The 25th Toronto Jewish Film Festival (TJFF) is taking place May 4 to 14, 2017. The lineup of its 25th anniversary edition includes a mix of classics, archival rediscoveries, and exceptional new releases. The broad and diverse slate is comprised of 105 films from 24 countries including Israel, Argentina, The Netherlands, Australia, and France, and features numerous Premieres: 6 World, 10 International, 5 North American, 30 Canadian and 19 Toronto.
The Festival is proud to present a number of acclaimed features, among them: Eran Kolirin’s (The Band’s Visit) Beyond the Mountains and Hills, a poignant film about a soldier’s adaptation to civilian life; Ate de Jong and Emily Harris’ Love is Thicker Than Water, an indie gem about the ups and downs of a young couple in contemporary London; and Eyal Halfon’s satirical The 90 Minute War, a bold comedy that places the fate of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on a single soccer match.
The lineup also includes festival favourites from Cannes, Sundance, Locarno, and Berlin, including: the Canadian Premiere of Joshua Z Weinstein’s acclaimed Menashe, a drama about a single father in Brooklyn’s Hasidic community; Maria Schrader’s Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe, about the great Austrian writer’s final years; and Asaph Polonsky’s moving feature debut, One Week and a Day, which has already established him as an Israeli talent to watch.
One special programme this year is a tribute to celebrated Israeli filmmaker Dan Wolman. Alongside the Canadian premiere of his recent An Israeli Love Story, the Festival is proud to present archival screenings of the classics My Michael (1976), and Hide and Seek (1980), Israel’s first LGBT film. The recent restoration of Hide and Seek screened at the 2016 Berlin Film Festival (where it originally premiered and won a prize in 1980) – as part of the festival’s 30th anniversary of the Teddy Awards.
Additional archival highlights include a tribute to the comedic genius of the late Gene Wilder with a free screening of The Frisco Kid (1979), starring Wilder as a Polish rabbi in the American West. It will be shown alongside the rare television gem The Eternal Light: Home for Passover (1966), based on the Sholem Aleichem story. The Festival also presents an anniversary screening of Madeleine Ali’s Black to the Promised Land (1992), which was part of the Festival’s inaugural edition 25 years ago. TJFF is proud of its support for this great and often-requested documentary.
This year’s lineup also includes the Canadian Premieres of several rich and nuanced documentaries, including: Trevor Graham’s Monsieur Mayonnaise, which follows cult filmmaker Philippe Mora as he uncovers his father’s role in the French Resistance, as well as his friendship with Marcel Marceau; Lilly Rivlin’s Heather Booth: Changing the World, a portrait of an influential activist, featuring interviews with Elizabeth Warren and other prominent progressives; and Chen Shelach’s Praise the Lard, about Israel’s complex pork industry.
Other documentary highlights include: the Canadian premiere of Robert Philipson’s Body & Soul: An American Bridge, which explores the complex musical interplay between Jewish and African-American cultures through the history of one of the most enduring standards written by a Jewish composer; the Toronto Premiere of Sam Blair and Joseph Martin’s Keep Quiet, about the revelation of a Hungarian far right leader’s unexpected Jewish heritage; the International Premiere of Jeff Zapata and Joe Simko’s 30 Years of Garbage: The Garbage Pail Kids Story, a comprehensive history of the gross-out cultural phenomenon; and the World Premiere of David Blumenfeld and Ami Drozd’s Scandal in Ivansk, which follows the controversy around an effort to restore an old Jewish cemetery in Ivansk, Poland.
TJFF will present a number of exceptional short films for the 2017 edition, including two curated programmes. The New Israeli Cinema programme includes Shadi Habib Allah’s subversive The Fifth Season, a short doc that follows a Palestinian writer and teacher in Ramallah; Yoav Hornung’s Deserted, about an officer who loses her weapon during her final examination; Tomer Shushan’s Inside Shells, a beautifully-directed portrait of a family on the economic margins; and Nurith Cohn’s Little Dictator, a comedy about an unfortunate shaving mishap.
Seventeen other shorts will precede features throughout the Festival, in addition to the four titles that make up the previously announced Canadian short film programme, Oy Canada. Other previously announced programming includes Richler On-Screen, TJFF’s comprehensive tribute to Mordecai Richler, Opening Night film 1945, Closing Night film Mandala Beats, David A. Stein Memorial Award winner The Patriarch’s Room, and Micki Moore Award winner A.K.A. Nadia, among other titles.
The complete TJFF 2017 film lineup is now available at TJFF.COM
Venue box offices open May 5, available one hour before first screening start time. Venues include Cineplex Cinemas Empress Walk, Famous Players Canada Square Cinemas, Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, Innis Town Hall, The Spadina Theatre at Alliance Française, The Royal Cinema and Cineplex Cinemas Varsity and VIP. (Source: Toronto Jewish Film Foundation)