WOMAN IN GOLD’s HELEN MIRREN and STEVE JOBS’ AARON SORKIN TO BE HONORED OPENING NIGHT; BABA JOON, ISRAEL’s OFFICIAL ENTRY TO THE 2016 ACADEMY AWARDS FOR BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM.
SET FOR U.S. PREMIERE ON IFF OPENING NIGHT
DR. SHARON S. NAZARIAN TO BE HONORED WITH 2015 IFF HUMANITARIAN AWARD
FESTIVAL RUNS OCTOBER 28th – NOVEMBER 19th
Twenty-nine narrative and documentary films, including three 2016 Oscar contenders, 10 World Premieres, 7 US Premieres and 7 Los Angeles Premieres, will screen at the 29th ISRAEL FILM FESTIVAL in Los Angeles, the largest showcase of Israeli films and television programming in the United States, announced Meir Fenigstein, IFF’s founder and executive director. The extraordinary range of award-winning, critically praised and commercially successful Israeli films and Academy Award contenders will all be celebrated October 28th – November 19th at the Ahrya Fine Arts by Laemmle (Beverly Hills), the Laemmle Music Hall 3 (Beverly Hills), the Laemmle Royal (West Los Angeles), the Laemmle Town Center 5 (Encino) and Laemmle NoHo 7 (North Hollywood), with the Opening Night at the Steve Tisch Cinema Center in the Saban Theatre (Beverly Hills).
Dr. Sharon S. Nazarian will be honored with this year’s IFF Humanitarian Award. She is the President of the Y&S Nazarian Family Foundation, with a regional office in Israel named the Ima Foundation. The focus on education and public policy is core to Sharon’s philanthropic perspective. She currently teaches as an adjunct professor at the University of California Los Angeles in the Department of Political Science. She is also the founder of the Younes & Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies at UCLA and Chair of its Advisory Board. The Center is housed in the International Institute at UCLA in order to provide a systematic and academic study of Israel.
As previously announced, Helen Mirren will be honored with the 2015 IFF Career Achievement Award and Aaron Sorkin will be receiving the 2015 IFF Achievement in Film & Television Award at the Opening Night Gala taking place on Wednesday, October 28th at the Steve Tisch Cinema Center at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills.
Among this year’s highlights are Baba Joon, Israel’s entry to the 2016 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film and winner of the Israel Academy Ophir Award for Best Picture, which will be the Opening Night film, and a special tribute screening of Woman in Gold, starring IFF honoree Helen Mirren, on Sunday, October 31st at the Ahrya Fine Arts by Laemmle in Beverly Hills.
Actors and filmmakers from Israel will attend this year’s Festival, accompanying their films and participating in Q & A sessions, including:
10% MY CHILD: Uri Bar-On – Writer/Director/ Producer
AFTERTHOUGHT: Elad Keidan – Director
BABA JOON: Yuval Delshad– Writer/Director; David Silber – Producer; Navid Negahban – Actor/Producer; David Diann – Actor
ENCIRCLEMENTS: Lee Gilat – Writer/Director
FAUDA: Lior Raz – Actor/Writer
FIRE BIRDS: Amir Wolf– Writer/Director; Isaac Wolf – Writer
GALIS: Yoni Paran– Producer
HAGIGA LA’AINANIM: Arik Bernstein – Producer
IBIZA: Shay Kanot – Director; Ofer Naim – Producer
MARRYING AN ICE CREAM FACTORY: Ranni Midyan – Director
SABENA: Nati Dinnar – Producer
“For the first time ever, nearly 100% of the best films chosen this year by the members of Israeli Academy of Film and Television, including writing, directing, producing and acting winners and nominees of the Ophir Award, Israel’s equivalent of the Academy Award, will screen at the Israel Film Festival in Los Angeles,” said Meir Fenigstein, IFF’s founder and executive director. “On top of that, the Festival has truly become one of Hollywood’s very first stopping points during the Academy Award campaign season to showcase Oscar contenders, as witnessed by the participation of Helen Mirren, Aaron Sorkin and Baba Joon this year.”
Tickets, including theatre locations, dates and times, are available for purchase at www.IsraelFilmFestival.com. For additional information, call the IsraFest Foundation, Inc. at 310/247-1800 or email email@example.com.
For nearly three decades, the Festival has presented over 900 feature films, documentaries, television dramas and short films to 950,000 filmgoers and brought hundreds of Israeli filmmakers to the U.S. to share their art. The ISRAEL FILM FESTIVAL is produced by IsraFest Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization created in 1982. Among the Sponsors of the 29th ISRAEL FILM FESTIVAL are long-time partners Israel Film Fund, The Hollywood Reporter, Rabinovitch Film Fund, Variety, The Jerusalem Film and TV Fund, Eclipse, Millennium Films, The IAC (Israeli American Council), The ATLS World Wide, Maurice Marciano Family Foundation, Diane & Guilford Glazer Foundation, Bank Leumi USA, Four Seasons Hotel, The Orlando, Clear Channel, New Regency Productions, Clear Channel, Yvel,Menchie’s and the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles, to name a few.
ABOUT THE FEATURE FILMS
BABA JOON – באבא ג’ון
IFF OPENING NIGHT FILM – US Premiere
Yitzhak runs the turkey farm his father built with his own two hands after they emigrated from Iran to Israel. When his son Moti turns thirteen, Yitzhak teaches him the trade, hoping that he will continue the proud family tradition. But Moti doesn’t like working in the turkey barn; his passion is fixing up junkyard cars and bringing them back to life.
Moti’s mother Sarah tries to reconcile between the two, while his grandfather pushes Yitzhak to take a firm hand with his son.
Yitzhak takes Moti’s refusal to work in the turkey barn as a personal rejection. Though he loves his son dearly, he makes it his mission to impose the family farm on Moti.
The arrival of Darius, the uncle from America, sets off a chain of events that will undermine the familial harmony. Soon enough Yitzhak will learn that his son is just as stubborn as he is. The conflict is inevitable.
Post Q&A with filmmakers: Yuval Delshad, Writer/Director; David Silber, Producer; Navid Negahban, Actor/Producer; David Diann, Actor
2015 Toronto International Film Festival – Official Selection
2015 Israeli Academy Ophir Awards – Winner Best Picture
Israel’s entry for the 2016 Oscar™ Awards in the Best Foreign Language Film category
10% MY CHILD – 10% ילדה שלי
Los Angeles Premiere
Dir: Uri Bar-On
When eight year old Franny discovers the 26 year old Nico in her mother’s bed, they get off to a bad start. While Nico tries to woo Franny’s mom, Franny gets stuck between her mother, her jealous father and Nico who has now been appointed official babysitter. Will Nico be able to win Franny’s mom’s heart and Franny’s affection? How will Franny and Nico find a common ground in the heart of bustling Tel-Aviv?
In this sweet drama of a love/hate relationship, Franny and Nico learn to love and hate one another – usually at the same time…
Post Q&A with filmmaker: Uri Bar-On, Writer/Director/Producer
AFTERTHOUGHT – היורד למעלה
Dir: Elad Keidan
Haifa on a sunny day. Moshe is a crumbling man walking up the Carmel Mountain on yet another work day. Will this day mark his collapse? Uri walks down the mountain to board a ship and leave behind all the things he loves and despises. His sense of belonging is losing ground. He is likely to miss his military reserve service-call, thus risking jail. Will the two collide or pass through one another?
An existential comedy, where the overbearing mountain with its endless stairs takes control over destinies in this unique panorama of the Mediterranean port city.
Post Q&A with filmmaker: Elad Keidan, Director
2015 Cannes Film Festival – Official Selection
2015 Haifa Film Festival – Winner Best Picture
2015 Israeli Academy Ophir Awards – Nominee
BARASH – ברש
Los Angeles Premiere
Dir: Michal Vinik
A girl falling in love. A family falling apart.
17 year old Naama Barash enjoys alcohol, drugs and hanging out with like-minded friends. Her activities are an escape from a home where her parents always fight, and a rebellious, army-enrolled sister, who, one day, disappears. As a new girl shows up at school, Barash falls deep in love for the first time, and the intensity of the experience at once confuses her and gives her life new meaning.
ENCIRCLEMENTS – הקפות
Los Angeles Premiere
Dir: Lee Gilat
Thirteen year old Aharon Ninio, the only child of parents who are unable to conceive again, is determined to win the honor of carrying the Torah scrolls on Simhat Torah. The belief that he who carries the Torah may ask God for anything on behalf of others can elevate Aharon’s status in the neighborhood and win his distant father’s approval and love. But after Aharon wins the honor, his achievement brings ancient tensions to the surface. This tension becomes unbearable and on the night of the honorary round, the Torah slips from his hands and shatters on the ground and the symbolic, happy ceremony becomes a life-threatening struggle.
“Encirclements” uses cultural and religious rituals to depict the kind of private ceremonial traditions that exist in every family – all within the tumultuous and humor-filled life of people who are on the margins of society.
Post Q&A with filmmaker: Lee Gilat, Writer/Director
2015 Toronto Jewish Film Festival – Official Selection
FIRE BIRDS – ציפורי חול
Dir: Amir Wolf
The body of an eighty-year-old man is found in the Yarkon River, with three stab wounds in his chest. For Amnon, a police officer in his forties who was put in charge of the investigation, this will be his first case after a lengthy suspension
From this point onward, the plot alternates between past and present, weaving the story of the criminal investigation with that of the murder victim and the events that led up to his death. The plot revolves around two men, who seem to have been purged from society and their efforts to rejoin the society that rejected them
Post Q&A with filmmakers: Amir Wolf, Writer/Director; Isaac Wolf, Writer
2015 Montreal Film Festival – Official Selection
2015 Israeli Academy Ophir Awards – Nominee
GALIS – גאליס
Dir: Oded Raz
At the peak of his fame, Jonathan is thrown into an adventure in ASTRA, a post-apocalyptic world, dominated by a cruel ruler. In this rough world, in which he has no fans or entourage, he must prove himself and his capabilities in order to survive. Leading a group of rebels, Jonathan tries to save Astra from the hands of its tyrant and gain a lesson about leadership, friendship and above all about love.
Post Q&A with filmmaker: Yoni Paran, Producer
GUAVAS – גויאבות
Dir: Kobi Mahat
In a shared building at a little local council, live together puppets and humans. Billy, a little girl who moves in with her family starts exploring the corners of the building and the Guava tree.
The head of the council that lives in the next door building is annoyed by the Guavas falling into his garden and decides to uproot the tree. Billy goes out to fight him.
IBIZA – איביזה
Dir: Shay Kanot
Yam- a young surfer from a well based family, lives his life without an stress, effort, income or even a minimal concern for anyone except himself or his God- gets all the way to Ibiza, chasing money, in order to prove he’s not a ” lazy nobody”, as his father says.
This is the story of three young friends looking for freedom, a short getaway from Israel’s reality to the ultimate escape… Ibiza!
Life is beautiful… Yam is already 24 years old, but still doesn’t feel like it’s time to do something with he’s life. 5 years of serving the Israeli’s navy Seals were more than enough for him. Ever since he released he’s “refusing to intervene in God’s plans” for him. So he doesn’t work study or even get a haircut.
The story opens as he wins Israel’s national surfing championship, not out of real interest, but out of the inertia, the flow. He’s father hates the idea of surfing and keeps provoking him for the “lazy nobody” he becomes. Although Yam doesn’t give a dam, He just goes with the flow…
Until one fine day, he is forced to take the initiative when his young brother, Asaf, is injured in a surfing accident, which could have been prevented if Yam was less concerned with his own.
Now he’s dad is not willing to pay for Asaf’s surgery. “It is Yam to blame, and that is why he should be the one pay”, as he puts it. Yam accepts the challenge by his father and goes along with his two friends; ruthless and self-serving Daniel, and horny and chubby Eran, to pursuit after $10,000, which is the cost of Asaf’s surgery and rehabilitation.
They decide to fly to Ibiza as they assign Yam to a local surfing contest in which the prize for the winner is a gold bar worth $150,000. Together they search for freedom, an escape from Israel’s pressured society.
The moment they land in Ibiza, As If their troubles are not enough, they get involved against their will in a huge international crime, run by two dodgy characters; Josh, a local mobster and former military officer, and Hulk Hogan, the admired legendary wrestler. Every passing day at the crazy party- rocking Island the three friends get pushed more and more into serving Josh and Hulks risky muster plan of becoming multi- millionaires. Radical situations they’re forced to go through, puts their long lasting friendship to the test.
The wild journey matures them and gives a new meaning to their lives.
Post Q&A with filmmakers: Shay Kanot, Director; Ofer Naim, Producer
THE KIND WORDS
Three siblings reeling from the death of their mother, and the revelation about the identity of their “real” father set off on a quirky journey. The adventure leads them from Israel to Paris and Marseille, but ultimately into their shared past and revelations about their individual selves.
Nominee – Best Feature Film Israeli Academy (Ophir) Awards,2015, Official Selection – 2015 TIFF
LAUGH LINES – קמטי צחוק
Dir: Pini Eden
Where roads are paved with good intentions.
Dana, 24, carries the load of her family on her shoulders while Hannah, her grandmother, senses life coming to an end. Fate intervenes amongst
lies and deception to grant one last chance of reprieve with an unexpected twist.
A “once in a lifetime” Gift, leads to a crucial result.
Creative plot and beautiful, artistic film making combined with talented, real-life characters who wear their hearts on their sleeve.
MAN IN THE WALL – האיש שבקיר
Dir: Evgeny Ruman
One night. One apartment. One missing person.
Rami takes his dog on a walk and does not return. He disappeared. His wife, Shir, is clueless as to his whereabouts. Different people come in and out of the apartment during that night – each for their own reasons.
Could one of them hold the key to the mystery?
PETER THE THIRD– פטר השלישי – קומדיה רומנית
Dir: Tommy Lang
This is the story of Peter, a 65 year old widower, a theater actor who never got a lead role. Now he lives every day like the day before: he goes to work, goes to the coffee shop where he meets his Romanian friends. They jokingly encourage him to run for the Knesset so as to receive a Knesset member’s pension. With help from Alona, a 28 year old talented waitress who writes blogs, they set up The Widows and Widowers Party. Everyone pitches in to get the 120 signatures necessary and register at the Registrar of Political Parties. Alona gives Peter a gift, a play she wrote for him titled “Peter III-the story of a widower”. Peter reads the play and is deeply moved.
WOMAN IN GOLD – אישה בזהב
TRIBUTE SCREENING TO IFF CAREER ACHIEVEMENT HONOREE HELEN MIRREN
Dir: Simon Curtis
WOMAN IN GOLD is the remarkable true story of one woman’s journey to reclaim her heritage and seek justice for what happened to her family. Sixty years after she fled Vienna during World War II, an elderly Jewish woman, Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren), starts her journey to retrieve family possessions seized by the Nazis, among them Klimt’s famous painting Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I. Together with her inexperienced but plucky young lawyer Randy Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds), she embarks upon a major battle which takes them all the way to the heart of the Austrian establishment and the U.S. Supreme Court, and forces her to confront difficult truths about the past along the way.
YONA – יונה
Dir: Nir Bergman
Yona is based on the turbulent life story of Yona Wallach, one of the greatest poets to have written in the Hebrew language. The film focuses on a period when Wallach was not yet a household name, but a young woman from the countryside, orphaned by father, making her first steps in the realm of Hebrew poetry. The time is the early sixties and Wallach’s battle for recognition takes place in a chauvinistic, male-dominant environment of poets, which is already replete with generational bad blood. With her breakthrough and the inevitable transition from the countryside to the big city, Yona – who is immersed in testing her own limits and wants to experience everything – undergoes a mental breakdown. During those years, mental patients were treated with LSD in a way that did not help improve their condition, to say the least. Her struggle to resume writing and attain immortality in the canon of Hebrew poetry – the price she was willing to pay for that immortality – is the film’s main plotline
ABOUT THE DOCUMENTARIES
THE BENWICH SYNDROME – סינדרום בנטביץ’
Dir: Gur Bentwich & Maya Kenig
The saga of a restless & relentless Anglo-Jewish family which, according to its founding fathers, served as God’s gift to Zionism, is exposed by the director, a member of the family himself, from an alternative humorous angle.
Los Angeles Premiere
After the ’67 war, a group of kibbutzniks, led by renowned author Amos Oz, recorded intimate conversations with soldiers returning from the battlefield. These interviews reveal when Israel turned from David to Goliath. The Israeli army censored the recordings. ‘Censored Voices’ reveals the original recordings in their entirety for the first time.
Nominee – Best Documentary Israeli Academy (Ophir) Awards, 2015
ISRAEL FILM INDUSTRY SERIES – HAGIGA LA-EINAIM
Dir: Noit Geva
A milestone documentary series about the history of Israeli cinema, featuring hundreds of interviews and a wealth of rare archival footage.
Post Q&A with filmmaker: Arik Bernstein, Producer
MARRYING AN ICE CREAM FACTORY– להתחתן עם בית חרושת לגלידה
Dir: Ranni Midyan
Velvel, Ranni’s father, was a rather poor orphan, who married Raya Strauss and began working in the family owned factory (which start as a small dairy farm and became one of the biggest food conglomerate in Israel). They divorced when Ranni was 10, and for him, his father remained this strict meticulous withdrawn man who tore the family apart. 8mm reels, discovered after his death arouse questions that lead Ranni to embark on a personal journey between his parents’ very different worlds in an attempt to better understand his father and the complexities of family loyalty, trying to overcome years of alienation. Looking at his family from behind the camera, he is reshaping his memories.
Post Q&A with filmmaker: Ranni Midyan, Director
MATTI CASPI – CONFESSION – מתי כספי – וידוי
Dir: Dalia Mevorach and Dani Dothan
A confession-film in which Matti Caspi, a leading Israeli musician, reveals a lifetime of struggle. A musically gifted child who suffered from polio, raised in a family without love in a kibbutz in the 1950’s, through the days of military band, musical hits, stardom after which came an endless downfall.
ONCE UPON A TIME THERE WAS A KING – היה היה מלך
Dir: Doron Djerassi
Nissim Aloni was a king of the Hebrew theater. The magical realm he created on stage brimmed with imagination and poetry, giving voice and vision to the loftiest dreams. But in a world dominated by a mundane, populist democracy and controlled by functionaries, Aloni found he was a king in exile, without a kingdom, without an audience, without critics, and without theater managers to share his whimsical dreams.
SABENA – סבנה
Dir: Nati Dinnar
On the eighth of May 1972, 4 hijackers from the Palestinian organization “Black September” took control of Belgian Sabena Flight 571 from Brussels to Tel Aviv.
The hijacking marked the beginning of thirty nerve-wracking hours, bounding together fascinating human, military and political drama inside and outside of the plane.
Sabena Hijacking – My Version presents a cinematic reenactment of the events, weaved with genuine archive material and exclusive interviews three revered Israeli political leaders who were in charge of the rescue effort at the time, as well as the only surviving hijacker.
Sabena Hijacking – My Version is a captivating, fast-paced docu-drama full of suspense, which poses significant political and historical questions that are not only still important, but have shaped the Israel of today.
Post Q&A with filmmaker: Nati Dinnar, Producer
ABOUT THE SHORT FEATURES
APRIL FOOL’S – אחד באפריל
Dir: Jonathan Dekel
An old tape reveals a practical joke that went terribly wrong. The revelation leads to an unexpected search – not only for the prankster, but for the filmmaker himself.
AYA – איה
Dir: Mihal Brezis & Oded Binnun
Two strangers unexpectedly meet at an airport. He mistakenly assumes her to be his assigned driver. She, enchanted by the random encounter, does not hurry to prove him wrong.
PARIS ON THE WATER – פריז על המים
Los Angeles Premiere
Dir: Hadas Ayalon
Bathya is a former film star who feels that her life is finally about to change. After years of frustration she is offered a part in a movie, but something happens in the morning of the audition, that forces her to reexamine her priorities in life.
2014 Student Academy Award – Best Foreign Film (Silver). Winner– Best Short Film Israeli Academy (Ophir) Awards, 2013.
ABOUT THE SHORT DOCUMENTARIES
PARTNER WITH THE ENEMY – האוייבת שלי, השותפה שלי
Los Angeles Premiere
Dir: Duki Dror, Chen Shelach
In the midst of the ever-fraught Israeli-Palestinian political landscape, two women, one Israeli and one Palestinian, attempt the seemingly impossible: to build a business together. Fighting against societal and family pressure, anti-normalization currents and a chauvinistic, male-dominated industry, the two combine forces to create a logistics company which helps Palestinian businessmen to navigate the everyday absurdities of Israeli control of the West Bank. But while they help their clients to overcome the obstacles of Israeli occupation, the divisions between them threaten to tear their partnership apart. Can the bond between them overcome the impossible?
THE KOZALCHIC AFFAIR – פרשת קוזלצ’יק
Dir: Roni Ninio
Yakov Kozalchik was known as “The Warden of the Death Block”. He was also a Jewish Kapo in Auschwitz, who sacrificed his life to save Jews, and was a well-known strongman who performed all over the world. But his heart could not stand the accusations that he collaborated with the Nazis, and at the age of 53, already living in Israel, he took his own life. His 68 year old son, is now embarking on a remarkable journey to recover the past and discover his father. As with so much that has to do with the Holocaust, this story is not clear-cut and the idea of who hero and victim can often get confused. The audience follows along as the son travels to Auschwitz to begin to confront a murky past.
WHERE IS ELLE-KARI AND WHAT HAPPENED TO NORIKO-SAN – איפה אלה קרי ומה קרה לנוריקו-סאן?
Los Angeles Premiere
Dir: Dvorit Shargal
During the 1950’s a series of books called “Children of the World” became very popular. The books, which are still printed in Israel, were created by the Jewish-Swedish photographer, Anna Riwkin-Brick (1908-1970). Nine of the books were written by Astrid Lindgren (who also wrote “Pippi Longstocking”).
“Where is Elle-Kari and What Happened to Noriko-san?” is a documentary which looks for some of the heroes of the series: Elle-Kari from Lapland, Noriko-San from Japan, Dirk from Holland as well as some of the Israeli heroes. Were they real children? Where are they now?
The film is a poignant reminder of vanishing childhood – the childhood of the children from the books, of the creator of the movie and of the children of pre-television Israel when trips to foreign places were such a distant dream.
ABOUT THE TELEVISION SERIES
FAUDA – פאודה
Dir: Assaf Bernstein
Since the late 80’s, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) has operated special undercover units called “Mista’arvim”, currently in the West Bank and previously in the Gaza Strip. The soldiers, disguised as Palestinians, blend into the Arab community and carry out anti-terror operations.
“Fauda” (Arabic for ‘Chaos’) shows the story of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. On one hand Doron and his team are hunting the Hamas activist Abu-Ahmed. On the other hand one sees the tragic life of Abu-Ahmed and his family and the reasons for their escalating hatred towards Israel
The series starts when Doron, who is working as a wine-maker, learns that the most wanted Arab terrorist, whom he had caught and was presumed to be dead, is in fact alive and well and planning the next suicide bombings. From there until the end of the 12th episode, one can barely blink.
“Fauda” broke VOD records in Israel and made Israelis feel for Hamas fighters. Exciting like ‘Homeland”, mind-blowing like “The Hurt Locker”, “Fauda” will knock you down and sweep you away.
Post Q&A with filmmaker: Lior Raz, Actor/Writer