The UK International Jewish Film Festival 2017 returns to Manchester, 11-26 November, this year the UK International Jewish Film Festival will celebrate its 21st birthday with a special selection of premieres to screen at Cineworld Didsbury and HOME, from 11-26 November.
For over two decades the UKIJFF has blossomed into one of the nation’s most eagerly anticipated dates in the film calendar. This year’s coming-of-age programme will ensure it remains so with its most diverse programme yet, including world, European and UK premieres of the best new Israeli and Jewish cinema on offer to audiences.
Michael Etherton, Chief Executive said: “At the heart of this 21st anniversary Festival is a spirit of openness to fresh ideas, new creative talent, and to telling stories from unexpected places that
challenge stereotypes and preconceptions. It’s this dynamism and openness that has helped UK Jewish Film reach more and more people year on year and over the last 12 months it has been our
pleasure to welcome more than 28,000 attendees to our screenings and events. For this year’s
Festival we are proud to bring to our diverse audiences 75 films from more than 20 countries at 115 screenings across London, Belfast, Leeds, Manchester and Nottingham.”
The UKIJFF is proud to announce this year’s Opening Night Gala will be the eagerly awaited premiere of An Act of Defiance, directed by Jean van de Velde, and held on Saturday 11 November at Cineworld Didsbury. Set in South Africa, 1963, it is based on the true story of ten black and Jewish men who are arrested for conspiring against the Apartheid system. Led by fellow defendant Nelson Mandela, the group plead not guilty, which in turn highlights the corrupt political system in power. This riveting, taut drama captures a pivotal moment in the fight against racism and explores the role of South African Jews in making Apartheid history.
Further premieres will include Ferenc Török’s 1945, a powerful and innovative study of a post-war, village community and is likely to be a contender for the Festival’s Best Film Award. A Quiet Heart, by Eitan Anner, stars Ania Bukstein as a young secular woman who moves to an ultra-Orthodox community, in what becomes a dark, psychological thriller. The new work from cinema veteran Avi Nesher previews with Past Life, a tale of two sisters who delve into the mystery of their father’s former life in Poland during World War II.
Erez Tadmor’s award-winning Home Port is an absorbing social drama that examines the effects of corporate privatisation on the ideologies of family relationships when an absent father attempts to mend the relationship with his adult daughter. Brotherly love and the longing to be reunited with family is a contrasting theme in the heartrending, true story A Bag of Marbles by Christian Duguay, set in occupied France, 1942.
A selection of documentaries will screen followed by Q&As. The Essential Link: The Story of Wilfred Israel, by Yonatan Nir, explores the tale of a forgotten hero who saved thousands of Jews, was integral to the Kindertransport and worked in partnership with British intelligence during WWII. Fiona Murphy presents her fascinating exploration of the rich Jewish life and culture that had flourished in Iraq before the events of the late 20th and early 21st centuries made a colossal and dramatic impact in Remember Baghdad. The Indian conductor Zubin Mehta has developed strong ties with the State of Israel and has become the face of its cultural excellence since joining the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra in 1969. Bettina Erhardt’s Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds reflects on his life and career as the maestro looks forward to his 80th birthday.
A savvy selection of crowd-pleasers such as Shlomit Nehama and Emil Ben-Shimon’s The Women’s Balcony – the most commercially successful film to date in Israel – and Shady Srour’s Holy Air fresh from Tribeca, promise to entertain and enliven audiences. This will continue with the Closing Night Gala and the UK Premiere of Francesco Amato’s heart-warming comedy Let Yourself Go!, starring Toni Sevillo. An hilarious case of mutual life-coaching ensues when a distinguished psychiatrist is advised to get a personal trainer and the two discover that both minds and bodies need an overhaul in what promises to be a mood-lifting finale.