There are a lot of film festivals around at the moment. Some lasting several weeks, some days, others just a day and covering every imaginable genre. Their profiles are up and down and many won’t see a second year.
The Jewish Film Festival has been around a while now, a little under the radar, just getting on with things with acknowledgements here and there, gradually building up a reputation and an audience. It’s now in its 23rd year, with the largest programme of Jewish films in the world. This year it’s also touring across the UK for the first time.
It’s ambitious with 95 films from 24 countries presenting insights into Jewish life and culture from around the globe through film from established and new filmmakers. And as a BAFTA qualifying festival there’s a competitive edge too as it is now a qualifying festival for the British Independent Film Awards 2019. There’s also an Audience Award that can be voted on through the website from 6 November.
As to the films arguably the most anticipated will be the closing night gala JoJo Rabbit from the multi-talented Taika Waititi (Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Thor Ragnarok) who both acts in and directs. It’s had a very successful international festival run so far delving into sensitive areas in a very original way.
Opening the festival will be My Polish Honeymoon from France with Élise Otzenberger, making her writing and directing debut, and through a honeymooning couple in Poland discusses what it is to be Jewish today but also looking back to their roots.
The Centrepiece Gala The Operative written and directed by Yuval Adler (Bethlehem), is a multi-language and cast thriller that delves into the opaque world of international espionage, its borders and personal priorities.
The documentary gala is The Human Factor directed by Dror Moreh (The Gatekeepers) which, with behind the scenes access to events and people, examines the work towards a lasting peace between Israel, the Palestinian nation and Syria, how close they came, and how hopes were dashed.
Naturally, there’s much more beyond those with the programme split into several diverse strands including a wide variety of documentaries, dramas and comedies, not to mention one of the most comprehensive short film programmes of any festival.
The full programme and ticket details available here