SERET International – the Israeli Film & TV Festival, is returning for its 6th year to the UK with screenings taking place across London, Redbridge, Richmond and Manchester.
SERET International 2017 brings the many and varied voices of Israel for this year’s ground-breaking Film & TV Festival.
“For our sixth Festival, we have stronger voices from women of all cultures and power bases; louder voices from Israeli Arabs and from Palestinians, all offering their own expression of the social and political multiplicity that the Middle East’s leading democracy represents, “ says the co-founders of the Festival Odelia Haroush, Patty Hochmann and Anat Koren.
“This year’s programme is in equal measure thought-provoking, and entertaining. With such a vibrant line-up of films and documentaries created in Israel over the past year, many of which have been big winners on the national and international film award circuit, we’ve almost been spoilt for choice.
Venues include the Ham Yard Hotel; JW3; Odeon Swiss Cottage, Camden, Richmond, Redbridge and Manchester’s Trafford Centre; EVERYMAN Maida Vale and Soho Hotel and selected screenings will include Q&As with the actors and film makers.
Soho’s spectacular Ham Yard Hotel will host the festival’s Opening Gala on May 11th with a screening of, The Women’s Balcony a brilliantly funny film about brave, strong women. When the women’s balcony collapses during a bar mitzvah, the new rabbi declares it’s because the women weren't dressing with enough modesty. When the temporary synagogue opens, the women are shocked to find the new facilities don’t include a balcony for them.
The Women’s Balcony
Many of the SERET films are enjoying their UK premiere over the festival, many are already multi award-winning and have gained major plaudits at foreign film festivals across the world, including the much-celebrated Junction 48 - Palestinian rapper Kareem and his singer girlfriend Manar struggle, love and make music in their crime-ridden ghetto and Tel Aviv's hip-hop club scene.
With Tel Aviv often known as being at the forefront of LGBTQ issues, but is that the case in allcommuities throhghout Israel? One documentary that tells a story from a different perspective is ‘Who’s Gonna Love Me Now?’, a documentary by the Heymann Brothers, Israel's most acclaimed documentary-making team. Saar, a 39-year-old ex-Israeli army paratrooper living in London, finds out that he is HIV positive. He embarks on a journey of reconciliation, filmed over several years, with his religious family in Israel.
Who’s Gonna Love Me Now?
Strong feminist themes arise again and again in this year’s festival with a number of female directors and film makers at the helm, and truly unusual storylines. ‘Harmonia’ for example is an intriguing retelling of a biblical story. Sarah, the harpist of the Jerusalem Philharmonic, is married to Abraham, its conductor. Childless, when Hagar joins the Western Jerusalem Orchestra the two women develop a unique friendship that is challenged when Hagar offers Sarah to have a baby for her, by Abraham.
Arguments on culture and religion are presented in extraordinary ways with documentaries covering such a diverse range of topics. ‘Disturbing the Peace’ follows formerly diametrically opposed enemy combatants – aspirant Palestinian suicide bombers and Israeli soldiers from elite units – who have since joined forces to challenge the use of violence. A joint American-Israeli production, reveals their transformational journeys from soldiers and fighters committed to armed battle to nonviolent peace activists, leading to the creation of the organisation Combatants for Peace.
Alternatively, ‘Shalom Italia’ is a witty and humorous documentary, following three brothers who ran away from their homes in Tuscany during WWII, and hid from the Nazis in a cave in the forest. Seventy years later, they take a journey to find the cave that changed their lives, experiencing many adventures, and try to find the common ground that will bring the contradicting versions of their stories to unite into one past.
SERET truly is a festival for everyone, and a real opportunity to see the real Israel, beyond the media.
The list of feature films, documentaries and shorts included in this year’s festival is:
Between Worlds - feature Director: Miya Hatav
Beyond the Mountains and Hills – feature Director: Eran Korilin
Dimona Twist – feature Director: Michal Aviad
Disturbing the Peace – documentary Director: Stephen Apkon, Andrew Young
Dumb – TV Comedy/Drama Director: Shay Capon
Harmonia – feature Director: Ori Sivan
Heroine – feature Director: Atara Frish, Heli Hardy, Yasmin Schryer-Ozary, Shira Pajurski, Shira Porat
Home Port – feature Director: Erez Tadmor
Junction 48 – feature Director: Udi Aloni
One Week and a Day – feature Director: Asaph Polonsky
Our Father – feature Director: Meni Yaesh
Past Life – feature Director: Avi Nesher
Personal Affairs – feature Director: Maha Haj
Sand Storm – feature Director: Elite Zexer
Shalom Italia – documentary Director: Tamar Tal
Who’s Gonna Love me Now? – documentary Director: Tomer Heymann, Barak Heymann.
The Women’s Balcony – feature Director: Emil Ben-Shimon
The Wonderful World of Papa Alayev – documentary Director: Tal Barda, Noam Pinchas
As well as public screenings in cinemas, SERET International will be holding celebratory galas and events to mark the fifth year of SERET International in the UK.
Outside the UK, Amsterdam and Santiago saw their first SERET International Festivals in 2015, and 2016 saw a further expansion as SERET International arrived in Berlin as well.
Further information on the Festival and ticket booking facilities are available at xxx at www.seret-international.org