Wednesday, October 2, 2019


Festival Runs November 14 - 21
Slated films highlight the timely stories, lives, and experiences of Jews and Arabs coming together through food; Palestinians in the Israeli judicial system; migrants and asylum seekers; Israeli and Palestinian health services; the Druze and Samaritan populations, and much more…
New York, NY (September 26, 2019)The Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan announces the complete lineup of feature films, television programs, and short films for the 13th annual OTHER ISRAEL FILM FESTIVAL, held in New York November 14–21. A diverse and thought-provoking selection of award-winning films and US premieres round out the festival's 2019 slate, all celebrating unique cinematic stories that highlight the lives and experiences of under-represented populations living within the region, and bringing to light timely issues and challenges that these communities face. 
This year's lineup includes a deeper look into the Israeli judicial system, with moving stories and controversial cases of political prisoners, refugees, and asylum seekers, as well as showcasing more diverse images of Israel's minority groups (including the Druze and Samaritan populations) who are often overlooked by mainstream Israeli society and culture, along with inspiring stories of Jews and Arabs coming together through food. 
The Other Israel Film Festival provides a platform to engage and face some of the challenges within Israeli society through film and dialogue and seeks to foster social awareness and cultural understanding. At a time of political and social turmoil within Israel, The Other Israel Film Festival has become a crucial stage for sharing in-depth perspectives with the community. The festival was founded by Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan board member and New York City staple, Carole Zabar.
Isaac Zablocki, director of The Other Israel Film Festival says, "This year's brave lineup makes it clear that even in polarizing times, there are progressive voices leading the way to hope. These voices need to be heard."
The festival’s Opening Night selection will be Philippe Bellaiche and Rachel Leah Jones’ daring documentary, ADVOCATE, a look at the life and work of Jewish-Israeli lawyer Lea Tsemel, who has tirelessly represented political prisoners for nearly 50 years. An official selection at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, “Advocate” will screen Thursday, November 14 at 7 p.m., followed by a Q&A and the opening night reception. 
The festival’s Closing Night selection will be Bassam Jarbawi’s ambitious debut narrative feature, SCREWDRIVER (“Mafak”), about a Palestinian man who struggles to cope with the consequences of his imprisonment and adjust to modern life after returning home from a 15-year sentence in an Israeli prison. “Screwdriver” will screen on Thursday, November 21 at 7 p.m.  
Other highlights from this year's lineup include:
The New York City premiere of Ramy A. Katz’s heartbreaking and haunting documentary feature, CAUSE OF DEATH, which deconstructs a potential cover-up of the decade-old killing of Druze police officer Salim Barakat and his brother’s emotional and desperate quest to find the truth; the New York City premiere of Beth Hawk’s inspiring documentary BREAKING BREAD (featuring Dr.Nof Atamna-Ismaeel of Master Chef Israel); the international premiere of Barak Heymann’s COMRADE DOV, an affectionate portrait of left-wing Jewish politician and activist Dov Khenin,and the North American premiere of the hit Israeli television show ASYLUM CITY, set in the underworld of refugees and asylum seekers. 
"Our film festival has become a home for our community to grapple in a nuanced and in-depth manner with some of Israel's bigger questions of democracy and equality for all," says Carole Zabar, Founder of The Other Israel Film Festival.

The Other Israel Film Festival runs from November 14-21 at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, as well as Alamo Drafthouse Downtown Brooklyn, JCC Harlem, and NYU. The festival will feature Q&As with numerous filmmakers and talent after select screenings. Special events and panels will be announced in October. 
Tickets go on sale October 3. For additional information, please visit
The full list of 2019 festival titles includes:

*Opening Night Film
Dir. Philippe Bellaiche and Rachel Leah Jones
2019 | 108 min. | Documentary 
Lea Tsemel, a Jewish-Israeli lawyer who has represented political prisoners for nearly 50 years. In her tireless quest for justice she defends Palestinians: from feminists to fundamentalists, nonviolent demonstrators to armed militants.  
Thursday, November 14, 7 p.m., Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan
Followed by the Opening Night reception
Dir. Fernando Grostein Andrade
2019 | 85 min. | Narrative
Twelve-year-old Abe (Noah Schnapp, Stranger Things) is an aspiring chef, but his family—half-Israeli, half-Palestinian—always fights. When Abe ditches camp to spend time with chef Chico, his mentor’s fusion cuisine inspires him to unite his family through food.
Sunday, November 17, 2 p.m., Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan
Monday, November 18, 6:15 p.m., Alamo Drafthouse

*North American Premiere
Dir. Eitan Zur
2018 | 45 min./episode | Narrative TV
A young social activist is found dead, and the main suspect is an asylum seeker who was seen leaving her apartment. The police officer who leads the murder investigation unravels a complex world of crime and corruption. Episodes 1 and 2
Wednesday, November 20, 6:15 p.m., Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

*International Premiere
Dir. Ruth Walk
2018 | 50 min. | Documentary
Without adequate medical resources in the Palestinian territories, patients requiring advanced treatments face rigid bureaucratic walls. This film looks at the human consequences and heroes of the interdependent Israeli and Palestinian health and medical systems.
Tuesday, Nov 19, 6:30 p.m., Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

*New York Premiere
Dir. Beth Hawk
2019 | 83 min. | Documentary
Dr. Nof Atamna-Ismaeel was the first Muslim Arab-Israeli to win Israel’s Master Cheftelevision competition. Now, through her new food festival, she’s on a quest to effect social change, chef by chef.
Sunday, November 17, 4:30 p.m., Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

*New York City Premiere
Dir. Ramy A. Katz
2018 | 79 min. | Documentary
Ten years after Druze policeman Salim Barakat was killed while responding to a terror attack, his brother Jamal investigates the identity of Salim’s killer and whether the police have lied.
Monday, November 18, 8 p.m., Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan
Tuesday, November 19, 6:15 p.m., Alamo Drafthouse

*International Premiere
Dir. Barak Heymann
2019 | 75 min. | Documentary
Goddamned communist. Internal enemy. Privileged Tel Aviv Ashkenazi. Dov Khenin was called everything during his time in the Knesset. A portrait of a unique politician who refuses to give up, even as reality deals him one blow after another.
Friday, November 15, 11 a.m., Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan
Sunday, November 17, 7 p.m., Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

*Special Preview
Dir. Emmanuelle Mayer
2019 | 52 min. | Documentary
Johnny lives in Israel, but dreams of returning to Ghana with new knowledge of modern fish-farming. His wife, Thérèse, sees little future for their children in Israel. When their visas expire, tensions rise, leading to an inevitable clash.
Saturday, November 16, 6:30 p.m., JCC Harlem
Wednesday, November 20, 8 p.m., Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan
Dir. Uri Sivan | Created by Mira Awad
2019 | 30 min./episode | Narrative TV
In Summer 2014, Muna Abud, a Palestinian-Israeli photographer living in Tel Aviv, is on the verge of success. As the military operation in Gaza escalates, Muna is confronted with the complexity of her identity and relationships. Episodes 1 and 2 
Saturday, November 16, 4 p.m., Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan
Sunday, November 17, 6:30 p.m., Silvana

*North American Premiere
Dir. Julien Menanteau
2018 | 52 min. | Documentary
Samaritans, the world’s only holders of dual Israeli-Palestinian nationality, are a unique religious minority on the verge of extinction. In the heights of Nablus, Abdallah Cohen, the high priest's grandson, seeks to find his own way.
Monday, November 18, 6:15 p.m., Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan
Tuesday, November 19, 8:15 p.m., Alamo Drafthouse
*New York Premiere
Dir. Mats Grorud 
2018 | 77 min. | Narrative
Wardi, a young Palestinian girl, lives with her family in a Lebanese refugee camp. When her great-grandfather, who was chased from his home in the Galilea in 1948, gives her the key to his old house, she fears he has lost hope of returning home.
Saturday, November 16, 7:30 p.m., Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan
Monday, November 18, 8:15 p.m., Alamo Drafthouse
*Closing Night Film
Dir. Bassam Jarbawi
2018 | 108 min. | Narrative
After years of imprisonment, Ziad struggles to adjust to modern Palestinian life. Unable to distinguish reality from hallucination, he unravels, and forces himself to go back to where it all began.
Thursday, November 21, 7 p.m., Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan
Preceded by the Closing Night receptionat 6 p.m.
Saturday, November 16, 2 p.m., Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan
Sunday, November 17, 3 p.m., JCC Harlem
Dir. Dana Gelman | 2018 | 16 min. | Documentary
On the outskirts of the Tel Aviv “bubble,” hundreds of work-seeking migrants and asylum seekers wait to enter the immigration offices—their gateway to better lives.

Dir. Shady Srour | 2019 | 15 min. | Narrative 
Ziad, a Palestinian day laborer, is denied entry into Israel. Having promised his daughter meat for dinner and not wanting to return home empty-handed, he resorts to a creative solution. 

Dir. Nayef Hammoud | 2017 | 15 min. | Narrative 
Salah, a drama student in Paris, heads home to Haifa to work on a play based on a eulogy for his father. 

Dir. Therka Mekalda | 2019 | 9 min. | Narrative 
A young Muslim woman from a small town persists with her passion for cycling, despite it being deemed unacceptable by her community and family.

Dir. Gal Rosenbluth | 2019 | 4 min. | Narrative 
Naomi and Marwan are a couple that communicate in Hebrew. When they decide to speak solely Arabic on Fridays, their new routine leads to miscommunication that neither language can solve. 


Main Screening Venue:
334 Amsterdam Ave. at 76th St.
New York, NY 10023
318 West 118th St.
New York, NY 10026
300 W 116th St.
New York, NY 10026
445 Albee Square W, 4th floor
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Available online at or call 646.505.5708 
General admissions films tickets: $15 
Alamo Drafthouse films: $17
Student tickets: $6 with valid student ID
Festival Pass: $60 (Good for five general admissions tickets based on availability.)

Opening Night (Film + Reception): $36
Closing Night (Film + Reception): $18 
About The Other Israel Film Festival:
The Other Israel Film Festival, founded in 2007, presents high-quality cinema that inspires conversation and takes an in-depth look into Israeli and Palestinian societies and underrepresented populations in Israel. The festival explores human stories and social issues for Israel and its neighbors. Other Israel presents dramatic and documentary films, as well as panels and events about history, culture, and identity. With partner organizations, the festival aims to engage the community, deepen its views, challenge its perspectives, and drive it to action. Learn more at
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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