Sunday, October 23, 2011

Toronto Israel Film Festival, Oct 23-27

The 4th Toronto Israel Film Festival begins tonight at the Cineplex Odeon Sheppard Cinemas. It is more particular than the Toronto Jewish Film Festival in that it presents films by filmmakers from Israel.

The opening screenings are The Human Resources Manager, Just the Two of Us and The Flood. Director Tzipi Baider will present the screening of Just the Two of Us, while director Guy Nattiv will be in attendance for the screenings of The Flood.

Other filmmaker's presenting their work include Dani Menkin who will appear with his film Dolphin Boy; Tal Goren presenting Family in Captivity; and Marco Carmel who brings My Lovely Sister.

The 4th Toronto Israel Film Festival continues until October 27 at the Cineplex Odeon Sheppard Cinemas.



Discover Israel through its films.
I believe that physically visiting the country is the best way to learn about it. However, if an El Al flight to Tel Aviv isn't in your immediate plans, the 4th Toronto Israel Film Festival invites you on a fascinating "voyage of discovery". Israeli society, including its diversity and complexities, is on full view in our program.

Israel is a filmmaker's paradise. Like the country's landscape, very small and incredibly diverse, Israeli society, too, is extraordinarily varied with contrasting milieus from conservative Ultra-Orthodoxy to Tel Aviv's wild night life. Emerging from this diversity and Israel's astonishingly multicultural society is a highly successful cinema. Within Israel's cinematic paradise, some filmmakers have stood out. We are fortunate that they have accepted our invitation. A look at our list of speakers reveals their youth. Like their young counterparts in Israel's high-tech, biotech, or green-tech industries, these filmmakers are known for their creativity and innovation. Among our guests is Noa Berman-Herzberg, the Screenwriter of "The Flood", the poignant story of a family coping with their autistic son's unexpected return home.

Tzipi Baider, the head of the documentary department at Israel's Channel 10 escorts two 88-year old Treblinka survivors back to the concentration camp. The horrific setting gives way to a number of touching moments, ones that will remain with you forever. Tal Goren touches upon one of the most delicate nerves of Israeli society today: the five+ year plight of kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit. The filmmaker spent years with the Schalit family and she provides a fascinating point of view of both the Schalits and of Israeli society at large.

The camera of Dani Menkin, the director of "Dolphin Boy" has documented the miraculous recovery of an Arab Israeli boy following an encounter, first, with violence, and then, with the dolphins of Eilat. The result is a touching and optimistic film. Look at the brochure carefully. Pay special attention to the filmmakers, and taking a lesson from last year's Sold Out shows: hurry to order your tickets! You do not want to miss this one.

See you at the Festival!

Eran Bester

Dolphin Boy | 2011

Dani Menkin and Yonatan Nir | 72 minutes | Thu 8:30 pm

A true story about the healing power of nature
Morad, a teenager from an Arab village in Israel's north, cuts himself off from human contact following a violent experience. As a last resort before hospitalizing his son in a mental health facility, his devoted father takes him to be treated with dolphins in Eilat. Morad starts speaking again following months of silence, but erases his past and refuses to go home to his waiting mother. This documentary, about the devastation that violence wreaks upon the human soul, and about the healing powers of love and nature, was filmed over the course of four years.
Winner, Jury Mention Award at the Jerusalem Film Festival (2011)

Family in Captivity | 2011

Tal Goren | 56 minutes | Mon 6:30 pm

On the morning of June 25, 2006, 19 year old soldier Gilad Schalit was abducted by Hamas and has been held hostage ever since. For more than five years, there has been no knowledge of Gilad's physical state or the conditions under which he is being held. On the morning that he was kidnapped, his family was also taken hostage – hostage to a new life that was thrust upon them, a life dedicated to the struggle to bring their son back home alive. The years of efforts to secure Gilad's release have taken a big toll on all family members, with each needing to deal individually with their new surreal life and its harsh realities.
This film follows the Schalit family in intimate detail, revealing the ongoing difficulties, the frustration and the pain the family must endure daily to save their son's life. This relentless nightmare is portrayed in the film along with the gut-wrenching dilemma accompanying their every decision – whether their actions will bring Gilad's release closer or, G-d forbid, lead to disaster.

Just the Two of Us | 2011

Tzipi Baider | 43 minutes | Sun 6:30 pm

The last living survivors of the Treblinka death camp, both 88 years old, share a journey to the place they fled from 68 years ago. On the way they remember, laugh, experience a range of emotions, cry, and sing together the Treblinka anthem. On arriving at Treblinka, their journey ends with a stunning surprise, the likes of which they have never experienced: a parade of IDF soldiers is standing at attention, saluting them. To the young soldier who hugs him, Samuel says in tears: "It is the happiest day of my life" while Kalman whispers: "I never dreamt of getting back here in such an old age, after all in Treblinka you were no more than a dead on vacation".

The Flood | 2010

Guy Nattiv | 100 minutes | Sun 8:30 pm, Mon 8:30 pm

Everything is complicated in Yoni's life. He's almost 13, intellectually gifted, but physically underdeveloped. Yoni struggles daily to grow up before his upcoming Bar Mitzvah. He sells homework to secretly buy a body building wonder powder, which, to date, has achieved nothing. His new classmates are a year older and two heads taller, and bully him at every opportunity. His parents barely speak, only communicating with each other, if at all, through Yoni. If all this isn't enough, only a week before his Bar Mitzvah, his autistic brother, Tomer, returns home. At 17, Tomer has been hidden for years in a recently closed institution. His brother's return shakes not only Yoni's life, but his entire family's unstable foundation. It falls to Yoni to deal with a brother he hasn't seen in ten years.
Winner, Israeli Film Academy Award (2010) including: Best Supporting Actor - Michael Moshonov Berlin International Film Festival 2011 | Won Crystal Bear - Special Mention Best Feature Film | Category Generation Kplus

My Lovely Sister | 2011

Marco Carmel | 91 minutes | Tue 6:30 pm

Based on a modern Moroccan-Jewish legend.
Taking place in the impoverished housing blocks of Israel's peripheral towns, "My Lovely Sister" is a love story between the primitively superstitious Rahma, her rude husband, Robert, and the ghost of Rahma's beautiful sister, Mary. Mary died from the pain of banishment, when she followed her heart and chose to live with an Arab man. Rahma and Robert's conscience will be tested through an emotional and passionate journey with the ghost of Mary.

Human Resources Manager | 2010

Eran Riklis | 103 minutes | Sun 4:30 pm, Wen 6:30 pm

From the acclaimed director of "Lemon Tree" and "The Syrian Bride".
Yulia, a foreign worker at a Jerusalem bakery, is killed in a bombing, and an aggressive journalist creates a scandal after her unclaimed body lies in the morgue for a week. To counter the negative image of a big, cold company allowing an employee's remains to languish in the morgue, the business' owner instructs her human resources manager to accompany Yulia's body back to her native land. Far from home, on a mission to honour a woman he didn't even know, the HR manager rediscovers his own humanity. The manager encounters many unanticipated obstacles while attempting to fulfill his mission. Witty and full of character, this is a touching tragicomedy based on the novel by Abraham B. Jehoshua.
Winner of five (5) Israeli Film Academy Awards (2010) including:
Best Film | Best Director - Eran Riklis | Best Screenplay - Noah Stollman | Best Sound - Gil Toren, Asher Milo | Best Supporting Actress - Rosina Kambus

Dusk | 2010

Alon Zingman | 90 min | Wen 8:30 pm, Thu 6:30 pm

A car accident brings together four people. Between the film's beginning at sunrise at the airport and ending at sunset at the hospital, their four stories are woven together and complete strangers become linked with one other. This is a story of parents, children, and relationships.
Haifa International Film Festival 2010 Best Debut Israeli Film Academy
Nominated for Best Cinematography: Roi Rot

Mrs. Moskowitz and the Cats | 2009

Jorge Gurvich | 83 minutes | Tue 8:30 pm

When Yolanda Moskowitz, a retired French teacher, wakes up in a hospital geriatric ward, she is convinced it must be an error. But the titanium plate in her hip is real, confining her to a lengthy convalescence in a wheelchair. Yolanda discovers new life in the hospital as a close relationship develops with her roommate Allegra, a solitary woman. She also meets Shaul, a former soccer player, who stirs in her emotions she thought had vanished forever. Like a young woman in love, Yolanda does everything to get Shaul's attention. When well enough to go home, she returns to her life of loneliness. Just as she's about to renounce her possessions to win over the friendship of a caregiver, there's a knock at her door...
Winner, Jerusalem Film Festival Awards (2009)
Best Actress - Rita Zohar

Playoff | 2011

Eran Riklis | 111 min

Playoff tells the story of legendary Israeli basketball coach Max Stoller. He became a national hero, when he made Maccabi Tel Aviv into European Champions in the late Seventies, one of Israel's first great international sporting successes. But Max became a national traitor equally fast, when he then accepted the against-all-odds job of turning the totally hopeless West-German basketball team - of all people! - into European winners. Max always maintains that Germany - where he was born before the war - means nothing to him, and that training their national team is just another job on his path to NBA glory. But things aren't as simple as he refuses to speak German to the young players. The only person he seems to be able to relate to is a Turkish immigrant woman Deniz, and her cheeky teenage daughter Sema. Max just about falls in love with Deniz - and does succeed in reinventing the Germans as European champions. When he discovers what happened to his own family in the 1940s - it is not what he had expected. And he will realize that one cannot run away forever from one's own past and demons. Playoff is inspired by the life of Ralph Klein, Israel's most famous basketball coach, ever.

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