eye. Whether portraying marital tensions or bliss, Burman's brilliantly captured moments are always tinged with humour.
Daniel Burman was born in Buenos Aires and is one of the central figures in the New Argentine Cinema. He began his career as a filmmaker with the documentary ¿En que estación estamos? (93). His filmography includes A Chrysanthemum Burst in Cincoesquinas (98), Waiting for the Messiah (00), Every Stewardess Goes to Heaven (02), Lost Embrace (04), 18-j (04), Family Law (06) and Empty Nest (08).

Belonging

TITLE: Belonging
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Elizabeth Lazebnik
COUNTRY: CANADA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 6 minutes
SOURCE:
TEXT: Two women share a house, a child and a life filled with belongings that they have jointly brought to their relationship. Jennifer is a Jewish midwife and Alex a Mexican artist; both are navigating the complex world of relationships, cultural differences and motherhood. Elizabeth Lazebnik studied film and video at York University. She won the Lindalee Tracey Award at the HotDocs Canadian International Documentary Festival and has directed four short films, including Belonging.

Killing Kasztner

TITLE: Killing Kasztner
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Gaylen Ross / Tony Tabatznik DocFactory , Andrew Cohen, Gaylen Ross, Noam Shalev, Anne Feinsilber, Gus Samios
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English and Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 129 minutes
SOURCE:
TEXT: How much does one negotiate with the enemy? In Israel, the debate surrounding this question can provoke fury to the point of assassination. Such was the case of Dr. Israel Kasztner, who many considered a hero for the role he played in rescuing over sixteen hundred Hungarian Jews from death in 1944. At that stage of the war, the Nazis had looted everything they could, and desperately needed cash and supplies. Kasztner, a Hungarian Jew with connections abroad, negotiated directly with Adolf Eichmann to purchase Jewish lives with smuggled funds. As a result, thousands were transported to Switzerland on what became known as "Kasztner's train" - the highest number of Jews saved during the war by a fellow Jew. Yet later this extraordinary act was cast as a betrayal. After moving to Israel, many of Kasztner's new countrymen accused him of collaborating with the enemy. He fought a vicious libel battle in a trial that portrayed him as "the man who sold his soul to the devil," and was ultimately assassinated in Tel Aviv in 1957. Director Gaylen Ross examines this story as it plays out today, when passions can still run high among those touched by Kasztner's life. We see his family in Israel, including daughter Zsuzsi and granddaughter Merav, actively trying to restore his legacy. We also meet his political opponents: the son of the lawyer who humiliated Kasztner in court and the journalist who turned the trial into a sensation. In a stunning revelation, Ze'ev Eckstein, Kasztner's assassin, speaks out for the first time. He reveals details of the midnight murder on a street in Tel Aviv, disclosing the shadowy underworld of Israel's right-wing extremists. Killing Kasztner peels back layers of history, deepening our understanding of World War II, Israel's fledgling years and the contemporary gatekeepers of memory. In one poignant scene, survivors of "Kasztner's train" confront the head of Yad Vashem to ask why the Israeli Holocaust museum has overlooked the man who saved them. In the face of such neglect, this film helps bring Kasztner's memory back to life. Gaylen Ross was born in Indianapolis. An actor, writer, producer and director, she graduated with a B.A. in literature from The New School for Social Research in New York. Her documentaries include Dealers Among Dealers (95), To Russia for Love (99), the award-winning Listen to Her Heart: The Life and Music of Laurie Beechman (03) and Killing Kasztner (08).

Acne

TITLE: Acne
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Federico Veiroj / Fernando Epstein
COUNTRY: Uruguay/Argentina/Spain/ Mexico
LANGUAGE: Spanish with English ST
TIME: 87 minutes in 35mm
SOURCE: Rezo
TEXT: Toronto Intnl Film Fest. Principal Cast: Alejandro Tocar, Yoel Bercovici. Thirteen-year-old Rafael Bregman (Alejandro Tocar) is going through hard times: his bad skin, divorcing parents and difficulty talking to girls are making growing up feel impossible. He and his well-off family are part of the close-knit and at times suffocating Jewish community in Montevideo. Filmmaker Federico Veiroj uses this enclosed environment to shape a realistic portrayal of the adolescent world in Acné, his debut feature. Unlike most protagonists in teen comedies, Rafael has no trouble finding sex; in fact, he and his young friends already frequent the local brothel. But what Rafael desires most in the world money cannot buy - he wants romance and, finally to kiss a girl. This tender, original film transmits the director's feelings of nostalgia for a long-gone age with honesty and sincerity. Revisiting the Rafael Bregman character from As Follows,Veiroj's successful 2004 short film - in which Rafael is taken first to a brothel and then for ice cream after his Bar Mitzvah - Acné further evokes the confusions that arise while on the threshold of manhood. Tocar's believable, deadpan performance rivals Heather Matarazzo's turn in Welcome to the Dollhouse. His reactions to his parents' divorce, his obsession with his blonde classmate Nicole and his embarrassment about the pimples that just won't go away are so nuanced that we are delighted even as we cringe with recognition. The routines Rafael is forced to endure - boredom at school, visits to the dermatologist and family dinners - create an achingly real representation of daily life at thirteen. Beautifully constructed, this accomplished first feature summons many long-forgotten sentiments to the screen. There are laugh-out-loud moments in Acné that will bring back those teenage years of so much confusion, and also scenes of such vulnerability that adolescence and all its insecurities may just come flooding back.
Federico Veiroj was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, and studied social communications at the Universidad Católica del Uruguay. He has directed several acclaimed short films, including As Follows (04)

Laila's Birthday / Eid Milad Laila

TITLE: Laila's Birthday
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Rashid Masharawi
COUNTRY: Palestine/Tunisia/ The Netherlands
LANGUAGE: Arabic with English ST
TIME: 72 minutes
SOURCE: Fortissimo Films
TEXT: Principal Cast: Mohamed Bakri, Areen Omari, Nour Zoubi. Life in an occupied territory is never easy, but who knew it could be so beautifully absurd? Drawing from everyday tales of contemporary Palestine, director Rashid Masharawi, whose Ticket to Jerusalem screened at the Festival in 2002, concentrates his focus on a single day, crafting a wry comedy about a father, his daughter and the chaos all around them. It is the morning of his daughter's birthday. Abu Laila has promised to bring home a birthday cake to celebrate, but first he has to make it through the day. He sets out with his briefcase and steps into a taxi - which he drives. This is just the first of many incongruities. Abu Laila must explain time after time during his day, "I'm a judge, but actually I'm a taxi driver." An esteemed member of the judiciary, he was invited to practise in Palestine, but bureaucracy has kept him from gaining his papers. So he supports his family by driving a taxi. It's not the humiliation that drives him crazy, it's the chaos. Abu Laila is a functionary. He is adamant that passengers fasten their seat belts. He insists on no smoking. He refuses passengers who jump into his cab with AK-47s slung over their shoulders. With his thin moustache and watery eyes, Mohamed Bakri has a dour, proper face built for comedy. He looks like Buster Keaton and moves through the dusty, ramshackle setting with the fastidiousness of Chaplin's Little Tramp. In fact, silent comedy may be one of the strongest influences in Laila's Birthday, even if it is a mobile phone that sets off one of the film's best chain of gags. Masharawi embeds the politics of his context under the surface. True, Abu Laila must endure armed clients, bomb scares and raging arguments about occupation, but mainly he just wants everyone to behave. When at last he makes it home and is asked how his day was, the payoff is just perfect.
Rashid Masharawi was born and raised in the Shati refugee camp, Gaza Strip, and is a self-taught filmmaker. In 1996 he founded the Cinema Production and Distribution Center (CPC), which offers workshops to young Palestinian filmmakers. The CPC also initiated the Mobile Cinema Project, which brings screenings to refugee camps. His credits as director include Curfew(93), Haifa (96), Ticket to Jerusalem (02), En directe de Palestine (02), Arafat, mon frère (05), Attente (05) and Laila's Birthday(08).

One Day You'll Understand / Plus tard, tu comprendras

TITLE: One Day You'll Understand / Plus tard, tu comprendras
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Amos Gitai
COUNTRY: France Germany
LANGUAGE: French with English ST
TIME: 89 minutes 35mm
SOURCE: Roissy Films
TEXT: Based on the autobiography of Jérôme Cléments. Principal Cast: Jeanne Moreau, Hippolyte Girardot, Emmanuelle Devos, Dominique Blanc. Memory is a double-edged sword, and in Plus tard, tu comprendras, Amos Gitaï explores this truism in the most subtle and emotionally powerful manner. This most talented director has found a perfect subject for his increasingly spare and formal style, and the final result is masterly. The film stars the venerable Jeanne Moreau in the role of Madame Gornick, an aged woman who prowls around her apartment listening to her television set. It is tuned to the Klaus Barbie trial of 1987, in which testimonies about arrests, incarcerations and deportations that took place during the Holocaust were recounted. Meanwhile, her son Victor is trying to assemble the bits and pieces of their family legacy through photographs, letters and memorabilia. It is a history of two conjoined families - French on his father's side and Jewish on his mother's. Victor really only knows the French side; the Jewish half is full of gaps. The documents he discovers tell of the fate that befell his parents during the war, and he is quick to rush to judgment. But to his frustration, his mother refuses to share any memories with him. She has shuttered away her past, and - with a degree of enviable tranquility - lives her life free from malice. Gitaï enters these two worlds with the deepest of understanding, both as humanitarian and artist. His imaginative powers have never been displayed with greater force. The film gathers in force and resonance with every scene. As Victor uncovers more and more of his troubled heritage, Gitaï's work becomes an extraordinary portrait of memory and its implications. Plus tard, tu comprendras touches the deepest wellsprings of emotion, and by being suggestive rather than explicit, allows us all to share in its imaginative universe. This is perhaps the film Gitaï was born to make, a masterpiece of Holocaust memory that uses not one frame of footage from the disaster.
Amos Gitai was born in Haifa, Israel, and received a Ph.D in architecture from the University of California, Berkeley. He has directed more than forty documentaries and fiction films, many of which have played at the Festival. He has also been the subject of numerous international retrospectives. His films include Esther (85), Berlin-Jerusalem (89), Golem, l'esprit de l'exil (91), Golem, le jardin pétrifié (93), Devarim (95), Yom Yom (98), Kadosh (99), Kippur (00), Kedma (02), Alila (03), Promised Land (04), Free Zone (05), Le Dibbouk de Haifa, part of the omnibus film Chacun son cinéma (07), Disengagement (07) and Plus tard, tu comprendras (08).

Defiance

TITLE: Defiance
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Edward Zwick / Edward Zwick, Pieter Jan Brugge, Roland Tec, Troy Putney, Alisa Katz
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 137 minutes in 35mm
SOURCE:
TEXT: Cast: Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, Jamie Bell, Alexa Davalos. Based on an extraordinary true story, and directed by AFI alum Edward Zwick, this epic tale of family, honor, vengeance and salvation in World War II begins in 1941. The Jews of Eastern Europe are being massacred by the thousands. Managing to escape certain death, three brothers take refuge in the dense surrounding woods they have known since childhood. There they begin their desperate battle against the Nazis. Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber and Jamie Bell star as brothers who turn a primitive struggle to survive into something far more consequential-a way to avenge the deaths of their loved ones by saving thousands of others. At first it is all they can do to stay alive. But gradually, as whispers of their daring spreads, they begin to attract others-men and women, young and old-willing to risk everything for the sake of even a moment's freedom. Tuvia (Craig) is a reluctant leader, and his decisions are challenged by his brother Zus (Schreiber), who worries that Tuvia's idealistic plans will doom them all. Asael (Bell) is the youngest-caught between his brothers' fierce rivalry. As a brutal winter descends, they work to create a community, and to keep faith alive when all humanity appears to be lost. Premiered at AFI, November 2008

Unmistaken Child Ha-Gilgul

TITLE: Unmistaken Child Ha-Gilgul
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Nati Baratz / lil Alexander, Arik Bernstein, Nati Baratz
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: English, Tibetan, Hindi, Nepali
TIME: 102 minutes
SOURCE: International Sales Agent: Fortissimo Films
TEXT: Nati Baratz's outstanding new documentary chronicles a former disciple's search for his reincarnated Tibetan master. Visually stunning, emotionally gripping and shot over the course of four years, Unmistaken Child follows a sacred quest through the eyes of a remarkable attendant. After twenty-six years of isolated meditation in a mountain cave, Lama Konchog became one of the greatest Tibetan masters of our time. When he passed away in 2001 at age eighty-four, the Dalai Lama instructed his shy, devoted disciple Tenzin Zopa to search for his master's reincarnation. This "unmistaken child" must be found within four years, before it becomes too difficult to remove him from his parents' care. Tenzin entered the service of Lama Konchog at age seven, at his own request, and was with his master continuously for twenty-one years. The loss of his teacher leaves Tenzin bereft and utterly lonely. He is further unsettled by the unexpected responsibility of carrying out the highly secretive search for his spiritual father, who is now expected to be embodied in a little boy, and may be anywhere in the world. His search crosses countries, passing through starkly beautiful mountains and small villages that appear to have remained unchanged for hundreds of years. Assisted by astrology, signs from dreams and the whispers of villagers, Tenzin travels by helicopter, mule and foot. When he comes upon an apparent contender, the documentary accompanies Tenzin and his young charge through the mysterious procedures that may confirm the reincarnation. We have seen similar tests before in films like Martin Scorsese's Kundun; to witness the real thing is even more magical. While Unmistaken Child brings to light a rarely seen aspect of the Buddhist faith, the true revelation is Tenzin's journey as a man. We come to know him as modest and shy, but with a delightfully impish sense of humour. He appears to be of another time and place, yet lives profoundly in the present. Alone on his quest, he is only able to share his thoughts and feelings with filmmaker Baratz. Tenzin's simple honesty and unselfconsciousness make the viewer a privileged partner in his passage to the next phase of life.
Nati Baratz was born in Jerusalem, Israel, and graduated in film from Tel Aviv University. He directed the short documentaries Tel Aviv-Kyrgyzstan (01) and Noches (04). Unmistaken Child (08) is his first feature-length documentary.

A Road to Mecca. The Journey of Muhammad Asad

TITLE: A Road to Mecca. The Journey of Muhammad Asad
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Georg Misch / Ralph Wieser
COUNTRY: Austria
LANGUAGE: English, German, Urdu, Ukrainian, Spanish, Arabic
TIME: 92 minutes
SOURCE:
TEXT: Who would have guessed that an Austrian Jew would one day become one of the most remarkable Muslims of the 20th century? Born Leopold Weiss in 1900, Lvov, Ukraine, to a strict religious upbringing, he would fatefully travel to the Middle East and change the world. His naïve orientalist fascination and his rejection of '20s Western materialism lead to a stunning Muslim conversion in 1926. As Muhammad Asad, he makes the pilgrimage to Mecca and begins an extraordinary career. He becomes an advisor at the king's court of Saudi Arabia, an early supporter of the creation of Pakistan, a UN ambassador and author of one of the finest English translations of the Koran. Part biography, part travelogue, A Road to Mecca retraces Asad's life and the trajectory of his influence. However, as the cameras encounter the people touched by his work, his vision of Islam comes into an inevitable contemporary perspective as well in this most interesting historical commentary.

To See If I'm Smiling

TITLE: To See If I'm Smiling
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Tamar Yarom
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English ST
TIME: 59 minutes
SOURCE:
TEXT: The frank testimonials of six female Israeli soldiers pack a powerful emotional punch. The young women revisit their tours of duty in the occupied territories with surprising honesty and strip bare stereotypes of gender differences in the military. No information seems to be off-limits. The former soldiers share shocking moments of negligence, flippancy, immaturity and power-tripping. The psychological transformation that these young women underwent as a result of military service is both upsetting and riveting. The culture of war transforms people: personalities change, moral codes are subverted, values are supplanted and masks are constructed to dull the pain of what they did and didn't do in uniform. To See if I'm Smiling illustrates how the trauma of war alters personalities and behaviour, and raises questions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Does military service create more anger, resentment and disagreement, or does it inspire understanding and empathy? Does it propagate or deter hostilities?

Stalags - Holocaust and Pornography in Israel

TITLE: Stalags - Holocaust and Pornography in Israel
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Ari Libsker / Barak Heymann
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w. English
TIME: 63 minutes
SOURCE:
TEXT: The improbable but true story of a wildly popular series of racy paperbacks called 'Stalags'. They became national bestsellers and took conservative Israel by storm in the early 1960s. Their perverse and bizarre narratives, based on Nazi themes, were the only erotic 'literature' available in the country at that time (one of the more lurid books was titled I Was Colonel Shultz's Private Bitch). Disguised as American publications, it was later discovered that these tales of female SS officers with boots and whips were in fact penned and published by Israeli Jews. The Stalag phenomenon immediately followed the notorious Adolph Eichmann trial, which was credited as a factor behind the genre's brutal and sadistic tone. At a time when Holocaust scholarship was in its infancy, for many young Israelis these pornographic fictions were their first exposure to the brutal realities of the Second World War.

Adama

TITLE:
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Iftach Shevach / Marek Rozenbaum, Itai Tamir
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew, English subtitles
TIME: 54 minutes
SOURCE:
TEXT: The film looks at the legendary Moshav Nahalal, an agricultural settlement, and focuses on the veteran farmers who are now forced to deal with the generation gap conflict: the continuation of the traditional family based farms, and difficult personal questions. Over the past few years, economic demands have forced family farms to change and adapt to a new reality. This situation has often led to deep family and financial crisis in many families in the agricultural settlements. From here to the point of no return, is not far. The stronger farms survive, managing to find agricultural alternatives, while the weaker ones collapse. Agricultural work is arduous, and more suited to young and healthy people. The Nahalal elders know that this year may be their last for working in the fields and plots, and to complete the growing season. The next generation chooses to break out of the famous "Nahalal circle" and aspires to new agricultural directions, outside the farm and the settlement. The parents find it hard to see their life''s work perish, they aren''t about to surrender to their advancing years and they chose to continue working to their dying day, confronting all the challenges. This film is a tribute to these senior farmers, people of the land and of vision. It's a story of separation, and of the strongest bond, the bond between the farmer and his land - that is about to end.

Baaba the Sheep Sets Out to Bring Love to the World

TITLE: Baaba the Sheep Sets Out to Bring Love to the World
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Gil Karni
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew, English subtitles
TIME: 56 minutes
SOURCE:
TEXT: Itamar Tal is a naive dreamer from a small village and an outsider in this world. As a child he always preferred the company of sheep in the fields to the company of humans. Years later Itamar leaves the fields, moves to Tel Aviv and makes a sheep out of a piece of sponge that he finds. Its head is made of palasticine and its legs of nails. A creature completely lacking in sophistication. That very simple looking sheep leads Itamar along paths he has never known before, and opens the gates of the global village to him.

Bed & Breakfast

TITLE: Bed & Breakfast
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Juna Suleiman / Baher Agbaria
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Arabic, English and Hebrew subtitles
TIME: 52 minutes
SOURCE:
TEXT: Mohammad, Majd, Hala and Bishara are four children living in the market neighborhood of the Old City of Nazareth, where it is believed that Jesus grew up. The place which has become an important site to pilgrims from around the world is revealed to be but just another poor abandoned neighborhood in town. The film follows each of the children trying to cope in this dilapidated neighborhood, as their parents continuously search for social and political explanations for the situation.

Brides of the Desert

TITLE: Brides of the Desert
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Ada Ushpiz
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Arabic and Hebrew, English and Hebrew subtitles
TIME: 90 minutes
SOURCE: Go 2 Films
TEXT: Miriam El Kwader, a Bedouin wedding photographer and mother of seven, living in an unknown and neglected Negev village, reveals through her camera lens, the world of Bedouin weddings; the most distressing issue revealed is polygamy. This is the story of three, relatively educated and independent women, trying to survive, each in their own way in their world - a life of polygamy. One is a "first wife", living in constant fear that her husband will bring home a second wife. The other two are pushed into marrying already married men, and become "second wives", forced to cooperate within a structure they despise or are afraid of. The family tragedies presented in this film, highlight the strength and survival of the social structures and their injustices; leaning usually on the victims'' partial cooperation.
About 40% of Bedouin women in the Negev live in polygamist families. The story of three such women is exposed through the lens of a Bedouin wedding photographer, who also lives in fear of her husband marrying another woman. From one wedding to another, the hardship of living under the polygamist system is revealed. Even independent, educated women find themselves "unwillingly choosing" to marry, like they say, as second, third or fourth wives. The stories of successful women, who are tempted to marry married men because of their old age, being divorced or an infatuation, show the power of a system, any system, that survives due to its victims' cooperation

Bruna

TITLE: Bruna
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Nili Tal
COUNTRY: Israel/Brazil
LANGUAGE: Portuguese and Hebrew
TIME: 53 minutes video
SOURCE: Nili Tal productions
TEXT: Twenty years ago, an Israeli family, the Tourgemans, adopted Bruna, a four month old Brazilian infant. After two years, the biological mother, Rosilda Vasgonsales, arrived in Israel claiming that Bruna had been kidnapped from her. With the help of a British television crew, Rosilda petitioned the high court. The Tourgemans tried to fight, but a psychiatrist's assessment asserted that the child would have no irreversible damage if she were to be returned to her biological mother. What has happened to Bruna since then? How did the court case affect the course of her life? Was the intervention of the television crew justified? Nili Tal returns to Brazil, and follows the events of Bruna and her biological parents.
This film presents a modern day "Solomon''s Trial". Twenty years ago, an Israeli family, the Tourgemans, adopted Bruna, a four month old Brazilian infant. After two years, the biological mother, Rosilda Vasgonsales, arrived in Israel claiming that Bruna had been kidnapped from her. With the help of a British television crew, Rosilda petitioned the high court. The Tourgemans tried to fight, but a psychiatrist sent an assessment to the court asserting that the child would have no irreversible damage if she were to be returned to her biological mother. What has happened to Bruna since then? How did the court case affect the course of her life? Was the intervention of the television crew justified? Nili Tal returns to Curitiba in Brazil, and follows the events of Bruna and her biological parents.

Grandma and Kfir

TITLE: Grandma and Kfir
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Adi Mizrahi
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew, English subtitles
TIME: 18 minutes
SOURCE:
TEXT: Grandmother and Kfir is quite an odd couple, two opposites who have nothing in common besides a shared grief. As the film unfolds the gap between the two of them widens: Grandma is an 80 year old who tries to keep her undisturbed routine while Kfir''s lifestyle is more suitable for younger people. The two develop a love and hate relationship under the same roof and try, the best as they can, to behave like a functional family.

Hamdi and Maria

TITLE: Hamdi and Maria
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Timor Britva
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Arabic and Hebrew, English and Hebrew subtitles
TIME: 19 minutes
SOURCE:
TEXT: Hamdi, a young Gazan construction worker has nearly lost his entire family to a stray Israeli missile. Hamdi''s daughter Maria, a vivacious and charming young girl, was mortally injured in the attack and was transferred to a hospital in Israel so she could receive the kind of care which is unavailable in Gaza. Hamdi follows his daughter and the film "Hamdi and Maria" exposes the viewer to the reality beyond the newspaper headlines.

Holy Fire

TITLE: Holy Fire
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Yoram Sabo
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew and English, Hebrew and English subtitles
TIME: 52 minutes
SOURCE:
TEXT: This film was shot over three years within one square kilometer of the old city of Jerusalem, as it moves from a Jewish holiday to a Muslim holiday, stopping off to celebrate with the Christians. Folded surreptitiously within each of these holidays is the inner truth of each religion. All these holidays are managed by a secular, police officer of the Old City, who attempts to navigate between the needs of all the religions, and finds himself in the role of nanny in one of the most complex and sensitive places in the world. By way of an impressive control center, into which pictures from 350 cameras in every street and alley are transmitted, police can be seen dispersing a Muslim demonstration after prayers; Muslim children in a playground, practicing throwing stones; an orthodox Jew aspiring to rebuild The Temple, prays defiantly at the Temple Mount despite it being prohibited, and the power struggles between the Greek and Armenian Patriarchs.

Jerusalem Cuts

TITLE: Jerusalem Cuts
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Liran Atzmor/ Noemi Schory, Itay Ken Tor - Belfilms. Esther van Messel - Firsthand Films
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew, English and Arabic, English and Hebrew subtitles
TIME: 52 minutes
SOURCE:
TEXT: A father bequeaths to his son images of war. But what happens when the pictures are plundered and disappear for 40 years? The film is the search for lost Palestinian photographs of the battle for Jerusalem in 1948. The Journey begins by looking at the photographs of a LIFE Magazine photographer, John Philips, whose combat photographs were published at the end of the battle. Five years later, Jack Padwa started production of the first big feature in Israel, "Hill 24 Does not Answer", inspired by the same battle. Today, 60 years after the battle for Jerusalem, rare photographs of the battle, by the first Muslim Palestinian photographer, Ali Zaarour, are discovered.

King Lati the First

TITLE: King Lati the First
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Uri Bar-on / Kobi Zaig, Uri Bar-on
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: Wolof, Russian, English and Serer, English and Hebrew subtitles
TIME: 70 minutes
SOURCE:
TEXT: Aziz Diouf, Lati''s father, arrived in Israel from Senegal as a foreign worker 17 years ago. Irena, Lati''s mother, immigrated to Israel from Belarus 15 years ago. Eight year old Lati is an Israeli as Western as can be, he likes McDonalds, is a big fan of Maccabi Tel-Aviv basketball club and speaks only Hebrew. One afternoon Lati''s life gets turned around when his father tells him that he is the guardian of a royal dynasty in Senegal. The father''s dream is for Lati to be king of the tribe one day, ruling over more than one million people. Diouf expects Lati to learn how to be king of an African tribe so that he can "save" the tribe and lead it back to its former glory. Who among us has not dreamt of being told that our trivial lives have been a horrible mistake and that we are instead destined to be kings?

Lemon Delicacy

TITLE: Lemon Delicacy
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Michal Aviad
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew, English Subtitles
TIME: 20 minutes
SOURCE:
TEXT: In the film "Lemon Delicacy", the director attempts to capture people and details of life at Haim Bokobza''''s canteen in the market of the old city of Ramla. The director says of her film that, "Haim''s Tunisian Sandwich canteen is filled with a crowd of dislocated people and refugees. There I found the essence of the Israeli existence - exposed of its ideological cloaking, it's chewed up clichés, and left bare".

My First War

TITLE: My First War
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Yariv Mozer / Yariv Mozer, Yael Perlov
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew, English subtitles
TIME: 80 minutes
SOURCE:
TEXT: "In the summer of 2006, I was suddenly drafted as a reserves soldier in the Second Lebanese War. Instinctively, I grabbed my video camera and thread a shoelace, securing it around my neck right next to my rifle. I said to myself this camera will mediate between myself and the reality into which I was thrown - the reality of war." Yariv Mozer documented feelings of frustration, helplessness, depression and sleepless nights. Situations of military entanglement, conflicting orders, the dead and wounded. After he had filmed his friends and the events around him during the war, the accusations, and the confession at the end, he started looking for the same soldiers that he had bumped into and were now burnt into his memory - they had become the heroes of his film. Theme Song: "If There Is Heaven", By Eyal Golan, music and lyrics by Doron Medalie.

Obsession

TITLE: Obsession
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Ohad Milstein
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew, English subtitles
TIME: 53 minutes
SOURCE:
TEXT: The film "Obsession" examines the idea, and state of mind of obsession. Obsession with death, knowledge, sex, control, exposure, hygiene and so on, whilst creating a connection between obsession, and the spirit of the times and modern life styles. After all, one can find obsession as the most common illness of the 21st century. What is "obsession" made of? How is obsessive thought formed and what feeds it? What purpose does it serve? How is it driven by infinite aspirations of those obsessed to reach a point of euphoria?

Post Scriptum

TITLE: Post Scriptum
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Alexandra Rahmilevich
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Ukrainian, English and Hebrew subtitles
TIME: 45 minutes
SOURCE:
TEXT: In the middle of nowhere in the midst of the vast plains of the Ukraine, stands Tevelivka, a small and remote village, not to be found in the most elaborate maps. It has no clinic and no doctor, no school and no children. There are no shops apart from the illegal grocery store. Out of the 300 people that used to live in the village in the seventies, 15 are left. Most of them are women. The film follows three women who get up every morning for their daily routine, then gather together on the only bench on the main road, a dirt road that nobody passes for days. This same road which leads to the local cemetery is full of tales, strong emotions and old memories.

Six Floors to Hell

TITLE: Six Floors to Hell
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Jonathan Ben Efrat / Nir Nader - Video 48, Claudia Levin - Claudius Films Ltd
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Arabic and Hebrew, English and Hebrew subtitles
TIME: 52 minutes
SOURCE:
TEXT: At Geha Junction, one of the busiest in the Tel Aviv area, hundreds of Palestinians live underground. Young and old, they slip into Israel to find work and bring a small wage home. Their hiding place is in the underground parking garage of an abandoned, unfinished shopping mall, hidden from view despite its location. They pass most nights of the week here, six floors below ground. One of the mall''s residents is Jalal who puts up with this hell in order to save money for his wedding while Nisrin, his fiancé, is waiting for him to finish the roof of their new house at Salem in the West Bank. From the darkness emerge still darker forms and ghostly voices. Under subhuman conditions, the men try to preserve their humanity. "In the dark", says Jalal, "the only thing left is to think about is love".

Strange Death

TITLE: Strange Death
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Shachar Magen / Amir Harel
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew, English subtitles
TIME: 60 minutes
SOURCE:
TEXT: Pnina Sharon, Pnina Goren and Pnina Ravitz, want to find out if there is any truth in the rumor that their grandmother, Pearl (Pnina) Apelboim (after whom they were named), was murdered as an act of revenge by members of the Nili resistance group. Pearl was accused of passing on information about the Nili members, who spied on the Turks for the British and who were finally caught, tortured, committed suicide or were hung. There are those who say that when Sarah Aharonson was being tortured, and her screams of pain were heard all over the settlement, their grandmother danced in the streets. All this brings the granddaughters and the film maker to re-examine the spying incident that took place during WWI, and to ask how the legend came about; can it be upturned, and who is actually the real hero of the story? Besides the journey of the ''Pninas'', the film also focuses on the people of Zichron Yaacov and their descendants, and proposes to outline their complex relationship with the Aharonson family, which over the years has become a family of heroes, and describe a place that even after 90 years hasn''t been able to let go of the past.

Six on Sixty

TITLE: Six on Sixty
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Anat Zeltser / Naama Pyritz
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew, English subtitles
TIME: 60 minutes
SOURCE:
TEXT: At the age of sixty a person can look back over his life - the skills he was given, the significant experiences, the scars, the achievements, the missed opportunities, the dreams that came true and the unavoidable disappointments. An interim summary; it''s definitely not the end yet, but it''s already a significant distance from the beginning. What about a state when it reaches 60, can it also do the same soul searching? The series, "Six on Sixty", tries to examine whether this is possible, and what conclusions can be drawn. This is done through the life stories of six Israelis who were born along with the State. Apart from their private and intimate experiences, historical events also left a mark on their lives - their parents were immigrants or refugees who, through them, tried to put down roots in their new land and give some kind of meaning to their suffering. They too were required to go to war, they lost family and friends; they believed in certain ideologies, and then had to deal with the disappointment when they collapsed. The series aims to present the complex, complicated and diverse mosaic - that is the State of Israel. The third episode of the series.

The Boys from Lebanon

TITLE: The Boys from Lebanon
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Ohad Ofaz / Itay Ken-Tor
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew and Arabic, English and Hebrew subtitles
TIME: 52 minutes
SOURCE:
TEXT: In May 2000, the South Lebanese Army (SLA) collapsed and its members fled from Hezbollah fighters into Israel, their ally who had abandoned them. 700 families of SLA refugees are living in Israel today. Pierre and Massoud are two sons of an SLA officer who brought his family to Israel when the two were boys. Pierre aspires to dedicate himself to the Lebanese music he loves, but he is forced to support his family instead. Massoud brings together a group of friends, all sons of former SLA fighters, and starts a basketball team called Erez Naharia ("Cedars of Naharia"). This is the story of young Lebanese men struggling to build their lives and realize their dreams on the ruins of war in Lebanon and exile in Israel.

The Prodigal Son

TITLE: The Prodigal Son
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Ben Halahliel Mercer
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English ST
TIME: 45 minutes
SOURCE:
TEXT: In 2000 my 25 year old brother, Kathriel, left the "Hebrew Israelite Community" in Dimona, and went to live in Tel Aviv. I follow my brother, trying to get to know him; trying to understand if he chose to leave or if he was expelled. I also try to restore his faith in our community - despite my intense desire to follow his path to independence. And thus, while my brother is busy finding his new life, I stay behind and fantasize about that way of life.

The Third One is on Its Way

TITLE: The Third One is on Its Way
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Shlomo Slutzky
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Spanish and Hebrew, English and Hebrew subtitles
TIME: 55 minutes
SOURCE:
TEXT: Ten years after the terror attacks against the Embassy of Israel and the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, an un-expected meeting pushes Shlomo Slutzky to leave his routine of correspondent of an Argentinian newspaper in Israel. He breaks out to a personal journey in Argentina and Israel in an effoert to unveil the truth behind the bare facts that obstacled the investigation of the attacks and having gone unpunished. Slutzky find himself in front of the indifference that spreads in Argentina, where he was born, and in Israel, where he chose to live.

Transparent Time

TITLE: Transparent Time
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Gali Meiri
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English ST
TIME: 52 minutes
SOURCE:
TEXT: At the age of 33, Eylon Nuphar, co-creator and founder of the Mayumana group, is at the peak of her career. One day, in the middle of a European tour, Eylon gets a distressing message: The mammogram that she had taken revealed a suspicious lump in her breast; and so it begins - she finds herself facing a whirlwind of challenges: Facing friends and the group, who discover new sides to her; sides they had never seen before despite years of working together. Facing her family, Eylon is the third generation in her family to have cancer. She also has difficulty coping with her partner, when "new love, that smells like freshly cut grass", suddenly changes into something real. The film "Transparent Time", allows us a glance into the extraordinary world of this exceptional young woman, who manages, against all odds, to find strength within fragility, and invites us to share her journey.

Up the Yangtze

TITLE: Up the Yangtze
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Yung Chang / Mila Aung-Thwin, Germaine Ying-Gee Wong, John Christou
COUNTRY: Canada
LANGUAGE: Mandarin Chinese w/ English ST
TIME: 93 minutes
SOURCE:
TEXT: Having lost their livelihood, the poor Chinese family watches from the banks of the Yangtze River as pleasure ships pass by, carrying tourists enjoying the breathtaking landscape. Of particular attraction are the many villages and even a town, about to disappear forever as they are submerged due to the construction of the world''s largest mega-dam, displacing over a million people. As the waters are rising towards an old shack we see the elderly father of the household walking along the river bank carrying an old, damaged cupboard on his back. Small deliberate steps contrasted against the backdrop of mega-progress. But really, the film follows some young Chinese employed on a cruise ship trying to make money off white tourists. And what does the white tourist say as the Chinese bartender welcomes him aboard with English?? He says, SHALOM. Ah yes, Israeli tourists are everywhere

Yideshe Mama

TITLE: Yideshe Mama
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Fima Shlick and Genadi Kuchuck
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew and Russian w/ English ST
TIME: 63 minutes
SOURCE:
TEXT: Zena, an immigrant from the former USSR, feels as if the skies are falling on her when her only child Gnadi announces his upcoming marriage to his girlfriend of four years Nurit, an immigrant from Ethiopia. Zena embarks on a campaign to put a stop to what she considers to be her son''s biggest mistake ever. This is a story about sacrifice, pain, love, prejudice and a struggle from which no one will be left unhurt.

You Name It

TITLE: You Name It
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Sigi Marx Arditi / Yifat Prestelnik - Yifat Prestelnik Films Ltd.
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English ST
TIME: 60 minutes
SOURCE:
TEXT: Two things we don''t choose: our parents, and the name they gave us. Not everyone likes the name they were given, but is it enough to change our name in order to take on a new identity? Maybe names do have an effect on our lives? The director, Sigi Marx Arditi, has an issue with her first name, a kind of mild obsession that has been bugging her since her army service. She sets out on a journey to the depths of her name in order to find out why we place so much importance on our name, and if there is a connection between someone''s name and the course of their life and destiny. During this journey she meets characters that have changed, or would like to change, their names, in order to change and improve their lives.

SHORT FILMS
A WAY OUT
Israel / 2008
Elad Pankovski
W.: Arthur Marchenko, Oksana Pashin
Sasha is a teenage shoplifter living in the Jerusalem suburbs. When he steals a car with a friend, his girlfriend Marina gets the blame. Sam Spiegel School of Film & Television, Jerusalem
18 minutes


ELIKO
Israel / 2008
Meni Yaish
Hebrew
Thursday nights are all about sex, drugs, and violence. Fridays are about tradition and family and sanctity. This is life for Eliko. Last Thursday raged out of control.
Minshar for Art, Tel Aviv
22 minutes


THE TUNNEL
Israel / 2008
Gennady Kuchuk
Hebrew
W.: Arthur Marchenko, Joel Msarva
A surprising encounter between Felix, a Russian-Israeli soldier, and Samir, a Hamas member, in the depths of a tunnel for smuggling weapons into the Territories. The tunnel turns into a death trap when its roof collapses and its exits are blocked. The two find themselves isolated from the outside world with weapons pointed at one another.
Minshar for Art, Tel Aviv
18 minutes


VIDA
Israel / 2008
Anat Malz
Hebrew
W.: Rosina Kambus, Tal Levi, Omri Soraya
Fifty-five-year-old Vida arrives, as every morning, to the her workspace to find an empty office. Two days in the life of a woman discharged from the workforce.
Sam Spiegel School of Film & Television, Jerusalem
18 minutes



7 Days

TITLE: 7 Days SHIV'A
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Ronit Elkabetz, Shlomi Elkabetz / Eilon Ratzkovsky, Jean Philippe Reza, Yochanan Kredo, Yossi Uzrad, Guy Jacoel
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew, French, Moroccan w/ English ST
TIME: 103 minutes
SOURCE: July August Productions, Tel Aviv
TEXT: Stars.: Albert Eloz, Ronit Elkabetz, Hana Azoulay Hasfari, Moshe Ivgy, Evelin Hagoel. One of the brothers of the Ohaion family dies. It is a large family. According to the tradition, the period of mourning begins after the funeral: the entire family goes to the home of the deceased, and nobody can leave for seven days. One must dedicate oneself to prayer for the soul of the deceased and tell him goodbye. Over the course of the week, they will sleep together on slim mattresses, eat light food, and go without shaving, taking a shower, or even changing clothes. The mourners are the six brothers, the two sisters, the spouse and her two children, as well as the mother. To these twelve people are added the brothers' wives, and some close friends. The action takes place during the 1991 Gulf War, and Saddam Hussein's missiles constitute a permanent threat. The family business of aluminum painting, which is their mutual source of income, is on the brink of bankruptcy, and debts pile up. With these multiple pressures, the Seven Days will put the family structure to the test. All the family's members must unite and show solidarity towards one another. They should be mourning their deceased brother and put aside any material worries, but instead, they reject the idea of death and the purpose of their meeting, to leave room for their old demons.

Bruriah

TITLE: Bruriah
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Avraham Kushnir / Avraham Kushnir
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: Hebrew, Yiddish with English ST
TIME: 90 minutes
SOURCE: Tura Communications Ltd., Jerusalem
TEXT: Stars Galron, Brener, Yisrael (Sasha) Damidov. Bruriah and her husband Rabbi Meir lived in the second century C.E., at which time the Rabbis declared that "women are light-minded." Bruriah, a most learned and intelligent woman, mocked their statement. In order to prove their justification, Rabbi Meir sent one of his students to seduce her. Bruriah was seduced and when she discovered that it had been planned by her husband, she committed suicide. This story infiltrates and creates turmoil in the life of a religious, Jerusalem family in 2008. The heroine of the film, who also bears the name Bruriah, struggles with a childhood trauma: a life of excommunication which was forced on her following the publication of her father's book on the same subject. Bruriah goes in search of the one copy of the book which may have survived. Her husband opposes her quest. Bruriah's desire to find that copy represents a threat to the way of life that he has created for his family. But Bruriah is unwilling to give up. The search for the book becomes a crusade during which she faces the compromises she has made in her life, her desires, and her limitations. Her husband Yaacov, faced with no alternative, decides to prove to his wife that really "women are light-minded."

For My Father

TITLE: For My Father Of Shavua b'Tel Aviv
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Dror Zahavi / Zvi Spielmann, Heike Wiehle-Timm, Shlomo Mograbi, in cooperation with Rami Damri Eviatar Dotan
COUNTRY: Israel Germany
LANGUAGE: Hebrew and Arabic with English ST
TIME: 102 minutes
SOURCE: Tim, Relevant Films, Hamburg, Spring Hill Entertainment and Praxis
TEXT: Stars: Shredi Jabarin, Hili Yalon, Shlomo Vishinski, Rozina Kambus, Haim Banai, Michael Moshonov Tarek, a young Arab man, is sent by a cell of the Tanzim from Tulkarm to Tel Aviv on a suicide mission. In the Carmel Market, he mingles among the shoppers, but the bomb he is wearing fails to explode. Thus, he is forced to spend the weekend in Tel Aviv among the people living in the market. He is hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Katz, an elderly electrician and his wife who lost their soldier son. Across the street, he meets Keren, a young woman who left the ultra-orthodox world and her family. Together, Tarek and Keren find comfort in their relationship and reveal their difficult life stories to one another. Gradually, the reasons that brought Tarek, a talented footballer on his way to becoming a professional player, to become a suicide bomber, emerge. Keren tells him of the circumstances that led her to live alone, far from the home where she was raised. Tarek becomes a part of Keren's life and that of the Katz family. Through them, he is exposed to a side of Israeli society unfamiliar to him, to joy and sorrow, to beauty and violence. The entire time, the explosive device remains strapped to his body, attached to a cellular phone through which his dispatchers can explode it at any moment. Tarek knows that when the weekend ends, he will have to make the decision of his life.

Out of the Blue

TITLE: Out of the Blue / Etsba Elohim
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Igal Burstyn / Shuki Friedman
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English ST
TIME: 92 minutes
SOURCE: Shuki Friedman Productions, Tel Aviv
TEXT: Stars Alon Aboutboul, Moshe Ivgy, Dorit Bar-Or, Zehavit Passi, Nir Levi, Liat Goren. Out of the Blue is a comedy about abortive loves and about a friendship which survives them. Shabtai, a junk peddler and Herzel, his aide, drive through the streets of Tel Aviv buying and selling used furniture and trash. Now and again, Shabtai takes a nap and in his dreams, a seductive and passionate red-haired woman makes love to him. One day, Shabtai discovers her photograph in a face-cream advertisement and realizes that the woman of his dreams really exists. He sets out to find her. But it is Herzel who first wins her attention and then her heart. Herzel, however, loves Batya.... Out of the Blue is an urban fairytale, an inverted Cinderella story. Instead of a poor, kind-hearted young girl-two elderly machos on a decrepit motorcycle; instead of a prince-a princess; instead of a shoe found at midnight-a shabby ping-pong table abandoned in a parking lot.

A World Without Words

TITLE: A WORLD WITHOUT WORDS / BE'OLAM AHER EIN MILIM
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Yael Reich , Itai Lev / Nitza Gonen
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English ST
TIME: 56 minutes
SOURCE: Gon Productions Ltd., Tel Aviv
TEXT: The life of Eilon Reich, an Israeli success story, changed overnight when two young drivers crashed into his car. The accident led to a severe head injury, prolonged loss of consciousness, and a lot of rage and pain. During the difficult rehabilitation process, Eilon's wife, model Miki Meimon, leaves him, and he, against all odds, decides to continue the rehabilitation on his own. He moves into a simple studio apartment, tries to reconstruct lost parts of his memory, and begins to paint. He paints and sculpts all of the pain that has built up inside him. His paintings are a recurring expression of the search for the things he lost, and a replacement for the loss of words. We witness Eilon's rehabilitation process through the point of view of Yael Reich, his sister, who takes part in the process, sometimes from overseas in her travels as an international model. While directing the film, Yael exposes how his accident changed her life as well. During the description of Eilon's arduous journey to return to himself, she describes the crises that she experiences in order to reach herself. But later on, she confesses that she is projecting her life onto Eilon's. Itai Lev, as co-director, puts order in the associative cinematic language and organizes the film into a cohesive, communicative structure.

Fog

TITLE: Fog
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Rafik Halabi / Osama Halabi
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew and Arabic w/ English ST
TIME: 57 minutes
SOURCE: Connect 100, Daliat El-Carmel
TEXT: Staff Sergeant Moain Halabi disappeared at the beginning of the Yom Kippur War, during a failed attempt by the IDF to conquer Mt. Hermon from the Syrians on October 8th, 1973. Two weeks later, the IDF announced that his body had been found. The coffin was brought to the Druze village of Daliat El-Carmel for burial. The IDF was adamant that the coffin would not be opened, because the body was in an advanced state of decay; the burial ceremony was thus accompanied by doubts and the hope that perhaps it was not their beloved Moain, who was buried in traditional Druze fashion in a civil cemetery, without headstone or marker. A month after the battle on the Hermon, a child was born in the village of Mrar in the Galilee, and his parents called him Roni. When he was four-years-old, Roni stated that he was reincarnated from Moain. He knew everything about him: his hobbies, his family members, the names of his friends, and most importantly, the story of his killing several minutes before a heavy fog hid him from the view of his comrades in arms. Apparently, this is a typical Druze story of reincarnation, except that in 1985, some of the residents of Daliat El-Carmel heard Moain speaking on Radio Damascus, recounting that in fact, he had been lightly wounded and was captured by the Syrians. The film's director, a member of Moain's family, journeyed through time, memory, the Druze religion, and the bloody Israeli reality in an effort to investigate what lies behind this complicated story. Simply put, is Moain still alive? The investigation, which attempts to present objective facts, reveals a reality shrouded by fog and where there is fog, there is also belief.

Hugo 2

TITLE: Hugo 2
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Yair Lev / David Deri
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English ST
TIME: 70 minutes
SOURCE: D.D. Productions, Tel Aviv
TEXT: "What will the world come to when the last of the Holocaust survivors dies?" "That does not worry me - I shall no longer be here." Sixty five years ago, Hugo Lev faced Dr. Mengele's selection in Auschwitz, where he vowed "if anyone gets out of here-that person shall be me." And survive he did. His lesson: "It is most important for a man to be strong." Today, confined to his wheelchair, he is struggling to come to terms with the fact his powers are receding. His son, Yair Lev, wishes to get closer to him. A dialogue is possible only when mediated by the camera and when discussing the Holocaust. Yair is terrified of a world with no survivors and is acutely aware of time running out, but years of distance between father and son leave their dialogue fragmented and painful. "Would I have survived there? Would my five-year-old son have survived?" This question refuses to let go of "second generation" Yair, and Hugo too wonders if his son, whom he views as "thin and frail," would have survived. In this huge gap between father and son, with the hypothetical and existential questions raised, there is a new and complex relationship developing: with the young child of the "third generation" as yet unaware of the role destined for him by both father and grandfather-to carry on that memory, to survive.

It's Not Me, It's My Sister

TITLE: IT'S NOT ME, IT'S MY SISTER / ZOT LO ANI, ZOT AHOTI
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Sharon Elovic
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English ST
TIME: 68 minutes
SOURCE: Sharon Elovic, Tel Aviv
TEXT: They are born in pairs-with the same horoscope, the same genetic code, the same potential, and the conflict of their shared identity. The film tells the story of three pairs of twins and their way of dealing with this miracle/error of nature. The first story is mine and my sister's and the pendulum of our relationship, moving between the extremes of suffocating intimacy and total estrangement. Haya and Edna, 53, have lived together since the day they were born. They dress alike, eat the same food, and go to the bathroom at the same time. Neither of them has ever lived with a man. Three years ago, following fertility treatments, Edna gave birth to twins, whom the two women are raising together. Now, they are forced to deal with a previously unknown asymmetry in their lives; one is a mother, the other is her sister. Sasha and Rafi are 69. Sasha is the "big brother." He claims that the twin who came into the world first is always stronger, and it is his duty to take care of his weaker twin. As if to realize this prophecy, Rafi becomes ill with Parkinson's disease. His deteriorating condition forces the brothers to cope with questions of inequality, guilt, and impending separation. How close can two people be without merging? Where do I end and my sister begins? The film deals with questions of identity, personal relations, intimacy and space, self-determination and choices.

Lake 68 / Agam 68

TITLE: Lake 68 / Agam 68
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Irit Shamgar / Marek Rozenbaum, Itay Tamir, Irit Shamgar, Andrzej Titkow
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: Hebrew, Polish with English ST
TIME: 59 minutes
SOURCE: Transfax, Tel Aviv
TEXT: Wanda lives in Sweden and longs for the stench of the buses in Warsaw in summertime; Ulla learned that she was Jewish at age 15; and Yolek says: "Once you're displaced, you no longer have a home. Every year, in the summer, we meet here. This is our nest." We meet all three at "Lake 68," in a village house on the shore of Lake Dworzec in northern Poland. They and their parents, members of the Polish communist elite, were forced to leave their homes in 1968 with the onset of an anti-Semitic campaign. They received exit visas for Israel, but most went to Sweden. Their last weeks in Poland were spent in a village, in the house where the film takes place. Dozens of people crowded into two rooms. The yard became a displaced persons' camp and was known as "Mt. Zion" by the locals. The house belongs to Irena Holland and in the past was also the home of my late father, Stash, who was her husband and from whom I was separated at age seven. Now, I come to meet the people with whom he lived. We sit every evening on the porch, light the hearth, roast sausages and enjoy the "flavors of childhood": blackberries in cream. All of us are fascinated by the stories of our parents, who suddenly became "alien elements" and were reported upon in secret documents, only now made public.

Nuran

TITLE: Nuran
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Amikam Shossberger / David Mandil, Nurit Kedar
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew, Arabic with English ST
TIME: 60 minutes
SOURCE: Movie Plus Productions, Tel Aviv
TEXT: Eight-year-old Nuran is kidnapped from her doorstep in Tul Karem while the city is under full curfew, and smuggled into Israel. After the kidnapping, having despaired of the Israeli and Palestinian Police forces' efforts, Nuran's parents conduct a search for her themselves. The state of warfare between Israel and the Palestinian Authority-and the many closures still active in the area-do not allow the complete freedom of movement needed for the search, but Nuran's parents do not give up and are doing everything to return their kidnapped daughter back home.

On The Move / Hayav Lazuz

TITLE: ON THE MOVE / HAYAV LAZUZ
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Avida Livny / Yael Biron, Gidi Avivi, Dror Nahum
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English ST
TIME: 75 minutes
SOURCE: Gidi Avivi, Yael Biron, Dror Nahum, Tel Aviv
TEXT: For ten years, Ehud Banai went around with a recording sample that nobody wanted to hear. In 1985, aged 32, Banai worked as a gardener and was still seeking a gateway into the Israeli music industry. Yossi Elephant was a great guitarist who dreamt of being an international rock legend, but hadn't managed to penetrate the Tel Aviv club scene. He had a heart defect and felt that he was going to die young. Outsiders Banai and Elephant formed a rock group whose other members (Jean-Jacques Goldberg, Gil Smetana, and Noam Zide Halevy) had not found their niche in Israeli culture or society either. Banai decided to call the band The Refugees. They produced a single record that didn't sell well at the time, and held performances for small audiences. But they were also a group that offered boundless musical passion and professionalism, friendship and rivalry, and primarily authentic, innovative Israeli rock that garnered enthusiastic fans and laid the foundations for one of the greatest careers in Israeli music. From provincial Ramat Gan of the 1960s, via Amsterdam and London, in private houses in Karkur and Rosh Pina, from depression in New York and delirious concerts played to tiny audiences in Eilat, to the West Coast of the US, a unique friendship formed among a group of artists that only death could separate. Music: Ehud Banai and the Refugees, Yossi Elephant

THE GREEN DUMPSTER MYSTERY / HATA'ALUMA BAMEHOLA HAYERUKA

TITLE: THE GREEN DUMPSTER MYSTERY / HATA'ALUMA BAMEHOLA HAYERUKA
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Tal Haim Yoffe / Tal Haim Yoffe
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English ST
TIME: 50 minutes
SOURCE: One Man Films, Ramat Gan
TEXT: During Passover 2007, traveling on my scooter through southern Tel Aviv's Florentine industrial zone, I suddenly noticed a very old photograph inside a green dumpster. Upon removing it from the container, I noticed that underneath the photograph were additional ones, as well as a couple of documents. I took my findings home and "Googled" the names of the people mentioned in the documents. I could only find reference to one of the documents, so to trace the others, I had to implement "real detective work." The Green Dumpster Mystery became a docu-detective film, slowly unwinding a tragic family history beginning in ?odz, Poland, transversing a Siberian Gulag, a Samarkand sugar plant, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the "Gordonia" kibbutz movement in Frankfurt, a Haha'apala ship embarking from an Italian port, a single-room apartment in a deserted Arab building in Jaffa, and an absentee IDF soldier somewhere in the sands of the Sinai Peninsula. Just an anonymous family, this family's saga could be fodder for ten heroic genre Hollywood motion pictures, or, alternatively ten Greek tragedies.

THE TALE OF NICOLAI & THE LAW OF RETURN

TITLE: THE TALE OF NICOLAI & THE LAW OF RETURN / HA'AGADA AL NICOLAI VEHOK HASHVUT
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: David Ofek / Edna Kowarsky, Elinor Kowarsky
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew Romanian w/ English ST
TIME: 54 minutes
SOURCE: Eden Productions, Tel Aviv
TEXT: Nicolai's story begins in a tiny, remote village in the Romanian region of Moldavia. With the collapse of communism, Nicolai-like thousands of other villagers-suddenly finds himself out of work, so he decides to seek his fortune overseas, far from his family and home. For three years, he works as a guest laborer in Israel, exploited to the hilt by the company that sent him there. He has little contact with his wife, who gives birth to his second child in his absence. Finally, determined to gain control of his destiny, Nicolai flees his employer and becomes "illegal." He is caught by the police and sent to prison, but suddenly, his life takes an abrupt turn. Nicolai plays himself in this film, and relives the dramatic events of his life. As his story unfolds, the film raises questions about our own lives in Israel and the laws that define our national identity.

Pinhas

TITLE: Pinhas
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Pini Tavger
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew and Russian w/ English ST
TIME: 32 minutes
SOURCE: Pini Tavger , Tel Aviv
TEXT: Stars: Anthony Berman, Evgenya Dodina. Eight-year-old Pinhas comes from a Russian family. He lives alone with his mother who works the nightshift at a supermarket and is having an affair with a married man. Pinhas is drawn to the warmth of the religious family living upstairs. The trouble begins when the two worlds collide.

Mika

TITLE: Mika
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Merav Hatav
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew, Russian with English ST
TIME: 27 minutes
SOURCE: Ma'ale School, Jerusalem
TEXT: W.: Lucy Dovinchik, Didi Gat. Mika speaks about Israeli society from a woman's point of view. Mika, a beautiful foreigner, tries to make her way through a cruel society. Against all odds, she lives the power struggle between man and woman.

To Take a Breath

TITLE: To Take a Breath
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Orna Levy
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w English ST
TIME: 40 minutes
SOURCE: Orna Levy, Jerusalem
TEXT: W.: Liat Glik, Yoav Hait. Sara, Shlomo, Hadas, and David-members of a bourgeois Jerusalem family-are on their way to a day at the beach. Sara invites Amnon, their friend, to join them. As the day proceeds, the plans get disrupted and the oppressiveness of Sara and Shlomo's relationship is revealed.

The House on Tabenkin Street

TITLE: THE HOUSE ON TABENKIN STREET / HABAYIT BEREHOV TABENKIN
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Liviu Carmely / Yariv Mozer
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew, Romanian w/ English ST
TIME: 86 minutes
SOURCE: Mozer Films, Tel Aviv
TEXT: Construction works across from director Liviu Carmely's house raise questions about the meaning of the words home, parenthood, and family. Liviu was born in Romania and as a child was abandoned by his mother. He never knew his father. As a boy, he drifted from house to house, until immigrating to Israel. After yeas of struggle he now has a house of his own; he has also become a father. During the movie, his relationship with his son Dean intertwines with the father-son relationships of the construction workers (Jews, Arabs, Romanians, and Chinese). Liviu documents the rising building along with his son's growth, hinting at a metaphorical relation between the two. Liviu is drawn to search into his own past and his childhood in Romania. He succeeds in locating his mother, whom he has not seen in over 40 years. In this dramatic encounter he makes his first attempt to reveal his father's identity. The House on Tabenkin Street portrays a personal journey that combines the private and the public and in which past and present are deeply intertwined. The building of a house as a symbol of life itself.

TITLE:
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD:
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME:
SOURCE:
TEXT:

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