Friday, May 17, 2019

ISRAEL FILM CENTER FESTIVAL Kicks Off Its 7th Year With An Exciting Lineup Highlighting Diversity and Orthodox Jewish Life

New York, NY (May 7, 2019) -- New York’s leading Israeli film festival is celebrating its 7th edition this June with a powerful lineup of diverse, award-winning, and cutting-edge films and television programs from Israel. The Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan (located at 334 Amsterdam Avenue at 76th Street) will present feature films and two television series, including New York premieres, at the 7th Annual Israel Film Center Festival. Showcasing the best new films from Israel’s booming film industry and Q&As with acclaimed Israeli filmmakers after select screenings, the festival will run from June 3-12. Visit for more information and to purchase tickets.
The festival’s Opening Night selection will be Joseph Madmony and Boaz Yehonatan Yacov’s thought-provoking film REDEMPTION (“Geula”). The story of a devout Chassid who must return to his rockstar lifestyle in order to pay for his daughter’s medical bills explores the issue of how to balance one’s religious devotion with art, family, and friendship, all while making peace with the past. The film won both the Ecumenical Jury Prize and Best Actor award (for star Moshe Folkenflik) at the 2018 Karlovy Vary Film Festival, and the Audience Award at the 2018 Jerusalem Film Festival. “Redemption” screens Monday, June 3 at 7 p.m., followed by a Q&A with director Boaz Yehonatan Yacov.
The festival’s Closing Night film will be the NY premiere of Sameh Zoabi’s witty and warm-hearted TEL AVIV ON FIRE. Making its world premiere at the 2018 Venice Film Festival, where it won the Orizzonti Award for Best Actor (for Kais Nashif), the film’s North American premiere took place at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, and it won the Best Film award at the 2018 Haifa International Film Festival. “Tel Aviv On Fire” will screen Wednesday, June 12 at 7 p.m., followed by a Q&A with co-writer Dan Kleinman.
Other highlights from this year's lineup include:

Ethiopian-Israeli filmmaker Aalam-Warqe Davidian’s beautiful and haunting debut feature FIG TREE (Winner, Eurimages Audentia Award for Best Female Director at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival & Ophir Award nominee for Best Picture), the New York premiere of Yona Rozenkier’s semi-autobiographical feature debut and intense family drama THE DIVE (Winner, Best Israeli Feature Film, Best Actor and Best Israeli Debut Film at the 2018 Jerusalem Film Festival) and veteran Israeli director Avi Nesher’s latest film THE OTHER STORY (Official Selection, 2018 Toronto International Film Festival), one of this year’s most successful Israeli films.
The festival will honor Nesher, a leading voice in Israeli cinema for over four decades,with a retrospective on Friday, June 7, screening two films from his extensive filmography. TURN LEFT AT THE END OF THE WORLD (2004) was the all time biggest box office success in Israel and helped revolutionize new Israeli cinema as a profitable industry, and the newly restored RAGE AND GLORY (1984) which follows a cell of the Stern Gang that begins to fall apart during an attempt to assassinate a senior British officer in pre-state Israel.  
As in previous years, the festival will shine a spotlight on Israeli television, which has become an international phenomenon and one of Israel’s leading exports.Included will be the New York  premiere of the first two episodes of STOCKHOLM and the first two episodes of AUTONOMIES. Both will be part of the JCC’s annual free, all-night Tikkun Leil Shavuot event beginning Saturday, June 8 at 10 p.m. and ending Sunday, June 9 at 4 a.m.
“Beyond the clear trending of Orthodox-themed films, one can also see the diversity of life in Israel through our selections. Our film themes highlight Arabs, youth at risk, Ethiopians, military, the young, the elderly—a full spectrum of life,” said Isaac Zablocki, Israel Film Center Festival director and founder.
The complete program lineup for the 7th annual ISRAEL FILM CENTER FESTIVAL is below:
*Opening Night Film, Monday, June 3, 7 p.m.
Dir. Joseph Madmony & Boaz Yehonatan Yacov, Drama, 104 min.
A devout Chassid must return to his rockstar lifestyle in order to pay for his daughter’s medical bills in this rousing and affecting story of faith, love, and making peace with the past.
-Winner, Best Actor & the Ecumenical Jury Prize at the 2018 Karlovy Vary Film Festival
-Winner, Audience Award at the 2018 Jerusalem Film Festival
*NY Premiere, Tuesday, June 4, 6:15 p.m.
Dir. Tsivia Barkai Yacov, 91 min.
Benny’s hair is as red as the fur of her devout father’s treasured calf—which he believes will bring salvation. As she comes of age, she embarks on a personal journey that will shape her religious, political, and sexual consciousness.
-Winner, Best Israeli Feature Film & Best Actress (Avigayil Kovary) at the Jerusalem Film Festival 2018
-Nominated for 4 Ophir Awards (Israel’s Academy Awards)
-Official Selection at the 2018 Berlin Film Festival 
Tuesday, June 4, 8:30 p.m.
Dir. Eliran Malka, 99 min.
In the early 1980s, after his daughter is kicked out of school because of her ethnic background, a Sephardic man with absolutely no knowledge of politics decides to fight back and form a revolutionary political party that will change Israeli politics forever.
*NY Premiere, Wednesday, June 5, 6:15 p.m.
Dir. David Kreiner, 84 min.
Yigal, a middle-aged divorcé and unemployed film director from Tel Aviv, accepts a position teaching filmmaking in Sderot. Though his students are slow to warm to him, Yigal gains their trust by coaxing them to film their own stories of love and loss.
Wednesday, June 5, 8:15 p.m.Dir. Aalam-Warqe Davidian, 93 min.
A Jewish teenager in Ethiopia must navigate a surreal routine dictated by the civil war which, along with her family’s plans to immigrate to Israel, conflict with her rebellious youthful spirit. Together with her Christian boyfriend, she weaves an alternate plan. But in times of war, plans tend to go awry.-Winner, Eurimages Audentia Award for Best Female Director at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival
-Winner, Best Cinematography at the 2018 Ophir Awards (Israel’s Academy Awards) where it was nominated for five awards, including Best Film & Best Screenplay

Thursday, June 6, 6:15 p.m.
Dir. Avi Nesher, 112 min.
Family disputes and conspiracies take center stage in this lively drama. Sasson Gabai plays a renowned psychologist who falls out with his granddaughter when she enters a Haredi community and plans to marry a musician known for his wild ways.
-Premiered at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival
*NY Premiere, Thursday, June 6, 7:30 p.m.
Dir. Yona Rozenkier, 90 min
Set within a ramshackle kibbutz community on the northern border separating Israel from Lebanon, the film follows a trio of brothers who reunite to bury their father’s body before the youngest heads off to battle.
-Best Israeli Feature Film prize & Best Debut Film at the 2018 Jerusalem Film Festival
For over four decades, Nesher has been one of the leading voices in Israeli cinema. Both pioneering and impactful, Nesher's films are not only some of Israel's biggest hits, but they opened the door for Israeli films to succeed in international markets as well. His latest, “The Other Story” was one of this year's most successful Israeli films. On Friday, June 7, we will honor Nesher by showing two films from his extensive filmography:
“Turn Left at the End of the World”: Friday, June 7, 4 p.m.
“Rage and Glory”: Friday, June 7, 6 p.m.

TEL AVIV ON FIRE*NY Premiere, Closing Night Film, Wednesday, June 12, 7 p.m.Dir. Sameh Zoabi, 97 min.
Salam, an inexperienced young Palestinian writer, gets a job on a popular soap opera after a chance meeting with an Israeli soldier. His creative career is on the rise until the soldier and the show's financial backers disagree about how the show should end and Salam is caught in the middle.-Winner, Orizzonti Award for Best Actor at the 2018 Venice Film Festival
-Best Israeli Film award at the Haifa International Film Festival 

Saturday, June 8, 10 p.m. – Sunday, June 9, 3 a.m.
Autonomies (Episodes 1 + 2)
Dir. Yehonatan Indursky + Ori Elon
The series is set in an alternative reality in which Israel is split into two territories—a secular state with its capital in Tel Aviv and an ultra-Orthodox autonomous zone with Jerusalem as its capital.
Stockholm (Episodes 1 + 2)
*NY Premiere
Dir. Daniel Syrkin
When Avishai is found dead in his bed, his friends decide to hide his death for five days to allow him to win the Nobel Prize.
About the Israel Film Center
The Israel Film Center of the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan is the leading resource for Israeli films in America, with the goal of expanding Israel's emerging film industry and promoting Israeli culture in America. The center, a program of the Carole Zabar Center for Film, serves as an exhibitor, promoter, educator, funder, distributor, producer, network organizer, advisor, and festival producer, and includes a viewing library and online database of Israeli cinema and the leading Israeli film streaming site. 
About the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan
Together with its community, the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan creates opportunities for people to connect, grow, and learn within an ever-changing Jewish landscape. Located on 76th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, the JCC is a vibrant non-profit community center on the Upper West Side. The cornerstone of progressive programming in Manhattan, the JCC serves over 55,000 people annually through 1,200 programs each season that educate, inspire, and transform participants' minds, bodies, and spirits. Since its inception, the JCC has been committed to serving the community by offering programs, classes, and events that reach beyond neighborhood boundaries, reaching people at all stages of their lives. Learn more at

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