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21st Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival   April  11-­‐21,  2013   GAT  PR  Press  Summary  


Interviews completed   TV  

CHCH TV  –  Morning  Live!     Interviewed:  Marc  Halberstadt  (CowJews  &  Indians)  

 

Global TV  –  The  Morning  Show   Interviewer:  Avraham  Melamaed  (The  Eleventh  Day)    

Global  TV  –  The  Morning  Show     Interviewed:  Mark  Breslin  (A  Universal  Language)     TFO     Interviewed:  Jeremie  Abessira     Radio    

680 News   Interviewed:  Helen  Zukerman  

 

CBC  -­‐  Here  &  Now     Interviewed:  Mark  Breslin  (A  Universal  Language)    

 

CBC Radio-­‐Canada   Interviewed:  Lewis  Cohen  (Jews  and  Money)    

CBC  Radio-­‐Canada  –  Champ  Libre   Interviewed:  Renaud  Cohen  (In  Case  I  don’t  Win  the   Golden  Palm)     CIUT  89.5  –  The  More  The  Merrier     Interviewed:  Jeff  Lieberman  (Re-­‐Emerging:  The  Jews   of  Nigeria)     CIUT  89.5   Interviewed:  Peter  Sanders  (Altina)      


CHOQ FM   Interviewed:  Sylvain  Estibal  and  Myriam  Tekaia   (When  Pigs  Have  Wings)        

Sirius XM    -­‐  The  Comic  Strip   Interviewed:  Jean  Paul  (A  Universal  Language)  

 

Radio Regent  –  Frameline     Interviewed:  George  Geddeon  (In  the  Presence  of   my  Neighbours)  

Radio  Regent  –  The  Middle  Passage   Interviewed:  Stuart  Hands     Print/Online  

Canadian Jewish  News   Interviewed:  Debbie  Werner  

Canadian  Jewish  News   Interviewed:  Danny  Ben-­‐Moshe  (Shalom  Bollywood)     Canadian  Jewish  News   Interviewed:  George  Geddeon  (In  the  Presence  of   My  Neighbours)       CBC  Arts  Online     Marc  Halberstadt  (CowJews  &  Indians)     Examiner.com   Interviewed:  Debbie  Werner,  David  Ross  (DDB)     Forward  –  The  Arty  Semite   Interviewed:  Danny  Ben-­‐Moshe  (Shalom  Bollywood)    


Indiewire –  Shadow  and  Act   Interviewed:  Avishai  Mekonen  (400  Miles  to   Freedom)       Inside  Toronto     Interviewed:  Jean  Paul  (A  Universal  Language)     L’Express   Interviewed:  Jeremie  Abessira     L’Express   Interviewed:  Renaud  Cohen  (In  Case  I  don’t  Win  the   Golden  Palm)       L’Express   Interviewed:  Sylvain  Estibal  and  Myriam  Tekaia   (When  Pigs  Have  Wings)       National  Post  –  The  Diarist   Featured:  Stuart  Hands       Notable.ca  –  Executive  Reads   Featured:  Helen  Zukerman       Toronto  Star     Interviewed:  Marc  Halberstadt  (CowJews  &  Indians)     The  Weekly  Voice     Interviewed:  Danny  Ben-­‐Moshe  (Shalom  Bollywood)     Xtra   Interviewed:  Allen  Baude,    Lihu  Roter  (Out  in  the   Dark)  


Toronto Jewish  Film  Festival  opens  with   serious  satire   Quirky  CowJews  and  Indians  kicks  off  21st  festival  on  April  11.   By:  Linda  Barnard  Movies,  Published  on  Mon  Apr  08  2013   http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/movies/2013/04/08/toronto_jewish_film_festival_ope ns_with_serious_satire.html  

The title  of  the  April  11  opening  movie  of  the  21stToronto  Jewish  Film  Festival  may  be  weighty   but  the  premise  is  simple,  according  to  Marc  Halberstadt,  the  American  writer-­‐director   of  CowJews  and  Indians:  How  Hitler  Scared  My  Relatives  and  I  Woke  Up  in  an  Iroquois   Longhouse  —  Owing  the  Mohawks  Rent.    


“This film  began  with  a  very  small  ambition:  to  document  a  film  about  just  another  Jew  rebelling   against  the  reparation  model,”  said  Halberstadt,  who  started  working  on  his  satirical  doc  with  a   serious  message  more  than  10  years  ago.     Eventually,  he  went  to  Germany  to  make  a  point  about  his  grandparents’  home  being  seized  by   the  Nazis  and  the  folly  of  a  $1,000  payment  designed  to  make  amends  in  1951.  (The  doc  reveals   an  unusual  twist  in  the  tale.)     Cowjews  opens  with  that  scene  and  Halberstadt’s  polite  refusal  to  leave  a  dress  shop  in  a   German  town,  now  located  in  the  downstairs  of  the  home  once  owned  by  his  family.  The  doc   then  makes  the  case  for  his  unusual  formula  for  reparations,  which  he  presents  to   representatives  of  American  aboriginal  tribes,  using  archival  footage,  maps,  cartoons  and  a  good   dollop  of  wry  humour.     “The  hypocrisy  hit  me.  Here  I  am  in  Germany  complaining  about  the  property  taken  away  from   my  ancestors  when  my  ancestors  did  the  same  to  the  Native  Americans,”  said  Halberstadt,  who   also  heads  “the  world’s  only  analogy  service,”  the  AAA  Analogy  Service  Corp.     “There’s  a  parallel  between  what  happened  to  Jews  and  what  happened  to  Indians,”  he  added.   Halberstadt’s  family  came  to  America  and  settled  in  upstate  New  York  on  land  that  had  once   belonged  to  the  Mohawks.  As  he  explains  in  the  doc:  “I  have  a  thought:  If  the  Germans  owe  me   for  65  years’  worth  of  back  rent  —  and  I  owe  the  Native  Americans  for  65  years’  worth  of  back   rent,  why  don’t  I  let  the  Native  Americans  collect  directly  from  the  Germans?  Cut  out  the   middleman.”     The  doc  follows  Halberstadt  and  four  Native  Americans  —  including  Joyce  Tekahnawiiaks  King,   director  of  the  Akwesasne  Justice  Department,  who  will  join  the  filmmaker  for  a  question-­‐and-­‐ answer  session  after  the  April  11  screening  —  on  a  tour  of  Germany.  They  explain  the  model  to   government  and  religious  leaders,  seeking  support  for  the  unusual  idea.  Amazingly,  there’s   some  solid  support.     For  those  who  prefer  docs  on  more  cultural  subjects,  the  TJFF  wraps  on  April  21  with  writer-­‐ director  Roberta  Grossman’s  affectionate  doc  Hava  Nagila  (The  Movie),  about  the  ubiquitous   song  of  Jewish  celebration  seemingly  heard  at  all  weddings  and  bar  and  bat  mitzvahs.     The  doc  traces  the  song’s  Ukrainian  roots  to  North  America,  with  interviews  (and  performances)   from  Harry  Belafonte,  Connie  Francis  and  Glen  Campbell.  Leonard  Nimoy  even  talks  about  his   love  of  the  infectious  tune,  and  the  religious  inspiration  for  his  famous  Spock  salute  that   debuted  on  TV’s  Star  Trek.     TJFF  features  90  films  from  17  countries,  ranging  from  music,  to  drama,  comedy  and  even   horror,  including  two  world  premieres  and  three  international  premieres.     Among  the  other  movies  on  the  bill:  Joe  Papp  in  Five  Acts:  about  the  man  behind  stage  hits   including  Hair  and  A  Chorus  Line;  Neil  Diamond:  Solitary  Man  (a  free  screening);Roman  Polanski:   A  Film  Memoir,  God’s  Neighbors,  an  Israeli  feature  that  premiered  at  the  Cannes  Film  Festival,   and  French  comedy  My  Best  Holidays,  about  an  Algerian-­‐Jewish  family  vacationing  in  rural   France  in  the  1970s.  For  tickets  and  schedules,  go  to  tjff.com.  


Toronto Jewish  Film  Festival  features  people   who  put  the  pop  in  culture   GEOFF PEVERE Special to The Globe and Mail Published Thursday, Apr. 04 2013, 5:15 PM EDT http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/film/toronto-jewish-film-festival-features-people-whoput-the-pop-in-culture/article10784595/

From April  11  to  21,  the  world’s  largest  festival  of  Jewish  and  Jewish-­‐related  film  unfolds  in  Toronto.   While  nearly  100  dramatic  features,  shorts,  documentaries  and  TV  productions  have  been   programmed  from  around  the  world,  among  the  more  conspicuous  elements  of  the  21st  Toronto   Jewish  Film  Festival  are  the  non-­‐fiction  movies  about  Jewish  artists  and  entertainers.     There’s  nothing  new  in  this,  but  the  fact  is  inescapable.  Indeed,  when  Neal  Gabler  wrote  his  1988   account  of  the  role  of  Jews  in  the  American  movie  business,  he  called  it  An  Empire  of  Their  Own:  How   the  Jews  Invented  Hollywood.  Given  the  fact  of  Jewish  contributions  to  international  entertainment   generally,  the  book  might  well  have  been  one  of  a  several-­‐volume  set  calledFrom  Allen  to   Zimmerman:  How  the  Jews  Put  the  Pop  in  Culture.  Because,  as  the  documentary  component  of  TJFF   once  again  renders  irrefutably  clear,  you  can  take  showbiz  out  of  the  Jew,  but  …  


Beautifully Broken:  The  Life  and  Work  of  Rafael  Goldchain   While  the  fixation  with  history  and  identity  that  defines  the  work  of  the  celebrated  Toronto   photographer  Rafael  Goldchain  are  hardly  uncommon  in  the  work  of  Jewish  artists,  the  man’s  own   approach  to  these  issues  is  truly  singular.  By  shooting  himself  dressed  as  his  own  ancestors  in  a   series  of  haunting  portraits,  Goldchain  raises  questions  of  legacy,  responsibility  and  multi-­‐ generational  Judaism  that  filmmaker  Vladimir  Kabelik  uses  as  a  frame  for  interpreting  the  man   behind  the  camera.  (April  17,  6:30  p.m.,  ROM;  April  21,  4:30  p.m.,  Sheppard  5)     Gainsbourg  by  Gainsbourg:  An  Intimate  Self  Portrait   In  Pierre-­‐Henry  Salfati’s  absorbing  but  elliptical  first-­‐person  account  of  the  life  and  career  of  the  late   Russian-­‐born  French  pop  singer,  the  man’s  own  words  describe  a  life  of  hardship,  untreated   alcoholism,  shame  and  –  with  apologies  to  Edith  Piaf  –  no  regrets.  Despite  the  fact  he  was  a  national   hero,  an  international  star,  a  critical  darling  and  accompanied  by  some  of  the  world’s  most   breathtaking  women  –  Anna  Karina,  Brigitte  Bardot,  Jane  Birkin  –  he  retained  a  sense  of  personal   fraudulence  because  he  wasn’t  a  ‘true’  artist.  One  can  only  conclude  he  didn’t  spend  much  time   listening  to  his  own  work.  (April  20,  9:15  p.m.,  Innis  College)     Hava  Nagila  (The  Movie)   In  Roberta  Grossman’s  wry  account  of  the  history  and  subsequent  global  ubiquity  of  the  world’s   most  famous  Jewish  party  song,  there  is  much  dissent  over  the  origins  of  the  composition,  the  best   way  to  play  it,  what  it  really  means,  and  whether  or  not  it’s  a  sublimely  rousing  expression  of  Jewish   communal  solidarity  or  the  most  annoying  assembly  of  musical  notes  ever.  However,  as  the  movie   probes  these  issues  and  implications,  it  confirms  one  thing:  Wherever  there  were  Jews  gathered  for   celebration  in  the  last  century,  Hava  Nagila  was  played,  heard  and  danced  to,  a  reminder  of  a   people’s  fundamental  insistence  on  joy.  (April  21,  8  p.m.,  Bloor)     Jerry  and  Me   When  the  American-­‐based,  Tehran-­‐born  filmmaker  and  teacher  Mehrnaz  Saeed-­‐Vafa  was  growing   up  in  the  Shah’s  Iran,  she  was  transfixed  by  the  hyperkinetic  human  cartoon  image  of  Jerry  Lewis,   who  came  to  symbolize  for  the  young  woman  not  only  a  spirit  of  constant  resistance  against  norms,   authority  and  convention,  but  a  kind  of  maverick  outsider’s  sensibility  that  found  an  enduring  affinity   with  Saeed-­‐Vafa’s  own  lifelong  sense  of  exile.  A  kind  of  personal  essay  told  with  clips  from  Lewis’s   largely  self-­‐directed  oeuvre,  Jerry  and  Me  is  a  movie  about  Jewishness  as  a  unifying  metaphor:  Under   properly  alienating  circumstances,  Jerry  is  the  Jewish  Everyman.  (April  13,  3  p.m.,  Innis)     Joe  Papp  in  Five  Acts   Tracie  Holder’s  and  Karen  Thorson’s  film  profiles  the  late  New  York  theatrical  force,  who  began  by   challenging  Broadway  but  ended  up  ruling  it.  Joe  Papp  in  Five  Acts  is  about  a  man  of  considerable   complexity  and  dimension,  who  at  once  insisted  on  theatre  for  the  people  but  presided   autocratically  over  his  own,  who  concealed  his  Jewishness  for  much  of  his  life  and  then  embraced  it,   and  who  considered  theatre  in  the  very  same  familial  terms  he  denied  his  own  family.  But  the   contradictions  were  crucial  to  the  career,  which  was  based  in  a  belief  that  art  is  surrounded  by  walls   that  are  there  for  the  storming,  and  the  only  thing  standing  between  the  common  guy  and   Shakespeare  was  a  mythical  moat  of  shallow  snobbery.  (April  15,  6:45  p.m.,  Innis;  April  16,  4  p.m.,   Sheppard  5)        


Koch The  recently  deceased,  multiple-­‐termed  mayor  of  New  York  never  met  a  camera  he  didn’t  like.  And   it’s  almost  impossible  to  watch  Neil  Barsky’s  fascinating,  carefully  wart-­‐conscious  portrait  of  Ed  Koch   without  feeling  like  you’re  witnessing  one  of  the  Big  Apple’s  longest-­‐running  showbiz  spectacles.   Koch  was  as  motivated  by  his  own  gargantuan  ego  and  need  for  public  affirmation  as  he  was  by   political  ambitions  and  ideals,  but  the  impressive  thing  about  this  documentary,  completed  not  long   before  its  subject  died  in  February,  is  that  it  provides  a  comprehensive  account  not  only  of  both  sides   of  Koch,  but  how  inextricably  hitched  they  were.  (April  14,  5:45  p.m.,  Bloor)     My  Father  and  the  Man  in  Black   When  filmmaker  Jonathan  Holiff  was  growing  up  in  London,  Ont.,  his  dad  Saul  wasn’t  around  much,   and  when  he  was,  he  wasn’t  much  of  a  dad.  Meanwhile,  Saul  Holiff  was  engaged  in  the  considerable   feat  of  “managing”  the  unmanageable  Johnny  Cash,  turning  the  Man  in  Black  into  a  huge   international  pop  crossover  star  despite  the  fact  the  amphetamine-­‐gobbling  singer  was  aptly  named   for  much  more  than  his  sartorial  habits.  Although  somewhat  marred  by  an  overuse  of  awkwardly   intrusive  re-­‐enacted  sequences,  Holiff’s  movie  about  his  father’s  struggle  with  Cash  is  ultimately   touching  and  illuminating,  an  account  of  an  unlikely  but  deeply  bonded  partnership.  (April  18,  9  p.m.,   Innis)     Neil  Diamond:  Solitary  Man   On  camera,  the  great  pop  songwriter  and  performer  Neil  Diamond  is  open  and  unaffected  yet   inscrutable  and  remote.  He  feels  like  he’s  presenting  himself  rather  than  being  himself.  Not  as  much   as,  say,  Bob  Dylan  in  No  Direction  Home,  but  let’s  just  say  you  shouldn’t  turn  to  British  filmmaker   Samantha  Peters’s  hour-­‐long  portrait  of  the  so-­‐called  “Jewish  Elvis”  for  much  more  than  a  breezy   recap  of  a  hook-­‐heavy  career.  The  music,  of  course,  is  mostly  terrific,  and  the  archival  footage   irresistible.  But  Diamond  is  a  guy  who  built  his  brilliant  career  on  being  careful  and  in  control,  and   that  comes  across  almost  as  forcefully  here  as  the  chorus  for  Cherry  Cherry.  (April  13,  7  p.m.,  Innis)     Roman  Polanski:  A  Film  Memoir   The  world’s  most  perpetually  controversial  film  artist  sits  down,  while  still  under  house  arrest  in   Switzerland  two  years  ago,  and  talks  about  his  life  with  one  of  his  best  friends,  the  producer  Andrew   Braunsberg.  For  anyone  who’s  read  about  Polanski  or  heard  him  interviewed  before,  Laurent   Bouzereau’s  simply-­‐rendered,  two-­‐gentlemen-­‐talking  documentary  won’t  offer  much  by  way  of   revelation,  but  it  is  an  opportunity  to  observe  a  truly  world-­‐class  raconteur  narrate  his  own  story.   And  what  a  story:  From  the  shattering  experiences  in  the  Lodz  Jewish  ghetto  when  the  half-­‐Jewish   Polanski  was  a  boy  to  his  more  recent  struggles,  including  the  1977  case  where  he  plead  guilty  to   illegal  sexual  relations  with  a  minor,  the  Polanski  story  is  one  of  those  very  few  that  gives  even  his   movies  a  run  for  their  money  as  pure  drama.  (April  17,  4  p.m.,  Sheppard  5;  April  21,  3:15  p.m.,  Innis)     For  more  information  on  the  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival  see  tjff.com.     This  article  can  also  be  seen  in  the  following  outlets:      

http://popart-­‐movement.com/toronto-­‐jewish-­‐film-­‐festival-­‐features-­‐people-­‐who-­‐put-­‐the-­‐pop-­‐in-­‐ culture/  


Weekly roundup:  Apps,  awards  and  premiere  dates   February  8,  2013  by  Matt  Sylvain   http://playbackonline.ca/2013/02/08/weekly-­‐roundup-­‐apps-­‐awards-­‐and-­‐premiere-­‐ dates/#ixzz2SG3s4abQ     Herewith,  Playback’s  weekly  curated  briefs  of  news  of  interest  to  the  industry.   New  TJFF  program  manager   Stuart  Hands  has  been  promoted  to  program  manager   from  position  of  assistant  program  manager  at  the   Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival.  He  has  worked  at  the  festival   since  2006,  and  among  other  industry  experience  has   written  for  the  Canadian  film  journal  CineAction.  The   festival  runs  Apr.  11  to  21.

  Weekly  roundup:  ideaBOOST  and  film  and  TV  premieres   March  28,  2013  by  Matt  Sylvain   http://playbackonline.ca/2013/03/28/weekly-­‐roundup-­‐ideaboost-­‐and-­‐film-­‐and-­‐tv-­‐premieres/  

Playback has  prepared  this  weekly  collection  of  industry  news-­‐briefs  on  Thursday  instead  of  Friday  due  to   the  Easter  long  weekend.  Happy  Thursday!     Film  premieres     The  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival   announced  this  week  its  lineup  for  the   event  that  runs  Apr.  11  to  2.  Among  the   numerous  screenings  are  three  Canadian-­‐ made  films  that  are  having  notable   premieres.  Director  Igal  Hecht’s  A   Universal  Language  is  to  receive  its  world   premiere,  director  George  Gedeon’s  In   The  Presence  of  My  Neighbours  is  to   receive  its  North  American  premiere  and   Lewis  Cohen’s  Jews  and  Money(pictured)   is  to  receive  its  Canadian  premiere.


Toronto Jewish Film Festival opens with CowJews & Indians

CBC News

Posted: Apr  11,  2013  10:41  AM  ET     http://www.cbc.ca/news/arts/story/2013/04/10/cowjews-­‐tjff.html  

American filmmaker Marc Halberstadt, left, examines Holocaust reparations, Native land claims and whether they might be related in CowJews and Indians. (Marc Halberstadt)

Filmmaker Marc  Halberstadt  plays  out  an  extended  analogy  in  the  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival's  opening   film,  titled  CowJews  &  Indians:  How  Hitler  Scared  My  Relatives  and  I  Woke  Up  in  an  Iroquois  Longhouse  —   Owing  the  Mohawks  Rent.     The  Nazis  had  forced  his  Jewish  grandfather  to  give  up  his  property  in  Germany,  but  decades  later,   American  Halberstadt  realized  he  was  himself  living  on  Mohawk  land  in  New  York.     “I  started  out  to  try  to  get  my  family’s  property  back  in  Germany,"  Halberstadt  told  CBC  News.    


“Once I  got  to  Germany,  after  some  time  there,  I  realized  I  was  a  hypocrite  because  here  I  am  complaining   about  the  property  taken  away  from  my  ancestors,  when  in  America  I’m  living  on  land  taken  away  from   the  ancestors  of  Native  Americans.   “If  the  Germans  owed  me  65  years  of  back  rent  and  I  owed  the  Native  Americans  65  years  of  back  rent,   why  not  let  the  Native  Americans  collect  directly  from  Germany  and  cut  out  the  middleman?”     In  his  film,  which  gets  its  Canadian  premiere  Thursday  at  TJFF,  Halberstadt  recruits  a  group  of  Mohawk   and  Lakota  heritage  to  travel  to  Germany  and  argue  that  the  Germans  should  pay  reparations  directly  to   them  for  property  Jewish  families  lost  to  the  Nazis.     Not  such  a  far-­‐fetched  idea     It  proves  not  to  be  such  a  far-­‐fetched  idea,  as  the  group  members  are  able  to  get  German  lawyers  to   examine  the  legal  precedent  on  their  behalf  and  find  locals  surprisingly  supportive.     CowJews  &  Indians  is  Halberstadt’s  first  feature  and  its  trickster  premise  stirs  up  awareness  of  what   Native  Americans  lost  with  the  arrival  of  Europeans.     The  Native  Americans  agreed  to  participate  with  the  documentary  for  various  reasons,  Halberstadt  said.   “I  presented  my  idea  and  I  offered  to  pay  for  travel  expenses  and  living  expenses  and  different  people   went  for  different  reasons,”  he  noted.     One  of  the  Lakota  group  members  had  a  great-­‐grandfather  buried  in  Germany,  while  another  wanted  to   further  his  art  career.  A  third  individual,  a  working  comedian,  was  looking  for  comic  insight  into  a  difficult   issue.  Halberstadt  will  answer  audience  questions  after  Thursday  night's  screening  of  his  film.     Exploring  Jewish  identity     The  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival  focuses  on  movies  that  explore  Jewish  identity,  this  year  including   documentaries  that  profile  Neil  Diamond,  Roman  Polanski,  Serge  Gainsbourg  and  late  New  York  mayor  Ed   Koch.    

In  400  Miles  to  Freedom,  Avishai  Yeganyahu  Mekonen  talks  about  the  kidnapping  he  endured  as  a  child   while  his  family  was  en  route  to  Israel.  (TJFF)     There  is  also  a  spotlight  on  African  films,  with  five  movies  from  West  Africa  set  to  screen.     400  Miles  to  Freedom,  a  2012  documentary  about  Ethiopian  Jews  making  their  way  to  Israel,  will  have  its   Canadian  premiere  at  the  festival.  The  film’s  co-­‐director  Avishai  Yeganyahu  Mekonen  recounts  his  family’s  


exodus from  Ethiopia  in  the  1980s,  a  long  journey,  by  foot,  that  included  his  being  kidnapped  at  age  11.   Israel  gives  his  family  a  mixed  welcome,  insisting  the  Ethiopians  "convert"  to  Judaism,  although  they  are   already  Jews.     Feature  fiction  films  on  the  TJFF  program  include:     My  Best  Holidays,  a  French  comedy  set  in  the  1970s  about  a  Jewish  Algerian  family  taking  a  vacation  in  a   French  rural  village  never  visited  by  Jews  before.     God’s  Neighbors,  an  Israeli  movie  that  screened  at  Cannes  about  a  religious  gang  that  enforces  a  strict   moral  code  in  a  Jaffa  suburb  and  what  happens  when  its  leader  is  attracted  to  a  girl  who  won’t  follow  the   rules.     Aliyah,  about  a  young  Parisian  who  is  selling  drugs  to  pay  off  his  brother’s  debt  and  also  to  raise  enough   money  to  immigrate  to  Israel.     The  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival  runs  April  11-­‐21,  with  movies  screening  around  the  Greater  Toronto   Area.  

This  article  can  also  be  seen  in  the  following  media  outlets:    

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/04/11/toronto-­‐jewish-­‐film-­‐festi_n_3062680.html  

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/toronto-­‐jewish-­‐film-­‐festival-­‐opens-­‐cowjews-­‐indians-­‐   144036683.html    

http://news.ca.msn.com/local/toronto/toronto-­‐jewish-­‐film-­‐festival-­‐opens-­‐with-­‐cowjews-­‐and-­‐indians  

http://www.panow.com/node/329418


A Universal  Language   http://globalnews.ca/video/472158/a-­‐universal-­‐language    

Thu, Apr  11:  Yuk  Yuk’s  founder  Mark  Breslin  stops  by  The  Morning  Show  to  preview  a   documentary  in  which  he  takes  six  Canadian  comedians  on  a  tour  of  Israel.  


Diary: Stuart  Hands  of  the  Toronto  Jewish   Film  Festival   STUART HANDS, SPECIAL TO NATIONAL POST | 13/04/07 | Last

Updated:13/04/08 11:13 AM ET http://arts.nationalpost.com/2013/04/07/diary-stuart-hand-of-the-torontojewish-film-festival/

TJFFThough genre fare is rare in Israeli cinema, this year's TJFF features Poisoned, a fun and exciting 45minute film about a young nebbish battling his fellow Israeli soldiers, who have been turned into flesheating zombies.

The National  Post  takes  you  through  a  week  in  the  life  of  a  notable  cultural  figure.  This   week:  Stuart  Hands  is  the  program  manager  of    the  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival,   which  runs  April  11  to  21.  For  tickets  and  information,  visit  tjff.com.  


Monday This  year  the  Festival  screens  many  remarkable  Israeli  films  as  we  commemorate  the   country’s  65th  anniversary.  Over  the  years,  we  have  seen  new  trends  emerge  in  the   country’s  film  output.  A  number  of  our  programmers  and  I  have  noticed  a  great  crop  of   Israeli  “genre  films”  (such  as  musicals,  horror  films,  screwball  comedies  and   psychological  thrillers).  A  few  years  ago,  the  Festival  screened  a  musical  TV  miniseries   made  by  Eytan  Fox  (The  Bubble,  Yossi)  called  Mary  Lou,  about  a  young  drag  queen  in   search  of  his  mother.  To  me  it  was  clear  that  Fox  understood  the  conventions  of  the   musical  and  how  they  push  the  story  forward  and  develop  the  main  characters.  A  year   later,  we  screened  what  has  been  called  the  first  Israeli  “slasher”  film,  Rabies.  A  Tel  Aviv   University  film  lecturer,  Aharon  Keshales  and  his  former-­‐student,  Navot  Papushado,  co-­‐ directed  this  well-­‐crafted  and  intelligent  film.  The  filmmakers  clearly  understood  what   today’s  horror  film  fans  expect  and  cleverly  manipulated  the  “slasher”  film  conventions   to  create  something  fresh  that  spoke  to  modern  Israeli  society  on  a  deeper  level.     Tuesday  

TJFFCats on a Pedal Boat

Genre films  are  rarely  produced  in  Israel,  but  there  is  much  potential  for  change.  This   year,  I,  along  with  fellow  Festival  programmer  Jérémie  Abessira,  are  very  excited  about   two  horror-­‐comedies,  which  are  being  screened  on  one  bill  during  the  Festival.   There’s  Poisoned,  a  fun  and  exciting  45-­‐minute  film  about  a  young  nebbish  battling  his   fellow  Israeli  soldiers,  who  have  been  turned  into  flesh-­‐eating  zombies.  Then  there’sCats   on  A  Pedal  Boat,  pictured,  a  self-­‐parodying,  very  low-­‐budget  tribute  to  American  teen   films  of  the  ’80s.  Perhaps  it  can  be  described  as  an  odd  but  hilarious  cross   between  Piranha  and  The  Goonies.  Both  films  are  being  co-­‐presented  with  the  Toronto   After  Dark  Film  Festival.  This  double-­‐bill  is  one  of  the  programs  that  I  most  excited  about   attending.  The  director  of  Poisoned  will  be  there,  and  I  look  forward  to  hearing  about   the  future  of  this  impressive  cycle  of  Israeli  films.  


Wednesday Since  joining  the  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival  in  2006,  I  have  noticed  how  few  British   films  have  been  produced  about  the  Jewish  experience.    The  most  memorable  in  recent   years  have  been  Sixty-­‐Six,  starring  Helena  Bonham  Carter,  and  last  year’s  eccentric   documentary  How  to  Re-­‐Establish  a  Vodka  Empire.  Compared  with  the  United  States,   markers  of  Jewish  identity  are  not  as  easily  found  in  British  film  and  television.  (Or,  as   someone  who  grew  up  with  Woody  Allen  and  Seinfeld,  am  I  just  not  recognizing  British   signifiers  of  Jewish  identity?)  But  there’s  a  sign  things  are  changing.  Films  with  more   Jewish  content  are  being  produced  and  more  studies  are  currently  being  written   chronicling  the  impact  of  Jewish  artists  and  entrepreneurs  on  the  British  film  and   television  industry.  For  this  year’s  Festival,  when  soliciting  films,  I  paid  particular   attention  to  what  was  coming  out  of  Britain,  and  ended  up  with  a  smashing  lineup  of   films  from  across  the  pond.     Thursday  

TJFFJewish Mum of the Year

Although not  many  British  films  are  normally  produced  about  the  Jewish  experience,  we   have  found  a  great  selection  to  present  at  this  year’s  Festival.  Exploring  the  history  of   the  Jewish  community  in  Leeds,  the  poignant  documentary  The  Last  Tribe  offers  rare   insight  into  the  struggles  and  successes  of  the  Jews  of  Britain.  The  film  also  provides  an   interesting  counterpoint  to  the  often-­‐told  narratives  of  American  Jewish  assimilation.   On  a  lighter  note,  the  British  reality  show  Jewish  Mum  of  the  Year,  pictured  above,  is  a   hilarious  and  highly  addictive  series  that  aired  on  U.K.’s  Channel  4  and  was  watched  by   1.6  million  Brits.  We  are  proud  to  have  this  original  series  make  its  North  American   premiere  at  our  Festival.  I  am  convinced  Toronto  audiences  have  never  seen  anything  


quite like  it.  Lastly,  our  program  of  Jewish  comedy  shorts  features  two  little  gems  from   Britain  that,  for  me  at  least,  now  begs  the  question:  Is  there  such  a  thing  as  British-­‐ Jewish  humour?     Friday   This  year,  the  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival  is  programming  a  poignant  Israeli   experimental  documentary  about  photography  and  memory  called  Hunting  Time.  Over   the  past  few  years  the  Festival  has  been  aiming  to  include  films  that  are  challenging   artistically.  Sometimes,  we  come  across  wonderful  experimental  short  films,  only  to  find   that  we  have  no  appropriate  features  with  which  to  pair  them.  A  few  years  ago,  we  took   a  chance  on  an  avant-­‐garde  campy  musical  feature  called  The  Stockholm  Syndrome.  A   fellow  programmer,  Allen  Braude,  introduced  the  film  to  an  audience  of  20  or  so.  The   next  day,  an  older,  well-­‐dressed  couple  who  attended  the  screening  approached  Allen,   who  expected  them  to  question  the  programming  we  do.  Instead,  to  his  delight,  they   expressed  how  pleased  they  were  to  have  seen  a  film  so  different  from  what  they  would   normally  see  in  theatres.  Of  course,  this  unexpected  feedback  taught  us  to  not  make   assumptions  about  people,  but  it  also  reinvigorated  us  to  continue  screening  artistically   challenging  work,  in  the  hopes  of  eventually  cultivating  an  audience  that  will  appreciate   them.    


Toronto Jewish  Film  Festival    

BY: ADAM  NAYMAN   http://www.thegridto.com/culture/film/toronto-­‐jewish-­‐film-­‐festival/    

April 11–21.  An  Israeli  comedy-­‐horror  hybrid  at  this  year’s  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival,   co-­‐presented  with  the  gore-­‐hounds  at  Toronto  After  Dark,  Didi  


Lubetzky’s Poisoned  (April  13,  10  p.m.,  Innis  College)  takes  its  place  in  the  canon  of   thrillers  set  on  specific  holidays:  April  Fool’s  Day,  Black  Christmas,  Halloween.     The  special  day  in  question  here  is  Passover,  which  is  transformed  from  an  evening  of   celebration  and  reflection  to  a  pitched  battle  between  Israeli  Defense  Forces  and  a   gaggle  of  zombies.  The  hero  is  a  meek  custodian  (David  Shaul)  who  must  take  up  arms   (and  other  implements)  to  dispatch  an  entire  barracks’  worth  of  mutated  commandos,   and  there’s  a  good  enough  ratio  of  laughs  to  gore  to  sustain  the  film  through  its  short   running  time.  By  contrast,  Yuval  Mendelson  and  Nadav  Hollander’s  Cats  on  a  Pedal   Boat,  which  screens  during  the  same  programme,  is  painfully  protracted  in  its  spoofing   of  American  B-­‐movies.  Still,  it  features  a  few  likeably  surreal  touches,  including  a   confrontation  with  some  feline  sea  monsters.   The  presence  of  such  genre  fare  at  TJFF  suggests  that  the  festival’s  programmers  are   trying  to  rope  in  a  younger  crowd,  but  there  are  also  numerous  examples  of  more   traditional  material.  The  narrative  standout  is  probably  Rama  Burshtein’s  Fill  The   Void  (April  21,  6  p.m.,  Bloor  Hot  Docs  Cinema),  a  melodrama  about  the  ultra-­‐Orthodox   Haredi  community  of  Tel  Aviv  that  pivots  on  a  teenage  girl’s  decision  about  whether  or   not  to  forgo  an  arranged  marriage.  The  film,  which  showed  last  fall  at  TIFF,  swept  the   Israeli  Academy  Awards.     As  usual,  TJFF  has  brought  in  a  number  of  documentaries  about  well-­‐known  Jewish   entertainers  and  public  figures,  including  Jerry  Lewis—who  figures  in  Iranian-­‐American   director  Mehrnaz  Saeedvafa’s  intriguing  and  autobiographical  Jerry  and  Me  (April  13,  3   p.m.,  Innis  College)—and  Neil  Diamond,  who  gets  the  BBC  doc  treatment  in  Neil   Diamond:  Solitary  Man  (April  13,  7  p.m.,  Innis  College).  Neil  Barsky’s  Koch  (April  14,  5:45   p.m.,  Bloor  Hot  Docs  Cinema),  which  was  shot  two  years  before  the  death  of  its   subject—the  iconic,  oft-­‐embattled  former  New  York  City  mayor  Ed  Koch—and  has  an   appropriately  valedictory  feel.  Barsky’s  long  interview  segments  with  his  eponymous   star  yield  both  candid  reflections  and  confrontational  posturing.  (“None  of  your  fucking   business,”  the  octogenarian  Koch  barks  when  presented  with  rumours  about  his   sexuality.)  Testimony  from  his  many  critics  prevents  any  chance  of  things  sliding  into   hagiography.     There’s  a  more  fawning  tone  in  Roman  Polanski:  A  Film  Memoir  (April  17,  4  p.m.,   Sheppard  5;  April  21,  3:15  p.m.,  Innis  College),  in  which  the  great  director  reminisces   about  his  relentlessly  eventful  life  with  his  longtime  friend  and  producer  Andrew   Braunsberg.  The  film  quite  obviously  means  to  reupholster  its  subject’s  reputation,   downplaying  his  illicit  activities  and  emphasizing  that  the  young  woman  he  raped  has   unequivocally  long  since  forgiven  him.  The  result  is  a  documentary  that’s  far  less   nuanced  and  complex  than  the  man  it  describes,  and  while  Polanski’s  descriptions  of  his   nightmarish  childhood  and  his  reaction  to  learning  of  Sharon  Tate’s  murder  are  nearly   verbatim  from  his  1984  autobiography,  the  stories  are  compelling  in  the  extreme.  


Toronto Jewish  Film  Fest,  Spotlight  On  Africa  -­‐   '400  Miles  to  Freedom'   BY  MASHA  DOWELL  |  APRIL  19,  2013  6:34  PM   http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/toronto-­‐jewish-­‐film-­‐fest-­‐spotlight-­‐on-­‐africa-­‐400-­‐miles-­‐to-­‐ freedom  

“400  Miles  to  Freedom”  tells  a  collective  story  of  Jews  from  the  African  Diaspora.  Leading  in  telling  this   amazing  and  often  unheard  of  story,  is  the  story  of  a  young  man,  film  director  Avishai  Mekonen.  At  10   years  old,  he  was  kidnapped  and  held  captive  in  Sudan;  while  his  family  lived  in  Ethiopia  (Beta  Israel).   After  his  return;  his  family  made  a  pilgrimage  to  Jerusalem.    


The Beta  Israel  region  of  Ethiopia  was  a  2,500-­‐year-­‐old  community  of  observant  Jews.    The  goal  of  this   community  (including  Avishai’s  family)  was  to  land  in  their  religious  home  country  of  Israel.  However,   once  there,  they  learn  that  although  they  are  Jewish,  they  are  not  accepted.   Avishai  was  inspired  to  create  this  film  because  he  wanted  to  be  able  to  explain  to  his  son  his  history  as  a   man  from  Ethiopia;  yet,  of  Jewish  faith.  His  goal  for  this  project  was  to  assist  people  with  their  identity   issues;  and  to  educate  the  non  Jewish  community.     Throughout  the  documentary,  Avishai  struggles  to  explain  to  high  officials  in  Israel  of  his  religion.  There  is   one  scene  where  one  high  ranking  Rabbi  questions  his  religion.  This  hurts  him  deeply,  and  he  has  a   discussion  with  his  family  about  the  incident.  They  don’t  understand  why  he  is  not  easily  identified  as  a   Jewish  man  in  Israel.  The  last  thing  that  he  wants  to  do  is  blame  his  confusion  on  racism.  However,  it  was   through  this  revelation  that  this  documentary  came  about.  Because  after  he  discovers  and  releases  his   frustrations;  he  decides  to  travel  the  world  to  learn  about  other  black  Jews.  It  would  then  take  Mekonen   seven  years  to  complete  this  film.   The  documentary  then  goes  on  to  introduce  us  to  other  Jews  from  the  African  Diaspora.  The  stories  are   amazing.  Yet,  I  can’t  help  but  think  of  a  challenge  it  must  have  been  for  many  black  Jews  to  be  committed   to  a  faith;  yet,  not  readily  accepted.     This  documentary  opened  my  eyes  to  something  that  I  never  concluded  about  religion.  That  not  only  is  it   about  a  faith  in  something  higher  than  one’s  self,  but  I  have  come  to  understand  that  religion  creates  a   sense  of  belonging  in  various  communities.  By  watching  Avishai’s  pain  and  challenges  I  realized  that  it   appeared  that  he  longed  to  have  a  home  country  and  to  be  accepted.  Yes,  he  was  African  and  of  Jewish   faith,  but  through  it  all  he  wanted  to  belong  to  a  group;  and  that  group  happened  to  be  Judaism.     As  an  African-­‐American;  that  happens  to  be  a  Christian.  This  documentary  presents  many  great  questions   for  me  to  explore.  If  religion  creates  a  feeling  of  belonging  in  communities;  what  happens  to  people  that   are  spiritual;  but  not  religious?  Furthermore,  this  documentary  makes  me  wonder  about  the  many   questions  of  belonging  that  many  blacks  in  America  may  have.   In  this  film,  Avishai  knew  his  family  was  from  Ethiopia;  and  he  knew  that  they  fled  a  dictatorship  and   landed  in  Israel,  however,  what  about  the  black  people  in  America  that  don’t  know  anything;  will  they   forever  possess  the  feeling  of  not  belonging?  


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Toronto Jewish Film Festival http://www.chch.com/morning-live-blog/item/12398-toronto-jewish-film-festival The Toronto Jewish Film Festival is entering its 21st year and joining us now with information about this year's festival is Marc Halberstadt, director of one of the opening night filims, Cowjews and Indians: How Hitler Scared My Relatives and I Woke Up in an Iroquois Longhouse, Owing the Mohawks Rent.


This Week  in  Film:  Like  Someone  in  Love,   Upstream  Color,  Images  Festival,  and  Toronto   Jewish  Film  Festival   Posted by Blake Williams / APRIL 11, 2013 http://www.blogto.com/film/2013/04/this_week_in_film_like_someone_in_love_upstream_color_i mages_festival_and_toronto_jewish_film_festival/ Toronto Jewish Film Festival (April 11-21)

  Is  film  what  Jews  do  best?  To  find  out,  you'll  have  to  attend  the  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival,   now  in  its  21st  year  and  once  again  offering  a  fresh  slew  of  films  celebrating  Jewish  culture,   politics,  struggles,  history  and  identity.  With  nearly  100  films  from  over  a  dozen  different   countries,  TJFF  has  something  for  everyone  -­‐  Jewish  or  otherwiseserving  up  a  diversity  of  genres,   content  and  styles  from  all  over  the  world,  including  hot  titles  pulled  from  Cannes  (Aliyah),  last   year's  TIFF  (Fill  the  Void)  and  the  silent  film  archives  (Oded  the  Wanderer,  which  will  include   live  piano  accompaniment!).     This  is  another  festival  that  is  spread  out  across  various  venues  throughout  the  city,  so  check   dates,  times,  titles,  and  locations  on  there  website.  Tickets  can  be  purchased  online  here  for  a   $1  convenience  fee,  or  also  at  the  venue  on  the  day  of  the  screenings.  


Five must-­‐see  movies  from  this  year’s  Toronto   Jewish  Film  Festival   April  11  –  By  Anthony  Marcusa     http://www.postcity.com/Eat-­‐Shop-­‐Do/Do/April-­‐2013/Five-­‐must-­‐see-­‐movies-­‐from-­‐the-­‐Toronto-­‐ Jewish-­‐Film-­‐Festival/  

Would the Toronto Jewish Film Festival be complete without a zombie movie like Poisoned?

“Film. It’s  what  the  Jews  do  best,”  reads  the  homepage  of  the  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival.  It’s   playful  and  quite  possibly  true,  considering  the  breath  of  the  11-­‐day  movie  event.  There  are   documentaries  and  dramas,  naturally,  but  also  horror,  comedy  and  even  a  screening  of  a  reality   program.  Playing  across  Toronto  starting  today,  the  festival  features  entries  from  around  the   world.  


Here are  just  some  of  the  many  noteworthy  films  in  the  expansive  lineup.     CowJews  and  Indians:  How  Hitler  Scared  My  Relatives  and  I  Woke  Up  in  an  Iroquois   Longhouse  —  Owing  the  Mohawks  Rent   While  the  verbose  title  may  seem  a  bit  esoteric,  this  opening  night  documentary,  grandiose  in   scope  and  incredibly  idealistic,  is  simple  and  pure  in  heart  and  purpose.  Marc  Halberstadt  tells   the  story  of  a  longstanding  global  issue:  displacement.  His  descendents  in  Germany  —  workers   in  the  cattle  trade,  where  the  titular  “CowJew”  originates  —  were  removed  from  their  home,   and  he  wants  it  back.  Halberstadt  shares  his  bold  ideas  with  the  audience  as  well  as  a  group  of   Native  Americans,  who  he  describes  as  the  rightful  landlords  of  North  America.  Quixotic,  smart   and  compelling,  Halberstadt’s  film  is  undeniably  passionate  and  evocative.   April  11,  8:30  p.m.,  Bloor  Cinema     Poisoned   No  film  festival  is  complete  without  zombies  —  well,  that  seems  to  be  the  mantra  of  this   decade,  at  least.  This  Israeli  export  is  a  horror  comedy,  finding  the  inept-­‐yet-­‐charming  son  of  a   legendary  military  hero  amid  a  zombie  apocalypse.  An  army  base  becomes  infected  over   Passover,  and  only  Danny  and  Maya  are  left  to  fight  and  survive  the  night.  Short,  sweet  and   super  bloody.   April  13,  10  p.m.  Innis  College     A  Universal  Language   Yuk  Yuk’s  founder  Mark  Breslin  takes  a  colourful  collective  of  Canadian  comics  (some  Jewish,   some  not)  over  to  Israel  in  the  name  of  humour,  understanding  and  compassion.  This  comedic   pilgrimage  explores  the  boundaries  of  humour  and  its  common,  uniting  thread  throughout  the   world.  The  film  is  at  times  funny  and  awkward,  endearing  and  uncomfortable.   April  14,  8:30  p.m.,  Bloor  Cinema     Delicious  Peace  Grows  in  a  Ugandan  Coffee  Bean   This  wondrously  titled  40-­‐minute  documentary  follows  a  global  collective  initiative  from   Uganda.  A  country  with  an  impoverished  people,  surrounded  by  other  poor  nations,  Uganda   relies  on  the  export  of  coffee  beans,  the  world’s  second  largest  commodity.  Full  of  hope  and   history  (and  narrated  by  the  dulcet  tones  of  Ed  O’Neill),  the  film  introduces  viewers  to  a  small   village  made  up  of  Christians,  Jews  and  Muslims,  who  join  together  to  develop  a  sustainable  and   fruitful  economic  collective.  They  name  it  Mirembe  Kawomera  —  delicious  peace.  Simple  and   illuminating,  the  enthusiasm  and  optimism  is  palpable  as  the  co-­‐op  gains  global  recognition  and   support.   April  15,  1  p.m.,  ROM     Second  Movement  for  Piano  and  Needlework   A  beautiful,  lyrical  romance,  this  colourful  entry  is  one  of  the  festival’s  more  surprising  pieces.  A   peculiar  but  curious  uncertainty  underscores  this  50-­‐minute  film  that  follows  a  pair  of  strangers,   one  a  Korean  music  teacher  and  the  other  a  Jewish  clothing  designer,  through  their  intertwining   lives  in  São  Paulo,  Brazil.  Music  and  art,  culture  and  heritage  and  men  and  women  of  varying   age,  size,  colour  and  sexual  orientation  make  up  this  lovely,  warming  Brazilian  film.   April  18,  3  p.m.,  ROM  


Jerry Lewis  shows  sensitive  side  in  The  Jazz   Singer   TV  remake  of  Al  Jolson  movie  screens  at  Toronto  Jewish  Film   Festival.   Staff Reporter., Published on Fri Apr 12 2013 http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/movies/2013/04/12/jerry_lewis_shows_s ensitive_side_in_the_jazz_singer.html   By: Eric Veillette

There’s long  been  a  joke  about  the  French  inexplicably  loving  the  films  of  Jerry  Lewis.   But  maybe  they’re  onto  something.  Although  a  number  of  politically  incorrect  comments  made  by   the  Hollywood  legend  over  the  past  decade  have  not  helped  his  image,  Murray  Pomerance  of   Ryerson  University  thinks  film  enthusiasts  should  take  another  look.   “So  many  people  who  have  negative  things  to  say  about  Jerry  Lewis  do  not  pay  close  attention  to  his   art,”  he  says.    


An especially  sensitive  side  to  that  art  will  be  on  display  on  Saturday  as  the  Toronto  Jewish  Film   Festival  screens  The  Jazz  Singer,  a  1959  televised  remake  of  the  first  talking  picture,  which  starred  Al   Jolson.     The  film  was  unseen  for  decades  until  it  was  released  on  DVD  last  year.  It  was  one  of  two  films  Lewis   long  refused  to  discuss.  The  other  was  the  controversial  The  Day  the  Clown  Cried  from  1972.     Much  like  its  largely  silent  predecessor  from  1927  —  and  an  earlier  remake  from  1952  —The  Jazz   Singer  centres  on  a  cantor’s  son  who  deviates  from  traditional  family  expectations.  Pomerance,  who   edited  the  book  Enfant  Terrible!:  Jerry  Lewis  in  American  Film,  was  deeply  touched  by  the  sincerity  in   Lewis’s  performance.     “It  intersects  in  many  ways,”  he  says.  “It’s  Jerry  Lewis  and  his  own  feelings  toward  Judaism,  toward   his  own  father  —  a  Borscht  Belt  comic  —  and  a  sense  of  allegiance  to  the  family  tradition.”     Also  on  display  is  a  sense  of  maternal  hunger,  where  the  mother  instructs  her  child  to  give  up  his   career.  “That  kind  of  sacrifice  is  absent  from  most  of  his  comedic  work,  where  he’s  not  giving   anything  up  to  anyone  but  himself.”     As  the  story  goes,  Lewis,  as  Joey  Rabinowitz,  ultimately  relents,  giving  up  his  showbiz  career  to   perform  the  sacred  “Kol  Nidre”  before  Yom  Kippur  in  place  of  his  absent  father.  But  showbiz  and   what’s  happening  in  the  synagogue  are  not  that  unrelated,  adds  Pomerance.  “He’s  still  standing  on  a   stage,  still  playing  a  role  and  the  Kol  Nidre  is  still  scripted.  It’s  not  improvised.”     Rob  King,  who  teaches  film  comedy  at  Columbia  University,  says  The  Jazz  Singer,  produced  three   years  after  the  breakup  of  Lewis’s  10-­‐year  partnership  with  Dean  Martin,  testifies  to  a  crazy  moment   in  Lewis’s  career:  “The  split  unleashed  all  of  his  ambitions.  There’s  an  impetus  in  his  career  to   become  the  total  entertainer,  which  was  not  unlike  Al  Jolson.     “What  you’re  seeing  in  Jerry  Lewis  is  someone  whose  career  overlaps  with  a  number  of  ends.  It’s  the   end  of  the  studio  era,  it’s  the  end  of  Vaudeville,  and  both  of  these  ends  required  him  to  come  up   with  a  new  kind  of  comedy.”     American  critics  of  Lewis  would  disparage  his  frenetic  mugging,  his  spasmodic  comedy.   “It  required  a  dynamic  pace,  a  real  genius  which  was  unparalleled  in  any  previous  style  of  comedy,”   says  King.     The  same  year  as  The  Jazz  Singer,  Lewis  signed  a  $10-­‐million,  14-­‐picture  contract  with  Paramount   Pictures  to  write,  direct,  produce  and  edit  his  own  films.  He  made  a  case  for  himself  as  an   autonomous  filmmaker  —  “unprecedented  since  Orson  Welles,”  notes  King  —  and  in  the  early  1960s   released  a  string  of  films  like  The  Errand  Boy,  The  Nutty  Professor  and  The  Ladies  Man,  the  latter  a   deconstructionist  experiment  in  big-­‐budget  filmmaking  that  later  influenced  Jean-­‐Luc  Godard.     When  Martin  sings,  it  seems  effortless,  but  with  Lewis,  who  is  now  87,  every  breath,  every  tap  dance   is  meticulously  learned,  says  Pomerance.  “In  typical  Jewish  fashion,  Lewis  wants  you  to  know  that  he   learned  the  lesson.”     The  Jazz  Singer  screens  April  13  at  3  p.m.  at  Innis  College.  See  http://tjff.com/www.tjff.comEND  for   information.  


Toronto Jewish  Film  Festival   You’ll  be  singing  I’m  A  Believer  after  watching  these  Toronto  Jewish   Film  Fest  flicks   http://www.nowtoronto.com/movies/story.cfm?content=192017     TORONTO  JEWISH  FILM  FESTIVAL  opens  tonight  (Thursday,  April  11)  and  runs  to  April  21.   Various  locations.  $8-­‐$20.  tjff.com.  See  listings.    

Jewish  Elvis   NEIL  DIAMOND:  SOLITARY  MAN                                                                                                                        (Samantha  Peters,  UK).  59   minutes.  Saturday  (April  13),  7  pm,  Innis  College.  Rating:  NNN   Neil  Diamond  fans  –  and  I  know  you’re  out  there  –  won’t  want  to  miss  this  doc  about  how  an   introverted  boychik  from  Brooklyn  became  the  extroverted  Jewish  Elvis.  


Solitary Man  mines  home  movies  (starting  with  footage  his  haberdasher  dad  shot  of  Neil’s  mom   coming  home  with  her  baby  from  the  hospital)  and  interviews  with  childhood  friends  like  Neil   Sedaka,  and  the  producers  he  fought  with  –  Jeff  Barry  in  particular.  The  doc  tracks  Diamond’s   teen  years,  the  first  of  his  songs  that  charted,  how  his  tune  I’m  A  Believer  became  a  hit  for  the   Monkees  and  changed  his  life,  through  to  his  recent  appearance  at  the  mammoth  Glastonbury   Festival.   Problem  is,  there’s  too  much  repetition  on  the  theme  of  Diamond’s  difficulties  finding  his   footing  as  a  performer  and,  unfortunately,  he’s  the  least  interesting  character  in  the  movie.   But  his  music  catalogue  sure  has  legs.  Seems  like  all  200,000  people  at  Glastonbury  knew  the   chorus  to  Sweet  Caroline.     SUSAN  G.  COLE     Comic  journey   A  UNIVERSAL  LANGUAGE                                                                                                                        (Igal  Hecht,  U.S.).  70  minutes.  Sunday   (April  14),  8:30  pm,  Bloor.  Rating:  NNN   Yuk  Yuk’s  founder  Mark  Breslin  and  six  Canadian  stand-­‐ups  travel  to  the  Holy  Land  to  see  if  their   jokes  detonate  in  one  of  the  world’s  most  politically  charged  centres.   Sounds  like  a  great  premise,  and  it  pays  off,  up  to  a  point.  Breslin  and  some  comics  –  particularly   Rebecca  Kohler,  Jean  Paul  and  Aaron  Berg  –  are  in  fine  form  in  Jerusalem  and  Tel  Aviv,  playing  to   everyone  from  senior  citizens  to  savvy  hipsters.   There  are  contradictions  aplenty,  like  the  comedy  club  that  bans  the  word  “crap”  and  anything   sexual.  The  worst  response  they  get  is  in  a  club  in  East  Jerusalem,  when  an  entire  table  leaves   after  one  comic  fails  to  mention  Palestine.  A  shame  director  Igal  Hecht  and  crew  didn’t  follow   those  patrons  for  a  response.   But  it’s  a  joy  seeing  the  comics  integrate  their  trip  into  their  material  (Jean  Paul’s  Dead  Sea  joke   is  priceless).  And  there  are  plenty  of  moving  moments,  as  when  Breslin  inserts  the  set  list  of   Jewish  comic  Stewart  Silver,  who  was  to  have  joined  them  but  died  suddenly  before  the  trip,   into  the  Western  Wall.   GLENN  SUMI     Roman  holiday   ROMAN  POLANSKI:  A  FILM  MEMOIR                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              (Laurent  Bouzereau,  UK).  90  minutes.  Wednesday  (April  17),  4   pm,  Sheppard  Grande  5;  April  21,  3:15  pm,  Innis  College.  Rating:  NNN   The  title  gives  the  game  away:  Roman  Polanski:  A  Film  Memoir  isn’t  going  to  be  an  exposé  or  a   hard-­‐hitting  look  at  the  career  of  the  controversial  director  (and  convicted  child  rapist).   Instead,  it’s  a  convivial  meander  through  his  illustrious  past  with  the  filmmaker  and  his  friend   Andrew  Braunsberg.  They  recall  the  good  old  days  when  Polanski  was  friends  with  lots  of   famous  people  and  made  classics  like  Rosemary’s  Baby  and  Chinatown,  before  the   unpleasantness  that  caused  him  to  flee  America  and  work  in  Europe  for  over  three  decades.   Director  Laurent  Bouzereau,  who  made  his  name  producing  epic  making-­‐of  documentaries  for   Steven  Spielberg  and  Robert  Zemeckis,  finds  some  great  archival  material  and  clearly  has  his   subject’s  trust.   I  just  can’t  help  feeling  it  might  have  been  worth  risking  that  trust  to  dig  a  little  deeper  into  the   man’s  psyche.   NORMAN  WILNER    


Reliving Munich  in  ‘72  

http://globalnews.ca/video/491310/reliving-­‐munich-­‐in-­‐72  

Thu, Apr  18:  Avraham  Melamed,  two-­‐time  Olympic  swimmer  for  Israel,  is  on  The  Morning  Show   to  talk  about  the  film  The  Eleventh  Day,  screening  at  the  Jewish  Toronto  Film  Festival.    


A tentative  celebration  of  Roman  Polanski:   Knelman   Controversial  director  Roman  Polanski  makes  no  excuses  in  a   documentary  making  its  belated  Canadian  premiere.   By: Martin Knelman Entertainment, Published on Tue Apr 09 2013  

http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/movies/2013/04/09/a_tentative_celebration_of_roma n_polanski_knelman.html  

In  Roman  Polanski:  A  Film  Memoir,  the  controversial  movie  director  and  fugitive  says  that  years  ago  he   enjoyed  attending  film  festivals.  But  the  2009  Zurich  Film  Festival  is  not  among  his  happy  memories.     He  had  made  the  trip  from  France  to  accept  a  lifetime  achievement  award.  At  the  Zurich  airport  he   walked  into  a  trap  —  and  was  arrested  on  a  U.S.  warrant  in  connection  with  a  sex  crime  in  Los  Angeles   more  than  30  years  earlier.    


Polanski was  jailed  for  eight  weeks,  then  kept  under  house  arrest.  Eventually  Swiss  authorities  denied  the   U.S.  extradition  request  —  so  he  was  free  to  return  to  France,  where  he  lives  with  his  second  wife  and   their  children  while  continuing  to  make  movies.     On  April  17,  the  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival  will  offer  the  belated  Canadian  premiere  of  this  2011  doc   from  director  Laurent  Bouzereau.     Yes,  I  know.  Many  will  avoid  seeing  this  film,  dismissing  it  as  propaganda  for  a  villain  who  should  be   rotting  in  jail.  But  without  pretending  Polanski  was  innocent,  this  film  provides  a  rich,  compelling   chronicle.     It’s  hard  to  sort  out  your  responses.  First  we  have  the  tragic  yet  inspiring  story  of  a  kid  with  a  nightmare   childhood  who  not  only  survived  but  went  on  to  become  one  of  the  world’s  best  movie  directors.  Then  we   have  the  second  act  of  a  guy  who,  just  when  he  seemed  at  the  top  of  his  game,  was  devastated  by  the   senseless,  horrific  murder  of  his  wife.     Polanski  was  born  in  France  1933,  but  moved  with  his  family  to  Poland  not  long  before  the  Second  World   War.  His  mother  (pregnant  at  the  time)  was  snatched  away  by  the  Nazis  and  killed.  Decades  later  he  used   painful  memories  of  the  Nazi  occupation  to  provide  the  texture  of  his  greatest  movie,  The  Pianist  (2002),   for  which  he  won  the  Oscar.     The  historical  film  clips  enrich  the  doc  and  take  it  beyond  talking  heads.  Producer  Andrew  Braunsberg,  an   old  friend  of  Polanski  who  serves  as  narrator  and  interviewer,  is  annoyingly  fawning  and  gabby.  Yet   Polanski  comes  across  as  a  more  complex  human  being  than  you  might  expect.  To  his  credit,  he  never   makes  excuses.     Just  as  painful  as  his  childhood  was  the  1968  loss  of  his  wife,  Sharon  Tate,  murdered  at  their  L.A.  home   along  with  several  other  people  in  what  seemed  like  a  freak  crime.     Making  the  trauma  worse  were  suggestions  in  the  media  that  Polanski  (then  in  London  directing  a  film)   was  somehow  responsible  for  the  murders.  Only  later  was  it  revealed  they  had  been  committed  by  the   Manson  group  by  mistake.  They  were  seeking  revenge  on  a  former  tenant  of  the  house  Polanski  and  Tate   had  rented.     Polanski  picked  himself  up  and  went  on  —  reaching  a  career  high  when  he  directed  Jack  Nicholson   in  Chinatown  (1974).  Creepily,  it  was  at  Nicholson’s  house  in  1977  during  a  photo-­‐shoot  that  he  had  illegal   sex  with  a  13-­‐year-­‐old  model  named  Samantha  Geiger.   If  you’re  looking  for  a  film  that  goes  into  all  the  grisly  details  of  that  case,  you  won’t  find  it  here.  Polanski   says  what  he  did  was  wrong.  But  he  also  says  Samantha  was  a  double  victim  —  not  only  of  the  crime  he   committed  but  of  the  media.     Indeed,  in  a  famous  TV  appearance,  she  told  Larry  King  that  she  has  forgiven  Polanski,  and  that  the  media   did  far  more  damage  to  her  than  Polanski  did.  Even  if  there’s  no  excuse  for  his  behaviour,  Polanski  was   also  a  double  victim  —  of  the  media  and  of  a  corrupt  judge  who  shockingly  changed  his  mind  after  all   sides  had  agreed  to  a  deal.     That’s  why  Polanski  seized  his  chance  to  leave  the  U.S.  permanently.     So  if  there’s  a  big  party  to  celebrate  his  80th  birthday  in  August,  it  won’t  take  place  in  L.A.  But  in  2011,   Polanski  did  go  back  to  the  Zurich  Film  Festival,  where  he  finally  picked  up  his  lifetime  achievement   award.     “Better  late  than  never,”  he  said.  


Jewish Stars  of  Bollywood   By Michael Kaminer   http://blogs.forward.com/the-­‐arty-­‐semite/174754/jewish-­‐stars-­‐of-­‐bollywood/     A talk at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival on April 14 will recall Jewish movie greats — like Sulochana, Pramila, and Nadira.

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Jewish Bollywood star Pramila

They were  towering  stars  of  Bollywood,  the  century-­‐old  Mumbai-­‐centered  film  industry  that  still   cranks  out  800  films  a  year,  more  than  double  the  output  of  the  U.S.  And  Danny  Ben-­‐Moshe,  a   research  fellow  at  Deakin  University  in  Australia,  has  spent  six  years  piecing  together  their   fascinating  and  largely  forgotten  stories  for“Shalom  Bollywood,”  a  documentary  set  for  release  


later this  year.  The  film  “tells  of  the  2,000-­‐year-­‐old  Indian  Jewish  community  and  its  formative   place  in  the  Indian  film  industry,”  according  to  its  web  site.     Peppering  his  presentation  with  rare  film  clips,  Ben-­‐Moshe  will  “tell  the  tale  of  how  I  stumbled   on  the  story,  how  it  unfolded,  and  the  trials  and  tribulations  of  trying  to  make  [the  film].”  He   corresponded  by  email  with  The  Arty  Semite  before  boarding  a  plane  for  Toronto.     Michael  Kaminer:  How  did  you  get  into  this  subject,  and  what  compelled  you  to  make  a  movie   about  it?   Danny  Ben-­‐Moshe:  An  Indian  student  of  mine  gave  me  an  obituary  of  Nadira,  the  last  of  the   great  Jewish  Bollywood  actors  to  pass  away.  I  knew  there  were  Indian  Jews  but  had  no  idea   there  was  such  a  prominent  Jewish  on  screen  star.  I  went  to  India  to  do  some  research  to  see  if   there  was  enough  material  to  make  a  film  about  Nadira  but  I  found  out  she  was  the  tip  of  the   iceberg.   The  compelling  factor  was  that  it  was  such  an  intriguing  different  and  eye-­‐opening  story.  Given   the  subject  matter,  it  offered  the  opportunity  to  make  a  vibrant,  fun,  slightly  quirky  film.  How   often  do  filmmakers  get  the  opportunity  to  make  all-­‐singing,  all-­‐dancing  documentaries?     How  did  Jews  get  involved  in  Bollywood  films  in  the  first  place?   To  some  extent  Jews  got  involved  in  Bollywood,  or  Indian  cinema  as  it  was  then  known,  through   a  quirk  of  cultural  circumstance.  When  Indian  cinema  began,  it  was  taboo  for  Hindu  and  Islamic   women  to  appear  onscreen,  so  initially  female  roles  were  played  by  men,  in  the  style  of   Shakespeare  or  Monty  Python!  However,  the  Jewish  community  was  more  liberal  and   progressive  and  they  were  prepared  to  take  these  role.  The  fact  that  they  had  lighter  skin  made   them  all  the  more  suited  for  celluloid.     These  communities  had  very  different  values.  Jewish  women  worked  on  other  professions  that   at  the  time  Hindu  and  Islamic  women  shunned,  like  being  telephone  operators.  The  Jews  did  not   regard  it  as  dirty  and  neither  did  the  viewing  public,  who  adored  these  stars.     Was  there  any  Jewish  involvement  in  the  creation  of  Bollywood  itself,  like  in  Hollywood?   It  doesn’t  quite  compare  because  Hollywood  was  a  studio  system.  Indian  cinema  was  going  for   several  years  before  the  first  studio  opened.  However,  the  first  female  superstar  was  the  Jewish   actress  Sulochana  (aka  Ruby  Myers),  and  she  and  other  Jewish  stars  had  a  formative  impact  on   the  development  of  Indian  cinema.     While  in  the  early  days  of  Hollywood  the  Jewish  influence  was  behind  the  camera,  in  India  it  was   front-­‐and-­‐center  onscreen,  but  there  were  some  important  exemptions  to  this.  Foremost  of   these  is  the  scriptwriter  David  Joseph  Penkar,  who  wrote  the  first  talkie  in  India  cinema,  “Alam   Ara”  in  1931  that  established  the  template  Indian  film  was  to  follow.     Could  you  tell  us  about  just  a  few  of  the  biggest  Jewish  Bollywood  stars?   Along  with  Sulochana,  there’s  Pramila  (aka  Esther  Abrahams),  the  first  Miss  India,  and  Nadira,   one  of  the  all  time  great  vamps  of  India  cinema,  who  regularly  featured  in  the  films  of  legendary   director  Raj  Kapoor.     Was  there  a  Jewish  influence  on  other  elements  of  Bollywood  cinema,  like  music,   choreography,  costumes  or  screenwriting?  


Jews worked  in  all  these  fields,  and  some  still  do,  but  their  major  impact  was  on  screen.  They   were  the  biggest  of  the  big  stars  and  pushed  the  boundaries  of  Indian  cinema.  I  should,   however,  mention  the  late  Bunny  Reuben,  the  right  hand  man  to  Raj  Kapoor  and  maybe   Bollywood’s  greatest-­‐ever  publicist.     This  month  marks  the  centennial  of  Bollywood  filmmaking.  Is  there  any  awareness  in  India  –   or  anywhere  –  about  the  roles  Jews  played?   I  have  spoken  to  many  prominent  industry  figures  in  India  past  and  present  and  few  knew  these   people  were  Jewish.  That  is  part  of  the  story  my  film  tells,  which  is  because  of  the  stage  names   of  the  Jewish  stars  people  assumed  they  were  Muslims.  The  Indian  Jewish  community  was  and  is   so  tiny  people  don’t  even  know  what  a  Jew  is.  They  were  often  confused  with  a  prominent   minority,  the  Parsis.     Are  you  aiming  to  get  some  recognition  for  the  lost  Jewish  stars  of  Bollywood  around  the   centennial?   I  started  making  this  film  in  2007  so  I  wasn’t  even  thinking  of  the  centenary  then.  This   anniversary  does  of  course  give  the  story  greater  resonance.     Is  there  any  Jewish  presence  in  Bollywood  today?   Yes,  but  in  a  more  modest  way,  such  as  choreographer  Baba  Herman,  who  is  in  my  film.  

  Radar:  Craft  Your  Senses,  Toronto  Jewish  Film   Festival,  Serena  Ryder,  Sagapool,  Say  Sneeze  

Posted by Lauren Pincente / APRIL 11, 2013

http://www.blogto.com/radar/2013/04/radar_craft_your_senses_toronto_jewish_film_festival _serena_ryder_sagapool_say_sneeze/   FILM  |  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival   Themes  and  identities  of  Jewish  culture  are  explored  in  the  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival,  which   opens  tonight  with  the  festival  opener,  a  documentary  titled  CowJews  and  Indians:  How  Hitler   Scared  My  Relatives  and  I  Woke  Up  in  an  Iroquois  Longhouse-­‐-­‐Owing  the  Mohawks  Rent.   Hundreds  of  films  of  all  film  genres  will  play  over  the  ten-­‐day  festival  at  locations  across  the  city.   For  a  full  screening  guide  and  a  list  of  free  films  showing  at  the  festival,  visit  TJFF.com.     Various  locations  8:30PM  $8-­‐$20  


Out on  a  limb?  

Israeli film  raises  questions  about  pinkwashing  ahead  of  Jewish   Film  Festival  screening   BY  XTRA  STAFF   Published  Fri,  Apr  12,  2013  12:00  am  EDT   http://www.dailyxtra.com/toronto/news/limb    

Out in  the  Dark,  directed  by  Michael   Mayer,  tells  the  story  of  two  men  caught   in  an  impossible  love  story.   Nimr  is  a  Palestinian  student.  Roy  is  an   Israeli  lawyer.  They  hook  up.  Seems  like  a   pretty  straightforward  boy-­‐meets-­‐boy   story.     But  when  you  are  crossing  the  Palestinian-­‐ Israeli  divide,  nothing  is  that  easy.   Filmmaker  Elle  Flanders  sat  down  with   Mayer  and  Nicholas  Jacob,  who  plays   Nimr,  when  they  were  in  Toronto  in   September  for  the  Toronto  International  Film  Festival.   In  the  video  interview  below,  Flanders  and  Mayer  talk  about  Out  in  the  Dark,  pinkwashing  and  the  role  of   film.     Out  in  the  Dark  screens  at  the  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival  on  April  18.      


FAB

Out at  the  Jewish  Film  Fest   Discovering  queer  themes  at  TJFF   04.16.2013  |  By  Michael  Lyons   http://www.fabmagazine.com/fab-blog/out-at-the-jewish-film-fest

For dramatic  purposes,  there  probably  couldn’t  be  a  better  setting  than  the  Israeli-­‐Palestinian  conflict.       The  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival  presents  Out  in  the  Dark,  which  tells  the  story  of  Nimr  (Nicholas  Jacob),  a   young  Palestinian  psychology  student  living  with  his  family  in  Ramallah.  Though  closeted  at  home,  he  lives   openly  when  he  is  able  to  sneak  across  the  border  into  Tel  Aviv.  While  partying  with  his  flamboyant  friend,   an  illegal  Palestinian  refugee,  he  meets  the  hunky  Roy  (Michael  Aloni),  an  affluent  and  attractive  Israeli   lawyer.  Nimr  witnesses  his  friend’s  violent  murder  at  the  hands  of  his  brother  and  compatriots,  and  Nimr   and  Roy’s  relationship  becomes  entangled  in  the  corrupt  politics  of  the  border  and  their  own  bigoted   families.       If  the  events  in  Out  in  the  Dark  seem  melodramatic,  audiences  need  only  turn  to  another  TJFF  film  to  see   that  this  story  is  routed  in  an  intense  reality.  The  Invisible  Men  is  a  documentary  that  follows  Louie,  a  gay   Palestinian,  as  he  tries  to  survive  illegally  in  Israel.  Louie  is  hesitant  to  seek  asylum  and  find  a  home   elsewhere,  explaining,  “Honestly,  I  don’t  want  to  go  abroad.  I  want  to  live  in  a  country  that’s  close...  I   want  to  breathe  my  culture,  my  land.”       Their  sexuality  complicates  these  men’s  lives,  given  the  volatile  political  climate,  ethnic  prejudices,  corrupt   authorities  and  ignorant  families.  The  choices  for  the  men  in  both  movies  are  to  leave  their  homes  and   escape  abroad  or  stay  and  face  a  violent,  unknowable  future.     The  Invisible  Men  screens  Sun,  April  14,  and  Out  in  the  Dark  screens  Thurs,  April  18  and  Fri,  April  19  at  Innis   College,  2  Sussex  Ave.  tjff.com  


MUSIC &  THE  MOVIES:  The  Toronto  Jewish   Film  Festival  2013   The WholeNote Blogs - MUSIC & THE MOVIES

Written by  Paul  Ennis  |  Friday,  12  April  2013  10:40   http://www.thewholenote.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=23421:music -­‐a-­‐the-­‐movies-­‐the-­‐toronto-­‐jewish-­‐film-­‐festival-­‐2013&catid=512:music-­‐a-­‐the-­‐ movies&Itemid=319      

After “The  Three  Lennys”  in  2011,  its  19-­‐event  exhaustive  examination  of  Lenny  Bruce,  Leonard  Bernstein   and  Leonard  Cohen,  the  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival  knew  what  it  would  do  for  an  encore:  TJFF’s  sidebar   series  in  2012  was  “The  Sound  of  Movies:  Masters  of  the  Film  Score.”  With  special  guests,  composers   David  Shire  and  Mychael  Danna,  leading  the  way,  Toronto  audiences  were  treated  to  a  celebration  of  the   Jewish  gene’s  musical  genius.   For  this  year’s  edition  of  the  TJFF  (tjff.com),  which  began  on  April  12,  there’s  no  such  overt  attention   being  paid  to  the  role  of  music  in  Jewish  life,  but  there  are  a  number  of  films  that  create  an  identity   through  music.     Pierre-­‐Henry  Salfati’s  Gainsbourg  by   Gainsbourg:  An  Intimate  Self-­‐Portrait  tells   the  riveting  story  of  the  iconic  French   musician  in  his  own  words,  no  mean  feat   since  he  died  in  1991.  Yet  the  conceit   works  brilliantly  as  a  way  into  the  mind  of   this  man  who  would  hear  people  say  “God   he’s  ugly,”  when  he  was  onstage.  He  calls   his  face  “ravaged”  and  says  “I  was   misogyny  incarnate,”  but  he  romped  with   Anna  Karina,  had  a  child  (Charlotte   Gainsbourg)  with  Jane  Birkin  and  wrote   two  of  his  most  famous  songs  –  “Je  t’aime   .  .  .  moi  non  plus”  and  “Bonnie  and  Clyde”   –  for  Brigitte  Bardot.     Born  Lucien  Ginzburg,  he  became  Serge  out  of  nostalgia  for  Russia  (“I  am  Slav  in  my  soul”),  a  country  his   parents  left  after  the  revolution.  Gershwin’s  Rhapsody  in  Blue  was  “his  first  revelation,”  but  he  couldn’t   play  it  the  way  his  father  could.  And  his  father  was  a  harsh  critic.  Still,  once  his  father  died,  he  felt  close  to   him  through  classical  music.   Art  Tatum,  Rachmaninoff,  Berg  and  Chopin  moved  him  and  he  turned  part  of  Brahms’  Symphony  No.   3  into  a  pop  song.     The  film  begins  with  a  live  concert  near  the  end  of  his  life  (he  died  a  month  short  of  his  63rd  birthday  in  


March 1991),  a  veritable  love-­‐in  thanks  to  his  fans.  Many  of  his  revelations  are  accompanied  by  his  own   collection  of  videos,  with  movie  pals  Jean  Gabin  and  Michel  Simon  or  his  daughter  playing  the  piano  under   his  tutelage.  He  drops  personal  and  professional  nuggets  along  the  way.  He  was  haunted  by  the   Occupation  when  he  was  forced  to  wear  a  star  and  carry  an  axe  into  the  woods  for  protection.  He  was  an   architecture  student  playing  piano  in  a  bar  when  he  met  Boris  Vian  (a  major  influence).  Jacques  Brel  told   him  he’d  only  get  ahead  once  he  realized  he  was  a  crooner.  Needless  to  say,  that’s  what  happened.     Neil  Diamond  was  only  three  years   younger  than  Gainsbourg;  his  more  prosaic   route  to  success  is  examined  in  Samantha   Peters’  Neil  Diamond:  Solitary  Man.  Gifted   with  knack  of  writing  pop  songs  with   musical  and  emotional  hooks,  Diamond   took  years  to  discover  who  he  was.   Ironically,  that  allowed  him,  following  a   number  of  sold-­‐out  shows  at  L.A.’s  Greek   Theatre,  to  become  “the  Jewish  Elvis.”   As  David  Wild  of  Rolling  Stone  says:  “He   was  selling  sensitivity,  raw  sensitivity  that’s   not  allowed  anymore.”  This  taut  BBC   documentary  serves  up  all  you’d  ever  want  to  know  about  the  creation  of    “Sweet  Caroline,”  “Cracklin’   Rosie”  and  “I  Am,  I  Said”  from  the  creator  himself.  As  well  as  fine  archival  footage  of  Diamond  at  The   Bitter  End  in  the  1960s,  plus  talking  heads  from  record  execs  to  Neil  Sedaka  and  Robbie  Robertson.         Diamond  began  working  with  legendary  record  producer  Rick  Rubin  a  few  years  ago,  after  Rubin  revived   Johnny  Cash’s  career  with  American  Recordings  when  the  man  in  black  covered  “Solitary  Man.”    An   intriguing  addition  to  the  Cash  iconography  is  Jonathan  Holiff’s  My  Father  and  the  Man  in  Black,  in  which   a  son’s  desire  to  discover  a  father  he  never   knew  leads  him  down  the  path  of  showbiz   arcana:  Holiff’s  father  Saul  managed   Johnny  Cash,  when  the  singer  wasn’t  the   most  reliable  act  in  show  business.  And   Holiff  fils  has  the  phone  recordings,  the   audiotape  journals,  the  letters  and  the   memento-­‐filled  boxes  to  prove  it.  What   the  film  may  lack  in  style,  it  makes  up  for   in  substance.       A  low-­‐key  hymn  to  finding  love  amidst  the   loneliness  of  urban  life,  Marco  Del   Fiol’s  Second  Movement  for  Piano  and   Needlework  is  a  curious  piece  of  cross-­‐ cultural  pollination  set  in  Sao  Paolo’s   Jewish  quarter.  After  leaving  the  park  where  she’s  been  sketching  dress  designs,  a  woman  is  drawn  to  a   modal  tune  on  a  piano  being  played  by  a  Korean  man.  We  watch  these  strangers  continue  their  workaday   lives  until  by  chance  they  meet  again.  The  pianist  is  sweet  and  so,  in  its  simplicity,  is  this  minimal  movie.  


In 1980,  Neil  Diamond  starred  in  an   updated  version  of  The  Jazz  Singer  (the   songs  he  wrote  for  it  made  the  soundtrack   album  a  hit).  In  1959,  Jerry  Lewis  starred   in  The  Jazz  Singer  for  the  TV   show,  Startime.  TJFF  is  showing  a  restored   version  of  this  well-­‐regarded  vintage   nugget  on  a  program  with  Mehrnaz   Saeedvafa’s  short  film,  Jerry  and  Me.   Before  you  scoff,  the  stars  of  two   subsequent  films  directed  by  The  Jazz   Singer’s  director,  Ralph  Nelson,  went  on  to   win  Best  Actor  Academy  Awards  –  Sidney  Poitier  in  Lilies  of  the  Fields  Cliff  Robertson  in  Charly.  Ms.   Saeedvafa,  meanwhile,  confesses  in  her   film  clip-­‐packed  38  minutes  that  “the   hero  of  her  childhood  [in  pre-­‐ revolution  Iran]  was  the  one  and  only   Jerry  Lewis.”  She  personalizes   colonialism,  the  CIA,  Bresson  and   poetic  cinema,  the  Iran-­‐Iraq  war,   feminism  and  fear  of  the  atomic  bomb.   And  as  a  bonus,  we  see  Jerry  Lewis   dubbed  into  Farsi.  If  you  think  that’s   farcical,  you’re  right.       What  Joe  Papp  and  “Shakespeare  in  the   Park”  did  for  Don  Byron:  “When  you  got  people  of  colour  doing  Shakespeare,  then  Shakespeare  was  mine.   And  then  Sondheim  was  mine,  Mahler  was  mine  and  Bartok  was  mine.”  What  Don  Byron  did  for  Tracie   Holder’s  and  Karen  Thorsen’s  straightforward  documentary,  Joe  Papp  in  Five  Acts:  he  composed  the   tuneful,  lively  score  for  it.     Three  films  unavailable  for  previewing   promise  some  intriguing  musical  insights.   Broadway  Musicals:  A  Jewish  Legacy,   directed  by  Michael  Kantor  focuses  on   the  central  question:  Why  has  the   Broadway  musical  proven  to  be  such   fertile  territory  for  Jewish  artists  of  all   kinds?  Peter  Bradshaw  wrote  in  The   Guardian  that  Laurent   Bouzereau’s  Roman  Polanski:  A  Film   Memoir    “is  strongest  in  elucidating  the   effects  his  life  has  had  on  his  movies.   Before  this,  I  didn't  realise  how  closely   the  2002  film  The  Pianist  was  based  on   precise  childhood  memories  of  the  Krakow  ghetto.  It  is  the  film  he  says  he  is  proudest  of  now.”  Danny   Ben-­‐Moshe’s  Shalom  Bollywood:  The  Untold  Story  of  Indian  Cinema  tells  of  the  2000  year  old  Indian   Jewish  community  and  its  formative  place  in  the  Indian  film  industry.  Who  knew?  Nu?  


ÉMISSION DU  11  AVRIL  2013  

http://www1.tfo.org/cine/video/emission-­‐du-­‐11-­‐avril-­‐2013   On  critique  Trance  et  The  Place  Beyond  the  Pines  et  on  discute  du  Toronto  Jewish   Film  Festival.   DURÉE:  27  min  50  sec     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vd0_sO4-­‐aMA    

Rencontre  avec  Jérémie  Abessira,  programmateur  du  21ème  Toronto  Jewish  Film   Festival,  à  propos  de  la  sélection  de  ce  festival  qui  a  lieu  du  11  au  21  avril.  


Beaucoup de  films  francophones  à   l’honneur  au  Festival  du  film  juif  de   Toronto     Post  by  Le  Métropolitain  31  March  2013   http://www.lemetropolitain.com/en/content/beaucoup-de-films-francophones-a-l%E2%80%99honneur-aufestival-du-film-juif-de-toronto

Le  21e  Festival  du  film  juif  de  Toronto  va  prendre  ses  quartiers  du  11  au  21  avril   prochains  au  Hot  Docs  Bloor  Cinema,  au  Al  Green  Theatre  ainsi  que  dans  différentes   autres  salles  de  la  ville.  Près  de  100  films  d’une  quinzaine  de  pays  sont  à  l’affiche  cette   année.  Un  chiffre  important  mais  tout  relatif  quand  on  sait  que  plus  de  400  films  ont  été   envoyés  au  comité  de  programmation.    


L’édition 2013  de  ce  festival  mis  sur  pied  pour  explorer  les  différentes  facettes  de   l’histoire  et  du  monde  juifs  fait  la  part  belle  aux  films  francophones.  Ainsi,  ce  ne  sont  pas   moins  de  dix  films  en  français  qui  y  seront  projetés.  À  signaler  entre  autres  :  Du  vent   dans  mes  mollets,  une  comédie  de  Carine  Tardieu  avec  Agnès  Jaoui,  Isabelle  Carré  et   Isabella  Rossellini;  Au  cas  où  je  n’aurais  pas  la  Palme  d’or  de  et  avec  Renaud  Cohen,   l’histoire  d’un  réalisateur  névrosé  qui  se  découvre  une  tumeur  qu’il  croit  être   cancéreuse  et  qui  décide  de  faire  un  film  sur  sa  fin  proche;  et  l’acclamé  Le  chat  du  Rabin,   merveilleux  dessin  animé  de  Joann  Sfar  et  Antoine  Delesvaux.     Mais  le  rendez-­‐vous  à  ne  pas  manquer  pour  les  cinéphiles  francophones  est   définitivement  Je  suis  venu  vous  dire...  (Gainsbourg  par  Ginzburg),  un  documentaire  de   Pierre-­‐Henry  Salfati  qui  présente  le  célèbre  chanteur  avec  ses  mots  à  lui  et  des  images   d’archives  jamais  montrées  jusqu’ici.  Tous  les  thèmes  chers  à  ce  génie  torturé  se   retrouvent  dans  les  longs  extraits  d’interview  :  son  malaise  par  rapport  à  sa  «  tête  de   chou  »,  l’attachement  à  ses  origines  russes,  son  rapport  compliqué  aux  femmes,  l’alcool   et  les  abus,  sans  oublier  ce  sentiment  profond  de  culpabilité  de  faire  un  art  mineur  (la   chanson)  au  détriment  d’un  art  majeur  (la  peinture,  un  de  ses  grands  dadas).     On  apprend  par  exemple  que  pendant  15  ans,  Gainsbourg  essayait  de  peindre  comme   Raphaël  mais  détruisait  quotidiennement  ses  toiles.  Racontée  à  la  première  personne,   cette  autobiographie  est  à  l’image  de  l’homme  :  brillante  mais  confuse,  certaines  des   déclarations  du  grand  Serge  sonnant  comme  des  mensonges  de  petit  enfant  espiègle.   Comme  lorsqu’il  explique  que,  gamin  pendant  la  Deuxième  Guerre  mondiale,  le   directeur  de  son  école  lui  avait  dit  que  les  miliciens  allaient  venir  pour  une  rafle,  lui  avait   donné  une  hache  et  l’avait  envoyé  dans  les  bois,  en  lui  conseillant  de  s’y  cacher  et  de   dire  qu’il  était  fils  de  bûcheron  si  jamais  il  tombait  sur  la  milice  ou  les  SS.  Que  l’anecdote   soit  vraie  ou  pas  n’a  pas  beaucoup  d’importance  :  «  Je  suis  venu  vous  dire...  »  colle  à   l’image  de  ce  chanteur,  crooner  caché  derrière  un  mur  d’arrogance  (de  timidité?)  :   attachant  malgré  tous  ses  défauts.     Le  Festival  ouvrira  le  11  avril  prochain  au  Hot  Docs  Bloor  Cinema  avec  le  film  Cowjews   and  Indians  »,  documentaire  qui  raconte  comment  le  réalisateur  Marc  Halberstadt  a   essayé  de  récupérer  le  domaine  de  ses  parents  pris  par  les  nazis  ainsi  que  les  65  ans  de   loyer.  Dans  sa  tentative,  il  découvre  que  le  domaine  en  question  a  été  pris  à  des  natifs  et   tente  alors  de  tout  faire  pour  que  ce  soit  à  eux  que  reviennent  le  terrain  et  le  loyer.     Photo  :  Du  vent  dans  mes  mollets  (2012)     Auteur:     Benoit  Gheeraert          


FESTIVAL DU  FILM  JUIF  DE  TORONTO:  DÉCALÉ   ET  AVANT-­‐GARDISTE   CINÉMA   Par  Hélène  Durand,  Camille  André-­‐Poyaud  et  Guillaume  Garcia  –  Semaine  du  9  avril  au  15  avril  2013   http://www.lexpress.to/archives/11619/    

  Le  Festival  du  film  juif  de  Toronto  a  toujours  voulu  se  démarquer  en  présentant  une  programmation   originale  et  à  contre-­‐courant  des  préjugés.  L’affiche  du  festival  et  le  «teaser»  ont  d’ailleurs  fait  parler   d’eux  lors  de  leur  présentation  il  a  quelques  semaines.  Parmi  tous  les  films  présentés,  on  compte  de   nombreux  longs-­‐métrages  en  français  ou  réalisés  par  des  francophones.  L’Express  a  rencontré  Jérémie   Abessira,  programmateur  au  festival.     «Il  y  a  toujours  une  volonté  d’aller  à  contre-­‐courant,  de  se  différencier  des  autres  et  d’être  osé  dans  les   choix  de  films»,  explique  Jérémie  Abessira.     «Par  ce  biais,  on  veut  montrer  que  le  festival  n’est  pas  réservé  à  une  certaine  audience.»     Par  exemple  le  film  d’ouverture  de  cette  année  CowJews  and  Indians:  How  Hitler  Scared  My  Relatives  and   I  Woke  Up  in  an  Iroquois  Longhouse—Owing  the  Mohawks  Rent,  n’a  été  montré  dans  aucun  autre  festival   de  film  juif.     «Il  n’y  a  pas  de  grille  de  lecture.  Chaque  film  entraîne  un  débat  pour  savoir  si  le  film  est  approprié  pour  le   festival»,  résume  Jérémie.     «On  ne  veut  pas  faire  un  festival  qui  se  complait  sans  une  certaine  image  d’Israël.  L’idée  c’est  de  montrer   un  éventail  d’opinions  sur  tout»,  poursuit-­‐il.  


La principale  différence  entre  le  festival  de  Toronto,  qui  est  le  plus  grand  du  monde,  et  les  autres  vient  du   fait  qu’il  n’est  pas  chapeauté  par  une  organisation  juive.  C’est  ce  qui  permet  de  faire  un  festival  plus   audacieux.     «C’est  un  festival  pour  tous,  qui  n’a  pas  peur  d’interpeller.  On  ne  se  prend  pas  au  sérieux.  On  rigole  des   clichés  sur  les  juifs  en  jouant  sur  les  clichés»,  indique  Jérémie  à  propos  de  l’affiche  du  festival  qui  dit   «Film.  It’s  what  jews  do  best».     Mais  pourquoi  autant  de  films  en  français  dans  un  festival  de  film  juif  à  Toronto?  Selon  Jérémie,   l’explication  est  que  la  France  est  un  des  pays  qui  produit  le  plus  de  films  à  contenu  «juif».  «Ça  permet   aussi  aux  Canadiens  de  découvrir  l’histoire  d’un  pays  et  sa  culture  à  travers  les  films.»     Le  Top  3  de  Jérémie  pour  le  festival:  Le  cochon  de  Gaza,  God’s  neighbors  et  Gainsbourg  by  Ginzburg.  Et  en   joker  Out  in  the  dark.     Je  suis  venu  vous  dire…  Gainsbourg  by  Ginzburg   Dans  ce  documentaire,  on  découvre  Gainsbourg  qui  raconte  sa  vie,  son  enfance,  sa  réussite,  ses  peurs  et   ses  amours.  Personnage  magnifié  en  France,  ce  documentaire  est  absolument  à  voir  pour  comprendre  le   personnage.     Le  Cochon  de  Gaza   À  Gaza,  un  pêcheur  remonte  un  cochon  dans  ses  filets.  Musulman,  est  écoeuré  par  l’animal  et  ne  sait  pas   quoi  en  faire  et  veut  s’en  débarrasser.     En  cachette,  il  garde  finalement  la  bête  qui  lui  permet  de  gagner  de  l’argent  grâce  à  différents   stratagèmes!  Un  bijou  de  réalisme  et  d’humanisme.     Au  cas  où  je  n’aurais  pas  la  palme  d’or   Simon,  réalisateur,  peine  à  tourner  le  moindre  film.  Suite  à  un  pari  avec  un  copain,  il  se  rase  la  tête  et   découvre  sur  son  crâne  une  bosse.     Après  avoir  consulté  des  médecins  qui  ne  le  rassurent  pas,  il  décide  de  tourner  ce  qui  pourrait  être  son   dernier  film.     Le  chat  du  rabbin   En  1920,  à  Alger,  le  rabbin  Sfar  vit  avec  sa  fille  Zlabya  et  un  chat  espiègle  qui  se  met  à  parler  pour  ne  dire   que  des  mensonges.  Le  rabbin  veut  éloigner  le  chat  de  sa  fille,  mais  amoureux  celui-­‐ci  est  prêt  à  tout  pour   rester  près  d’elle,  même  à  faire  sa  Bar  Mitsva!  Un  peintre  russe  débarque  ensuite  dans  la  communauté,  et   entraîne  avec  lui  une  petite  troupe  pour  partir  à  la  recherche  de  Juifs  d’Afrique.  Drôle  et  cynique,  ce   dessin  animé  met  continuellement  les  religions  face  à  leur  contradiction  de  manière  subtile.       Alyah   Alex  vend  de  la  drogue  à  Paris  pour  gagner  sa  vie.  Il  prête  régulièrement  de  l’argent  à  son  frère  Isaac,  qui   accumule  les  dettes  et  devient  un  fardeau.  Lorsque  son  cousin  lui  annonce  son  projet  d’ouvrir  un   restaurant  à  Tel-­‐Aviv,  Alex  décide  de  le  suivre  pour  prendre  un  nouveau  départ.  Mais  pour  cela,  il  doit   trouver  beaucoup  d’argent  et  passer  son  Alyah.     Album(s)  d’Auschwitz   Ce  documentaire  retrace  l’incroyable  témoignage  du  camp  d’Auschwitz-­‐Birkenau  laissé  par  deux  albums   photographiques  datant  de  mai  1944.  Le  premier  a  été  découvert  par  une  jeune  fille  juive  à  la  libération   du  camp.  Les  photos  montrent  l’arrivée  de  Juifs  hongrois  à  Auschwitz  avant  leur  extermination,  ainsi  que   d’autres  détenus.  Le  deuxième  album  appartenait  à  un  SS  et  montre  des  moments  de  loisirs  des  officiers.    


RENAUD COHEN,  AVEC  OU  SANS  PALME  D’OR   CINÉMA   Par  Camille  André-­‐Poyaud  –  Semaine  du  23  avril  au  29  avril  2013   http://www.lexpress.to/archives/11761/  

Renaud  Cohen  réalise  une  autofiction  sur  la  difficulté  d’écrire  un  second  film.   Le  réalisateur  Renaud  Cohen  est  venu  jeudi  dernier  présenter  son  film  au  festival  du  film  juif   de  Toronto.  Intitulé  Au  cas  où  je  n’aurais  pas  la  Palme  d’or,  le  film  est  une  autofiction  et   s’inspire  en  grande  partie  de  la  vie  du  réalisateur.     Il  y  a  10  ans  il  réalisait  son  premier  film  de  fiction,  Quand  on  sera  grand.  Au  cinéma,  il  paraît  que   le  2e  film  est  toujours  le  plus  compliqué  à  écrire.       La  spontanéité  et  la  découverte  s’effacent  pour  laisser  place  aux  attentes  et  aux  responsabilités.   «C’est  très  fragile,  tout  peut  s’écrouler»,  nous  explique  Renaud  Cohen.  Au  cas  où  je  n’aurais  pas   la  Palme  d’or  va  donc  s’inspirer  de  cette  difficulté  d’écrire  ce  second  scénario.     Autofiction     Renaud  Cohen  joue  lui  même  Simon,  le  personnage  principal  du  film,  un  réalisateur  qui  ne   parvient  pas  à  écrire  son  scénario.       Suite  à  un  pari  avec  un  de  ces  amis,  il  se  rase  la  tête  et  découvre  une  bosse  au  sommet  de  son  


crâne. Inquiet  il  consulte  des  médecins  qui  ne  le  rassurent  pas.       Dans  l’angoisse  de  savoir  ce  qui  l’attend,  il  décide  de  tourner  rapidement  un  film  au  cas  où  celui-­‐ ci  soit  le  dernier.     Une  autofiction  qui  si  elle  s’inspire  de  la  vie  de  Renaud  part  ensuite  dans  des  gags  et  des   situations  cocasses  qui  apportent  beaucoup  d’humour  au  film.       «Pour  donner  un  chiffre  je  dirais  qu’il  y  a  75%  de  part  d’autobiographie,  après  je  me  suis  donné   la  liberté  d’aller  un  peu  où  je  voulais»  nous  explique  le  réalisateur.     Pendant  les  10  ans  qui  ont  séparé  ces  deux  films,  Renaud  Cohen  a  réalisé  des  documentaires.   Après  un  premier  film  apprécié  par  la  critique,  la  marche  vers  le  second  long  métrage  n’a  pas  été   facile.       Il  avait  envie  de  retrouver  la  fiction,  mais  le  processus  a  été  plus  compliqué  que  pour  le  premier.   Renaud  Cohen  nous  confie:  «Après  le  premier  film  de  fiction,  je  découvrais  tout.  Entre  mon   premier  et  mon  second  film,  je  n’ai  rien  géré  du  tout,  j’ai  recommencé  à  écrire  et  puis  au  fur  et  à   mesure  j’ai  commencé  à  sentir  le  temps  passer,  et  les  choses  sont  apparues  de  plus  en  plus   difficiles.»     Un  film  dans  le  film   En  réalisant  un  film  dans  le  film,  Renaud  Cohen  réussit  une  mise  en  abîme  qu’il  tient  de  ces   mentors,  Nanni  Morretti  et  Woody  Allen.     «J’ai  toujours  aimé  les  réalisateurs  qui  jouaient  dans  leurs  films,  je  trouve  que  ça  réorganise  le   film  de  manière  différente.  Le  personnage  joué  par  le  réalisateur  est  toujours  un  point  d’autant   plus  fort  qui  est  vrai  et  sincère»  se  confie  Renaud  Cohen.     En  famille   Avec  peu  de  financement,  Renaud  Cohen  qui  a  également  produit  le  film  a  utilisé  les  moyens  du   bord  pour  la  réalisation.  Il  a  ainsi  demandé  à  ses  parents  et  ses  enfants  de  jouer  leurs  propres   rôles.       «Comme  c‘était  un  film  pauvre  sans  argent,  je  ne  voulais  pas  que  ce  soit  seulement  un  film   pauvre,  je  voulais  qu’il  amène  quelque  chose  de  différent.  La  différence  c’était  de  faire  jouer  des   amateurs  et  des  professionnels  ensemble»  nous  explique-­‐t-­‐il.     Il  a  également  utilisé  sa  propre  maison  comme  lieu  de  tournage.  «Il  y  a  plein  de  choses  que  j’ai   voulu  utiliser,  un  peu  comme  si  c’était  un  film  bio  en  fait.       Il  fallait  utiliser  tout  ce  qu’il  y  avait  de  proche  et  le  transformer  en  quelque  chose  de  différent.»     Renaud  Cohen  est  toujours  surpris  de  voir  son  film  sélectionné  dans  les  festivals  de  films  juifs.   L’identité  juive  apparaît  surtout  à  travers  l’humour  de  certaines  scènes.       «Une  identité  parmi  tant  d’autres»  selon  le  réalisateur.    


Toronto Jewish  Film  Festival   http://www.cjnews.com/arts/toronto-­‐jewish-­‐film-­‐festival   Marc Halberstadt’s “playfully provocative” film CowJews and Indians will be the headliner at this spring’s Toronto Jewish Film Festival, TJFF organizers announced last week. In a nutshell, CowJews and Indians offers a quirky Swiftian modest proposal as its main thesis. North American Jews are owed reparation money from Germany for the Holocaust, the filmmaker observes, and native Americans are owed reparations from the Europeans who deprived them of their lands. The thesis is that natives should “skip the middleman” and seek reparation payments directly from Germany. “I think Marc is an idiot for even coming up with the idea,” said former Mohawk chief Cheryl Jacobs about the film. The quote comes directly from the TJFF’s promotional material, which further describes the film as “Borat meets Michael Moore.” But the filmmakers and producers earnestly describe CowJews and Indians as “a serious, unflinching yet entertaining examination of both Jewish and native American displacement, and the contributing causes.” It was screened at a Beverley Hills film festival last November but positive comments about it on the Internet seem highly elusive. The festival opens April 11 and closes 10 days later with Hava Nagila, a cinematic “look at the history of the song that represents both kitsch and continuity.” tjff.com, 416-324-9121.


Film fest  highlights  emerging  filmmakers   Andy  Levy-­‐Ajzenkopf,  Staff  Reporter,  Friday,  March  22,  2013     http://www.cjnews.com/arts/film-­‐fest-­‐highlights-­‐emerging-­‐filmmakers#sthash.amBb44gp.dpuf    

When  the  21st  annual  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival  (TJFF)  opens  to  the  public  on  April  11,  it  will   bring  with  it  the  usual  fine  mix  of  movies  that  entertain,  challenge  and  educate.   The  CJN  will  be  reviewing  some  of  the  festival’s  100  or  so  films  in  upcoming  editions  and  on  our   website.     The  presentation  of  quality  films  aside,  TJFF  executives  are  also  on  a  twofold  mission:  courting   future  fest-­‐goers  and  preserving  the  past.     In  terms  of  the  former,  the  festival  has  made  a  concerted  effort  this  year  to  engage  a  younger   demographic,  and  is  sourcing  films  that  “aren’t  your  bubbie’s”  cup  of  tea,  said  TJFF  managing   director  Debbie  Werner.    


“Today’s films  are  not  the  same  as  we  were  showing  21  years  ago.  They’re  new,  by  emerging   filmmakers,”  she  said.  “They  tell  fresh  stories  through  fresh  eyes.  Some  of  the  themes  are   familiar,  but  they’re  being  reinterpreted  with  a  fresh  perspective.”     Werner  said  that  sometimes  the  festival  gets  “trapped”  by  its  name,  because  many  young  Jews   feel  they  need  to  look  toward  a  “more  secular”  venue  to  get  their  arts  and  culture.     “So  they  overlook  us  just  because  of  our  name.  [Youths]  think  we’re  going  to  be  a  religious   experience,”  she  said.  “Yes,  we  do  offer  stuff  for  those  looking  to  learn  from  a  religious   standpoint,  but  we  also  offer  tons  to  those  looking  to  learn  culturally  about  what  the  Jewish   experience  is  worldwide.  The  festival  is  the  story  of  the  Diaspora.”     As  such,  before  this  year’s  official  festival  opening,  the  organizers  held  a  pre-­‐screening  of  Polish   Bar,  an  edgy  indie  film  directed  by  Chicago  native  Ben  Berkowitz  that  looks  at  the  life  of  a  Jewish   DJ  in  his  20s  struggling  with  his  own  moral  code  and  connection  to  Judaism  as  he  works  the   turntables  in  a  strip  club.     TJFF  also  has  a  long-­‐running  program  aimed  at  Jewish  and  non-­‐Jewish  students   called  FilmMatters.  The  education  outreach  initiative  invites  schools  from  around  the  city  to   participate  in  screening  Jewish  films  for  cross-­‐cultural,  bridge-­‐building  purposes.     “The  beautiful  thing  about  this  program  is  that  it  brings  kids  from  all  walks  of  life  and  ethnicities   together,”  Werner  said,  “and  it  breaks  down  the  barriers  of  their  surface  differences  and  let’s   them  see  that  they  share  similar  interests.”     On  the  preservation  front,  Werner  said  she  hopes  that  an  archive  of  Jewish  stories  committed  to   celluloid  –  and  digitally  –  will  provide  the  Jewish  community  with  a  resource  for  future   generations.     The  TJFF  is  working  to  set  up  its  “dream  project,”  the  Toronto  Jewish  Media  Library,  an  online   archive  of  films  for  posterity.  It  would  be  the  first  of  its  kind.  What  it  lacks  is  the  funding  to  get  it   done.   “There  are  a  lot  of  charities  and  nonprofits  asking  people  for  support.  We’re  not  saving  lives  or   curing  diseases,  but  what  we  are  trying  to  remind  people  to  do  is  remember  the  importance  of   arts  and  culture,  and  of  protecting  this  heritage  of  the  Jewish  experience  through  the  years   around  the  world  that’s  been  amassed  on  film,”  she  said.     Werner  noted  that  funding  for  the  arts  over  the  last  few  years  has  been  “a  hard-­‐hit  area.”   Longstanding  funders  such  as  UJA  Federation  of  Greater  Toronto  and  other  private  donors  have   given  less  as  the  economy  has  forced  cutbacks  across  the  board,  she  said.     The  archives  project  is  in  the  “development  phase,”  Werner  said.     The  2013  TJFF  —  www.tjff.com  —  runs  from  April  11  to  21.  Its  advance  box  office  opens  on   March  28.    


From Dickens  to  Polanski  at  TJFF   Sheldon  Kirshner,  Staff  Reporter,  Friday,  April  5,  2013     http://www.cjnews.com/arts/dickens-­‐polanski-­‐tjff#sthash.8ASnIQbh.dpuf    

This  year’s  edition  of  the  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival  runs  from  April  11  to  21  and  features  a   first-­‐class  lineup  of  films.     A  sampler:   The  British  novelist  Charles  Dickens,  in  Oliver  Twist,  described  Fagin,  one  of  his  most  loathsome   characters,  as  “an  old  shrivelled  Jew.”  But  who  was  really  Fagin?  A  figment  of  his  fertile   imagination?  Or  an  actual  flesh-­‐and-­‐blood  figure?  The  mystery  is  apparently  resolved  in  The  


First Fagin,  which  explores  the  topic  in  voluminous  length,  blending  the  historical  record  with   dramatic  re-­‐enactments.     Fagin  was  modelled  after  Isaac  (Ikey)  Solomon  (1785-­‐1850),  a  pickpocket  and  a  dealer  in  stolen   goods.  Like  William  Shakespeare’s  Shylock,  Fagin  validated  antisemitic  tropes  and  stereotypes   about  Jews.  But  in  The  First  Fagin,  directed  by  Alan  Rosenthal  and  Helen  Gaynor,  Solomon  is   portrayed  more  benignly  as  a  loving  husband  and  father  who  was  thrown  into  the  maelstrom  of   crime  by  circumstances  beyond  his  control.     Raised  in  London’s  impoverished  East  End,  Solomon  was  born  into  crime,  his  father  having  been   a  criminal.  Britain’s  rigid  class  system,  as  well  as  the  endemic  antisemitism  of  his  times,  left  him   with  few  options.  Of  course,  he  could  have  hewed  to  the  straight  and  narrow.  But  having  been   exposed  to  malodorous  influences,  he  embarked  upon  a  crooked  road.     The  First  Fagin  unfolds  in  London  and  on  the  Australian  island  of  Tasmania,  a  British  penal   colony  where  he,  his  long-­‐suffering  wife  and  children  ultimately  ended  up.  This  informative  and   entertaining  semi-­‐documentary  evokes  a  mean-­‐spirited  era  when  a  man  could  be  hanged  for   the  slightest  of  crimes.     Royal  Ontario  Museum,  April  12,  at  3:30  p.m.  and  Sheppard  Cinema  3  on  April  18,  at  5  p.m.   Roman  Polanski:  A  Film  Memoir,  directed  by  Laurent  Bouzereau,  examines  a  tumultuous  life  of   tragedy  and  triumph.  Much  of  it  unfolds  in  the  form  of  an  extended  interview  conducted  by   Polanski’s  friend,  Andrew  Braunsberg.  File  footage  from  events  that  shaped  him  rounds  out  the   rest  of  this  penetrating  film.     Polanski  was  born  in  Paris,  but  on  the  eve  of  World  War  II,  his  Polish-­‐Jewish  parents  moved  back   to  Poland,  which,  as  he  observes,  was  “a  big  mistake.”  Caught  up  in  the  Nazi  occupation,  the   Polanski  family  suffered  greatly.     His  best  friend  was  deported,  his  mother  was  murdered  in  Auschwitz  and  his  father  was   marched  away.  He  recalls  these  traumatic  moments  with  considerable  emotion  and  tears.   Polanski  survived  by  going  into  hiding  with  compassionate  Polish  families.  After  the  war,  he  was   reunited  with  his  father,  who  bitterly  disillusioned  him  by  taking  a  new  wife  and  leaving  him  in   the  care  of  strangers.     The  film  also  charts  his  fling  with  acting  and  his  career  in  cinema  in  postwar  Poland,  his  marriage   to  Sharon  Tate  –  the  victim  of  a  brutal  murder  –  his  incarceration  for  having  sex  with  a  minor,   and  his  flight  to  Europe  after  a  warrant  for  his  arrest  was  issued  by  the  U.S.  government.   Sheppard  Cinema  5,  April  15,  at  4  p.m.  and  Innis  Town  Hall  on  April  21,  at  1:30  p.m.   Re-­‐emerging:  The  Jews  of  Nigeria,  by  Jeff  Lieberman,  takes  a  sympathetic  look  at  the  Igbos,   some  of  whom  observe  Judaism  and  claim  to  be  the  descendants  of  one  of  the  10  Lost  Tribes  of   Israel.  Their  narrative,  however  valid,  is  discounted  by  an  American  professor  of  Bible.  They  are   a  tiny  minority.  Fewer  than  3,000  of  25  million  Igbos  have  adopted  Judaism.     In  case  you’ve  forgotten,  the  Igbos  touched  off  a  civil  war  in  the  1960s  by  declaring   independence  in  the  newly  created  but  abortive  nation  of  Biafra.    


Lieberman interviews  a  succession  of  Igbos  who  converted  to  Judaism.  “I  know  in  me  there  is  a   Jewish  soul,”  says  an  Igbo  who  was  once  a  Catholic.  “I’m  done  with  Jesus.”  In  subsequent   frames,  an  Igbo  in  flowing  red  robes  blows  a  shofar  and  a  woman  cooks  a  traditional  Sabbath   meal.     Sheppard  Cinema  5,  April  15,  at  4  p.m.  and  Royal  Ontario  Museum,  April  18  ,  at  3  p.m.    

  Franziska  Schlotterer’s  fine-­‐tuned  German-­‐language  feature  film,  Closed  Season,  is  a  most   unusual  film.  It  opens  in  Israel  as  a  young  German  tourist  disembarks  from  a  bus  and  tries   engaging  a  kibbutznik  in  a  serious  conversation.  In  vain,  he  urges  the  German  to  go  back  home   to  Germany.     At  this  juncture,  Closed  Season  flashes  back  to  1942.  As  Albert,  a  German  Jew,  tries  to  cross  into   neutral  Switzerland  from  Nazi  Germany,  he  is  apprehended  by  Fritz,  a  German  hunter  and   farmer.  Fritz  and  his  wife,  Emma,  cannot  have  children.  But  since  Fritz  needs  an  heir,  he  strikes  a   deal  with  Albert.  In  exchange  for  impregnating  Emma,  Albert  will  be  allowed  to  remain  on  the   farm,  far  from  prying  Nazi  eyes.     At  first,  the  sex  between  Albert  and  Emma  is  coldly  mechanical.  But  as  Emma  learns  to  love  it,   she  falls  hard  for  Albert,  compromising  her  relationship  with  Fritz  and  imperilling  Albert.  The   film  is  relentlessly  realistic  in  tone  and  the  performances  could  not  be  better.     Sheppard  Cinema  5,  April  16,  6:15  p.m.  and  Bloor  Cinema,  April  17,  9  p.m.     My  Father  and  the  Man  in  Black  is  about  a  tempestuous  relationship.  Saul  Holiff,  a  Canadian  Jew   from  London,  Ontario,  was  the  manager  of  the  legendary  country  singer  Johnny  Cash.  When   they  met  in  1958,  Holiff  did  not  know  that  Cash,  a  wild  southern  Baptist,  popped  pills  and  had  a  


dysfunctional personality.  Cash  did  not  always  show  up  at  concerts,  annoying  Holiff,  an   organized  and  reliable  person.     This  absorbing  film  is  directed  by  Holiff’s  son,  Jonathan,  a  former  Los  Angeles-­‐based  talent   agent.     Innis  Town  Hall,  April  18,  9:15  p.m.    

Hotel  Lux,  a  surreal  German/Russian  production  directed  by  Leander  Haussmann,  takes  place  in   Nazi  Germany  and  the  Soviet  Union  and  revolves  around  a  hilarious  case  of  mistaken  identity  in   which  a  German  comedian  who  mocked  Adolf  Hitler  on  stage  is  recruited  to  be  Joseph  Stalin’s   personal  astrologer.     Innis  Town  Hall,  April  16,  3:15  p.m.  and  Sheppard  Cinema  3,  April  21,  3:30  p.m.     Altina  is  the  story  of  Altina  Schinasi  (1907-­‐1999),  a  sexually  liberated  artist  of  Turkish  and  Greek   descent  who  defied  social  conventions  and  made  a  life  for  herself  at  a  time  when  society  kept   bourgeois  women  like  herself  on  an  extremely  tight  leash.     The  scion  of  a  wealthy  tobacco  merchant  who  invented  the  cigarette-­‐rolling  machine,  a  device   that  revolutionized  the  industry,  she  was  smart,  independent  and  lusty.  Peter  Sanders’  film   captures  her  spirit  deliciously.     Innis  Town  Hall,  April  14,  1  p.m.  and  Sheppard  Cinema  5,  April  15,  6  p.m.        


Film on  Canadian  Comics  in  Israel  hits  film   festival   April  9,  2013  -­‐  Atara  Beck  |  Israel  Correspondent   http://www.jewishtribune.ca/arts-­‐and-­‐culture/2013/04/09/film-­‐on-­‐canadian-­‐comics-­‐in-­‐israel-­‐ hits-­‐film-­‐festival     “I  really  tried  to  stay…away  from  politics  this  time  around,”   filmmaker  Igal  Hecht  said  in  a  discussion  about  his  latest   work,  A  Universal  Language,  in  which  he  followed  Canadian   comedians  on  their  first  trip  to  Israel  last  spring.     Yuk  Yuks  founder  and  CEO  Mark  Breslin  toured  Israel  for  a   week  together  with  Aaron  Berg,  Sam  Easton,  Mike  Khardas,   Rebecca  Kohler,  Jean  Paul  and  Nikki  Payne  (see  ‘Yuk  Yuks   comics  create  controversy  in  Israel,’  Jewish  Tribune,  June  15,   2012).     Yet  it’s  impossible  to  avoid  politics  here  totally,  Hecht   acknowledged.   Nevertheless,  he  did  an  outstanding  job  of  filming  the  troupe’s  journey  to  the  Holy  Land,  which  included  sightseeing,   performances  and  interaction  with  local  stand-­‐up  comics,  both  Israeli  and  Palestinian.  He  succeeded  in  presenting   incidents  of  conflict  –  along  with  the  reactions  of  the  comedians  –  while  refraining  from  influencing  the  viewers’   conclusions.     Breslin  and  his  group  were  clearly  affected  by  their  visits  to  the  holy  sites  and  even  more  so  at  the  Yad  Vashem   Holocaust  museum,  where  they  were  moved  to  tears.  The  trip  was  “wonderfully  intense,”  Payne  said.     “Free  speech  in  the  arts  trumps  absolutely  everything  else,”  Breslin  pointed  out  in  the  film.  He  and  his  troupe  relish   their  “freedom  to  swear”  and  enjoy  “pushing  the  envelope,”  and  they  hoped  to  encourage  their  Israeli  counterparts   to  do  the  same.     “If  we  inspired  anybody  here  in  Israel  to  take  an  extra  chance,  say  an  extra  word  that  they’re  not  supposed  to  say  or   delve  into  a  topic  that  they  heretofore  did  not,  then  I  think  we  did  something  great,”  Breslin  said.  “And  I  think  that  we   probably  did.  We  love  this  country  and  we’re  gonna  come  back.”     Truth  is,  however,  that  their  performance  lacked  wit.  Indeed,  Palestinian  comic  Adi  Khalefa’s  clip  was  superior,   notwithstanding  its  anti-­‐Israel  premise.     Perhaps  the  funniest  scene  was  offstage,  before  the  first  Jerusalem  show,  where  the  audience  was  mostly  middle   aged  or  elderly  –  looking  “like  old  people  and  their  parents,”  according  to  Breslin,  who  himself  fits  into  that   demographic  –  and  the  comics  were  riddled  with  anxiety.     The  world  premiere  of  A  Universal  Language  takes  place  at  the  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival  on  April  14.  For   information,  go  to  tiff.com.  It  will  also  be  shown  on  April  18,  9  p.m.,  on  the  documentary  channel.  The  TV  cut  is  about   20  minutes  shorter  that  the  feature.     st The  21  annual  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival  (TJFF)  is  currently  underway.  103  films  from  15  different  countries  are   st being  showcased  until  April  21 ,  ranging  from  dramas  and  comedies  to  biographies,  shorts,  and  archival  films.  


Jewish Film  Festival  Invites  You  to  Test  Your  ‘J-­‐ DAR’   Did you know that ‘Bridesmaids’ is actually 9.64% more Jewish than ‘Fiddler on the Roof’? By:  Ashley  Baylen   Published:  April  16th,  2013  in  Culture  »  Film  »  News   http://www.shalomlife.com/culture/19142/jewish-­‐film-­‐festival-­‐invites-­‐you-­‐to-­‐test-­‐your-­‐ j-­‐dar/    

But, the  real  question  is…  what  makes  a  film  Jewish?  Are  a  majority  of  the  cast   and  crew  Jewish?  Must  the  film  feature  Jewish  content?  Are  these  films  any  more   Jewish  than  your  favorite  Hollywood  films?  Check  out  TJFF’s  “J-­‐DAR”  to  find  out.  


Did you  know  that  ‘Bridesmaids’  is  more  Jewish  than  ‘Fiddler  on  the  Roof’,  that   ‘White  Christmas’  is  more  Jewish  than  ‘The  Diary  of  Anne  Frank’  or  that  ‘Spring   Breakers’  is  48%  Jewish?     “J-­‐DAR”  is  a  fun  online  tool  developed  by  TJFF  to  calculate  how  Jewish  your   favorite  Hollywood  movies  are.  Since  TJFF  is  intended  to  appeal  to  everyone-­‐   both  Jews  and  non-­‐Jews  alike-­‐  what  better  way  to  get  people  interested  in   attending  a  Jewish  Film  Festival  than  to  show  them  how  Jewish  their  favorite   films  really  are?     “J-­‐DAR”  uses  a  complex  algorithm  that  analyzes  the  content  and  key  roles   associated  with  a  film,  and  cross-­‐references  a  database  of  the  majority  of   Hollywood-­‐affiliated  Jews.  For  every  film,  weighted  percentile  points  are  assigned   based  on  the  importance  of  the  role  (content,  director,  actor,  producer,  etc).   These  points  are  added  up  to  generate  a  “J-­‐DAR”  score.     Movie  fans  are  encouraged  to  discover  the  Jewish  factor  to  as  many  films  as   possible.  Each  “J-­‐DAR”  score  is  complemented  by  a  TJFF  film  recommendation   based  on  the  genre  you  searched,  and  furthermore,  connects  users  to  the  TJFF   website  to  purchase  tickets  and  search  the  schedules.     “TJFF  is  largely  perceived  to  be  a  religious  festival  –  featuring  movies  heavy  on   Jewish  content  and  light  on  action,  drama,  suspense  and  laughs,”  says  David   Ross,  creative  director,  DDB  Canada.  “To  expand  our  reach  to  include  a  younger   Jewish  and  non-­‐Jewish  demographic,  we  set  out  to  change  this  perception  by   proving  to  people  that  they’re  already  fans  of  Jewish  movies,  and  may  not  even   know  it.”     “This  year’s  campaign  takes  a  tongue-­‐in-­‐cheek  approach  to  communicate  that   Jewish  people  have  a  long-­‐standing  reputation  for  making  great  films  in   Hollywood  and  beyond,”  says  Helen  Zukerman,  executive  director,  TJFF.  “TJFF  is   an  authentic  cultural  experience  that  celebrates  Jewish  culture  by  screening   outstanding  films,  documentaries  and  shorts  from  around  the  world,  and   showcases  quality  films  that  aren’t  shown  anywhere  else.”     The  “J-­‐DAR”  website  also  allows  you  to  test  your  own  J-­‐DAR,  choosing  the  more   Jewish  movies  between  ones  presented  in  a  game  format.   Find  out  more  info  about  J-­‐DAR  and  TJFF  at  www.J-­‐DAR.ca  and  www.tjff.com    


Bollywood’s Jewish  Connection   Sunday  April  13,  2013    

  Shalom  Bollywood:  The  untold  story  of  Indian  cinema  is  a  feature-­‐length  narrated  documentary   that  tells  of  the  2000  year  old  Indian  Jewish  commu-­‐  nity  and  its  formative  place  in  the  In-­‐  dian   film  industry.  It  is  being  made  to  coincide  with  the  100th  anniversary  of  Indian  cinema  in  July   2013.     Helming  the  production  of  this  film  is  documentary  filmmaker  and  professor  Danny  Ben-­‐Moshe.   Dr.  Ben-­‐  Moshe  will  also  screen  a  few  clips  of  the  film  as  well  as  deliver  a  special  presentation  on   Sunday  April  14th  at  the  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival.   The  doc  delves  into  the  world  of  the  great  stars  of  the  silent  and  golden  eras  of  Hindi  Cinema,   from  India’s  first  film  in  1913  through  to  the  euphoric  post-­‐independence  day  of  the  1950s,  all  of   whom  were  pivotal  in  shaping  what  was  to  become  the  world’s  larg-­‐  est  film  industry.  Through   their  glam-­‐  orous  and  often  tumultuous  lives,  the  film  takes  viewers  on  a  journey  into  the   fascinating  world  of  Hindi  cinema,  India  and  its  unique  Jewish  commu-­‐  nity.  Unlike  Hollywood,   where  the  Jewish  role  was  formative  as  produc-­‐  ers,  in  Bollywood  that  influence  was  on  screen   where,  until  Jewish  women  started  acting  in  this  revolutionary  form  of  entertainment,  all   women’s  roles  were  played  by  men  –  sort  of  Monty  Python  or  Shakespearian  style.  While  the   conservative  nature  of  Hin-­‐  du  and  Muslim  societies  shunned  the  notion  of  female  performers,   the  Jew-­‐  ish  community  was  more  liberal  and  educated  and  willing  to  embrace  the  exciting  new   medium  of  film.  The  fact  that  Indian  Jews  were  a  lighter  shade  of  brown  made  these  women   seem  all  the  more  suited  for  celluloid.  The  story  is  told  in  four  parts:  The  Birth  of  Bollywood  and  


the Silent  Era  1913-­‐  1930;  The  Talkies  1931-­‐1947;  Indian  Independence  and  The  Golden  Era   1947-­‐1970;  &  BollyJews  Today.  As  a  primarily  historical  story  relying  on  stills,  press  cuttings  and   film  posters  –  none  of  the  silent  or  early  sound  era  films  survived  -­‐  retro  style  2D  anima-­‐  tion  is   selectively  used  to  give  this  ar-­‐  chive  a  cheeky  Bollywood  feel.  As  in  any  good  Bollywood  film,   music  is  a  prominent  feature.  The  film  creatively  exploits  the  synthesis  of  the  Indian-­‐  Jewish   themes  so  that  the  film’s  mu-­‐  sic,  for  example,  includes  the  classic  Jewish  tune  hava  nagila   played  on  the  sitar  and  Bollywood  tunes  in  a  Yiddish  soundingclarinet.  Thefilmfocuseson  the   famed  Jewish  actresses  of  the  si-­‐  lent  and  golden  eras  and  tells  of  many  firsts,  including:       •  Firoza  Begum  (Susan  Soloman)  a  star  in  1920s  and  30s  although  because  of  her  stage  name   most  people  thought  she  was  a  Muslim,  a  common  occur-­‐  rence  for  Indian  Jewish  film  stars       •  Sulochana  (Ruby  Meyers),  who  was  the  highest  paid  actress  of  her  time  and  the  first  superstar   in  Indian  film,  who  was  so  popular  that  Gan-­‐  dhi’s  shorts  were  scheduled  to  screen  before  her   films  to  increase  his  audi-­‐  ence.  Introduced  into  the  world  of  films  by  Ardeshir  B.  Irani,  the  father   of  Indian  talkies,  her  legendary  co-­‐star  with  whom  she  had  multiple  on-­‐screen  romances  was   Dinshaw  Billimoria,       •  Eremeline,  who  with  her  stunning  looks  picked  her  male  co-­‐stars  at  will,  and  began  the  Kapoor   family  cinemat-­‐  ic  dynasty  by  selecting  Prithviraj  Ka-­‐  poor  from  a  line  of  extras  as  she  liked  the   look  of  him  •  Rose,  the  silent  era  actress  who  struggled  to  make  the  transition  to  the  talkies,  as   we  learn  about  from  her  granddaughter,  former  swim  wear  model  and  now  film  editor  Rachel   Reuben       •  Pramilla  (Esther  Abrahams)  the  first  Miss  India  in  1947  who  in  1938  starred  in  “Mother  India”   which  ran  for  an  incredible  82  weeks  and  holds  the  honor  of  being  the  first  film  from  the   subcontinent  to  be  screened  at  Buckingham  Palace,  who  we  learn  about  from  Pramilla’s  actor   and  script  writer  son  Haider  Ali  and  her  grand-­‐  son,  Bollywood  film  editor  Akiv  Ali       •  Nadira  (Farhat  Ezekiel),  who  passed  away  in  2006  after  starring  in  over  60  movies  and  had  the   audacity  to  play  negative  villain  roles  in  the  1950s  and  1960s,  when  most  females  played   heroine  roles,  who  is  described  by  her  close  friend  and  Jewish  community  leader  Soloman   Sopher  •  David  Abraham,  the  revered  “uncle”  figure  of  Indian  cinema  made  famous  for  his  role   in  the  Raj  Kapoor  1954  classic  “Boot  Polish”.     Through  the  personal  lives  of  the  Jewish  stars  the  film  tells  the  broader  Indian  Jewish  story.  We   visit  the  lush  Konkan  coast,  a  20  minute  boat  ride  from  Mumbai’s  famous  Gateway  of  India  Arch,   to  see  the  villages  seem-­‐  ingly  still  stuck  in  time  where  the  Bene  Israel  tribe  lived  for  2000  years   before  making  the  short  journey  to  Bombay  at  the  turn  of  the  twentieth  century.  We  learn  of   the  arrival  in  the  1700s  of  the  Baghdadi  Jews  from  across  the  Middle  East  whose  ornate  Mumbai   synagogues  were  the  places  of  worship  of  many  of  the  Bollywood  stars.  The   told  without  understanding  the  broader  story  of  Hindi  cinema  which  the  film  reveals.  These   actresses  worked  with  the  biggest  producers,  directors  and  actors  of  their  time,  so  through  their   stories  the  film  delves  into  the  history  of  Indian  cinema:  the  early  male  heart  throbs,  the  big   studios,  and  the  leading  directors.  Present  day  senior  Bolly-­‐  wood  figures,  including  Rishi  Kapoor   and  Emmy  award  winning  director  Shekhar  Kapur,  are  interviewed  in  the  film  discussing  the   industry  in  general  and  the  impact  of  the  Jewish  stars  in  particular.  While  the  film  focuses  on  the  


pioneering and  glamorous  Jewish  women  on  screen,  it  also  explores  the  pivotal  off  camera  role   Jewish  men  played,  such  as:     •  Joseph  Penkar  who  wrote  the  script  for  the  first  talkie  in  Indian  cin-­‐  ema  “Alam  Ara”  •  Ezra  Mir   who  having  worked  as  an  extra  in  Hollywood  returned  to  India  to  become  the  first  chief  of  the   India  Film  Division     •  Bunny  Reuben,  the  flamboyant  Bollywood  publicist,  and  Raj  Kapoor’s  right  hand  man  and   biographer,  who  provided  Raj  Kapoor  with  the  Jewish  prayers  he  meditated  with.  By  explor-­‐  ing   the  story  of  the  Jewish  Bollywood  greats  it  also  explores  the  theme  of  in-­‐  terfaith  relations,  in   what  is  described  as  a  land  without  anti-­‐Semitism,  as  the  Jewish  stars  married  Muslim  and  Hin-­‐   dus,  harmoniously  sharing  in  each  oth-­‐  er  customs.  The  film  takes  viewers  on  a  journey  enriched   by  magnificent  co-­‐  lours  and  the  many  sounds  of  India  in  general  and  Jewish  India  in  particular,   providing  an  entry  into  synagogues,  mosques  and  temples  and  present  day  Mumbai’s  markets,   street  kids,  squalor  and  high  rises,  –  and  of  course  its  cin-­‐  emas.     The  Weekly  Voice  connected  with  filmmaker,  professor  Ben-­‐  Moshe  and  asked  him  a  few   ques-­‐  tions     Professor  Ben,  how  did  you  hit  upon  this  theme?  What's  your  connection  to  India,  if  any?  I’m   also  an  academic  and  an  Indian  student  of  mine  gave  me  an  obituary   of  Nadira,  the  last  of  the  great  Jewish  Bollywood  actors  to  pass  away.  I  knew  there  were  Indian   Jews  but  had  no  idea  there  was  such  a  prominent  Jewish  on  screen  star.  I  went  to  India  to  do   some  research  to  see  if  there  was  enough  material  to  make  a  film  about  Nadira  but  I  found  out   she  was  the  tip  of  the  iceberg.   I  have  no  specific  connection  to  India  –  or  at  least  I  didn’t  until  I  started  travelling  there  to  make   this  film.  Now  I  have  many  dear  friends  in  Mumbai  and  feel  connected  to  its  Jewish  history  and   related  locations  such  as  Konkan.     This  looks  like  a  lot  of  material,  how  long  did  it  take  to  shoot,  and  tell  us  some  of  the   challenges  you  faced?   Challenges?  Well  as  just  about  any  documentary  filmmaker  will  tell  you  there  is  the  perennial   challenge  of  fi-­‐  nancing,  and  I  am  in  fact  still  on  the  hunt  for  funds  to  complete  the  editing  of  the   film  for  which  I  have  started  a  crowd  funding  campaign.   In  terms  of  material  there  actually  was  not  that  much  to  shoot.  The  time  was  more  in  finding   who  to  shoot  and  that  meant  locating  people  who  were  part  of  or  had  ties  to  the  Jewish  Bol-­‐   lywood  story.  A  lot  of  time  has  been  spent  of  finding  archive  and  working  my  way  through   Indian  bureaucracy  and  sitting  on  planes  getting  to  and  from  India  from  Australia!   I  first  went  to  India  for  a  pre-­‐pro-­‐  duction  research  trip  in  2007  so  it  has  ben  a  long  stop  start   journey,  but  hope-­‐  fully  a  worthwhile  one.     The  local  Jewish  community,  ironi-­‐  cally,  is  not  so  much  into  Bollywood  anymore?  I’m  not  sure   what  you  mean  by  local,  but  in  India  the  Jewish  community  is  as  much  into  Bollywood  as   anyone.  However,  as  you  would  know  cinema  in  India  has  changed  with  the  devel-­‐  opment  of   multiplexes  and  different  forms  of  story  telling,  and  like  other  Indians,  Jews  are  also  interested   and  involved  in  that.  Of  course  most  Indi-­‐  an  Jews  have  left  the  country,  but  their  love  for   Bollywood  endures,  reflected  in  the  annual  Bollywood  festival  held  in  Israel.  


Executive Reads:  Helen  Zukerman   By: Notable Posted in: Shop - Nationwide || April 12, 2013, 11:30 pm http://notable.ca/nationwide/shop/Executive-Reads-Helen-Zukerman/

Helen Zukerman  is  the  Co-­‐Founder  and  Artistic  Director  of  the  Toronto  Jewish   Film  Festival,  presenting  its  21st  Festival  from  April  11-­‐21.  She  has  seen  the   Festival  evolve  from  its  first  year  and  34  films  at  the  Bloor  Cinema  with  7500   attendees,  to  this  one  which  will  have  108  films  from  18  countries  at  five   venues  and  thousands  of  people.  She  is  often  amazed  by  the  fact  that  Jewish   content  films  are  being  made  in  countries  like  Norway,  Macedonia,  or  Uruguay.   This  year,  they  previewed  over  508  films  before  choosing  their  final  program.   Growing  up  in  Montreal  and  not  being  able  to  go  to  the  movies  until  she  was   16  (as  this  was  the  law  back  then),  she  became  an  avid  reader  from  very   young.  So  it  is  with  great  difficulty  that  she  has  selected  three  recent  and  one   vintage  book  as  being  outstanding  in  their  influence…    


Hope: A  Tragedy  by  Sholom  Auslander   I  guess  because  of  my  involvement  in  the  Film  Festival,  and  having  shown  films   about  Anne  Frank  and  her  story,  it  was  a  merry-­‐go-­‐round  ride  for  me  and  this   novel.  A  couple,  wanting  to  move  out  of  NYC,  buy  a  house  in  suburban  New   York  State,  only  to  find  Anne  Frank  living  in  their  attic.  A  foul-­‐mouthed,  selfish   squatter  that  orders  people  around  and  whose  most  outstanding  line  to  the   owner  of  the  house  is  "blow  me."  As  hysterically  implausible  as  that  sounds,  it   worked  for  me.  Auslander  is  the  epitome  of  irreverence  in  his  work.  Foreskin's   Lament  (his  first)  should  have  been  an  "omen"  of  what  was  to  follow.  His   irreverence  justifies,  to  me,  some  of  the  controversial  films  we  show  because   he  makes  me  believe  that  there  are  people  like  him  who  will  appreciate  those   films.     The  Brain  that  Changes  Itself  by  Norman  Doidge   The  Brain  and  its  functions  have  always  intrigued  me.  Since  I'm  now  in  my   sixties,  I  see  brain  changes  in  myself  that  sometimes  trouble  me.  This  book  was   comforting  because  not  only  was  it  readable,  but  it  was  good  to  know  that   brains  of  any  age  can  accommodate  change  and  "rewire"  themselves.  It  made   me  try  to  brush  my  teeth  with  my  left  hand  instead  of  my  right  hand.  It  took   about  10  days  but  it  worked!       The  Immortal  Life  of  Henrietta  Laks  by  Rebecca  Skloot   I  cannot  tell  you  how  fascinating  I  found  this  story  to  be,  thinking  about  this   poor,  black  woman  in  the  southern  U.S.  whose  Hila  cells  are  being  used  today   in  labs  across  the  world.  My  niece,  who  is  a  researcher  at  Sick  Kids  Hospital,   never  knew  the  story  about  the  Hila  cells  she  is  using  today.  It  amazes  me  how   far  we  have  come  and  yet  how  close  we  are  to  our  history.     And  finally,  I  just  could  not  leave  out  this  book,  a  children's  book.  When  I  had   my  own  children,  we  would  go  to  the  libraries  in  Toronto  each  Saturday  and   they  would  take  out  as  many  books  as  was  allowed.  The  best  bedtime  story  I   would  read  was…       The  Camel  who  Took  a  Walk  by  Jack  Tworkov   No  matter  how  many  times  I  read  it  to  the  girls,  I  would  always  roar  with   laughter  as  the  end  approached.  Whenever  you  have  a  tiger,  monkey,  squirrel   and  a  bird  making  a  plan  to  take  down  a  camel,  you've  got  a  problem.  Because   life  rarely  goes  according  to  plans...        


J-­‐DAR MEASURES  JEWISHNESS  FOR  TORONTO   JEWISH  FILM  FESTIVAL     April  05,  2013    |    Carly  Lewis    |    Comments   http://www.marketingmag.ca/news/media-­‐news/j-­‐dar-­‐measures-­‐jewishness-­‐for-­‐toronto-­‐ jewish-­‐film-­‐festival-­‐75798   The  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival,  a  showcase  of  movies  “heavy  on  Jewish  content,”  has   created  an  online  tool  for  calculating  “J-­‐DAR.”   According  to  a  statement,  J-­‐DAR  refers  to  how  “Jewish”  popular  Hollywood  films  are.  DDB   Canadacreative  director  David  Ross,  whose  agency  developed  the  tool,  said  it’s  a  fun  means   of  educating  people  on  the  important  contributions  that  Jewish  actors,  writers,  directors  and   producers  have  made  to  film.  “J-­‐DAR  was  designed  to  highlight  the  fact  that  many  of  the   festival’s  films  are  no  more  Jewish  than  what  you’d  see  in  Hollywood,”  he  said.   The  site  is  also  meant  to  correct  the  misconception  that  the  annual  festival  is  exclusively  for   Jewish  people.  “People  think  many  of  the  films  are  religious  in  focus  and  geared  only  toward  a   Jewish  audience,”  Ross  said.   As  for  how  that  Jewish-­‐ness  is   calculated.  Ross  said  a  meticulous   formula  was  employed.  DDB   Canada  consulted  with  a  statistician   and  considered  criteria  such  as  the   people  who  made  the  films,  the   content  and  the  setting.   As  an  example,  Spring  Breakers,  a   controversial  new  film  about  four   girls  on  vacation  in  Florida,  is  48%   Jewish  (its  lead  actor  James  Franco,   writer/director  and  producer  are   Jewish,  according  to  J-­‐DAR).   Another  popular  film,  Silver  Linings   Playbook,  rated  as  35%  Jewish   thanks  to  its  composer,  producer  and  actor  Bonnie  Aarons.   Users  can  type  a  film  title  into  the  J-­‐DAR  database  to  learn  its  score.  They  are  then  linked  to   recommendations  for  similar  movies  also  playing  at  the  festival,  alongside  a  direct  link  to   purchase  tickets.  


The Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival  Spotlights  Everything   from  Neil  Diamond  to  “Hava  Nagila”   More  than  two  decades  in,  the  TJFF  is  as  eclectic  as  ever.   BY  KEVIN  SCOTT    

Marc Halberstadt in Cowjews and Indians. Promotional still courtesy of the TJFF.

Now  in  its  21st  year,  the  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival  remains  as  committed  as   ever  to  projecting  every  facet  of  the  Jewish  identity.  This  year’s  programme   consists  of  an  eclectic  mix  of  films  in  a  multitude  of  genres  and  formats,  from   silent  to  animated.  The  documentaries  alone  cover  a  huge  number  of  subjects,   ranging  from  Neil  Diamond,  to  Serge  Gainsbourg,  to  Roman  Polanski,  and  even  to   the  history  of  the  popular  Jewish  song  “Hava  Nagila.”    


The festival  opens  on  Thursday  with  a  screening  of  the  provocative  Cowjews  and   Indians,  in  which  filmmaker  Marc  Halberstadt  attempts  to  “cut  out  the  middle   man”  by  enlisting  NativeAmericans  to  take  back  his  ancestors’  land  in  Germany.   Here  are  a  few  other  films  worth  seeking  out  during  the  festival’s  run.      

    Any  documentary  about  former  New  York  City  mayor  Ed  Koch  (who  was  Jewish)   is  bound  to  chronicle  not  only  the  person,  but  also  the  city  he  served  from  1978   to  1989.  As  such,  Koch  (Showtimes)  provides  a  fascinating  look  at  how  an   irrepressible  man,  though  not  without  his  faults,  helped  steer  a  metropolis   through  a  turbulent  period  in  its  history.  From  savvy  political  maneuvering—like  a   decision  to  deceptively  position  one  of  Koch’s  female  friends  during  his  mayoral   campaign  to  fend  off  persistent  rumours  of  homosexuality—to  his  lasting  legacy   of  housing  reform,  the  film  uses  old  footage  and  interviews  with  biographers,   journalists,  and  key  figures  (including  Koch  himself)  to  recreate  history.     It’s  easy  to  see  how  someone  who  paraded  around  with  such  pompous  bluster   and  such  an  solicitous  catchphrase  (“How’m  I  doing?”)  could  make  for  an  ideal   leader.  Even  so,  director  Neil  Barsky  doesn’t  shy  away  from  asking  the  hard   questions.  Koch  expresses  genuine  regret  for  some  of  his  unpopular  decisions   while  in  office.  In  light  of  the  ex-­‐mayor’s  death  earlier  this  year  at  age  eighty-­‐ eight,  it’s  fortunate  that  we  now  have  this  lasting  testament  to  all  of  his  chutzpah   and  ragged  charm.    


A gleefully  irreverent  mash-­‐up  of  comedy  and  horror,  with  light  doses  of  sci-­‐fi  and   romance  thrown  in,  Cats  on  a  Pedal  Boat  (Showtimes),  an  Israeli  production,  is   pure  cinematic  nerd  candy.  Using  an  aesthetic  that  marries  the  deadpan   sensibilities  of  Wes  Anderson  with  the  silly  (and  economical)  brand  of  the   macabre  typified  by  B-­‐movie  producer  Roger  Corman,  the  film  manages  to  be   dazzling  and  hilarious.  In  a  playful  subversion  of  The  Princess  Bride,  it  opens  with   a  punk  kid  refusing  to  be  subjected  again  to  his  grandfather’s  boring  stories.   Instead,  the  kid  launches  into  an  improvised  yarn  about  a  young  couple  in  love.     The  couple  takes  a  trip  to  a  lake  where  they  defy  the  rules  by  bringing  along  a  cat   in  their  pedal  boat—a  decision  that  leads  to  the  cat  jumping  into  the  water  and   vanishing.  How  exactly  the  lake  being  polluted  by  toxic  waste  and  a  deranged   man  known  as  “The  Admiral”  factor  into  the  story  are  discoveries  that  shouldn’t   be  spoiled.  One  of  the  highlights  is  when  a  group  of  derelict  Sea  Scouts  attempt   to  save  the  day,  only  to  get  distracted  by  arguments  over  things  like  who  in  the   group  should  be  allowed  to  wear  a  bow  tie.  In  a  piece  of  inspired  programming,   the  feature  will  be  presented  with  the  short  film  Poisoned,  a  lively  and  funny   zombie  tale  set  at  a  military  base.        


With his  magnetic  turn  in  God’s  Neighbors  (Showtimes),  Roy  Assaf  taps  into  a   fundamental  struggle  between  leading  a  solemn  life  of  religious  servitude  and   violently  imposing  those  beliefs  on  anyone  who  refuses  to  do  the  same.  His   character,  an  Israeli  man  named  Avi,  is  certainly  not  a  bad  guy  by  any  means.  He   helps  out  regularly  at  his  father’s  fruit  store  and  composes  religious  trance  music   that  he  distributes  to  a  rabbi  who  excitedly  blasts  the  tunes  from  his  van.  But   when  a  group  of  drunken  louts  insists  on  partying  outside  his  window  during   Shabbat,  he  feels  obliged  to  force  them  to  adhere  to  the  day-­‐of-­‐rest  custom  by   any  means  necessary.   This  inner  conflict  even  extends  to  his  relationship  with  a  young  woman  in  his   neighbourhood,  Miri  (Rotem  Zussman),  whom  he  initially  confronts  about  baring   too  much  skin,  before  taking  tentative  steps  towards  romance.  It’s  this  recurring   tension  that  allows  Assaf  and  writer-­‐director  Meny  Yaesh  to  create  a  complex   character  whose  motivations  are  never  quite  as  black  and  white  as  they  appear   to  be.  

 

Frameline

Interview with  George  Geddeon  –  Thursday  April  18   https://soundcloud.com/barbara_frameline/frameline-­‐apr18-­‐2013-­‐edited  


THE 21st.  TORONTO  JEWISH  FILM  FESTIVAL....   Interview  With  Stuart  Hands   Tuesday,  April  9,  2013   http://inthemiddleofthepassage.blogspot.ca/2013/04/the-­‐21st-­‐toronto-­‐jewish-­‐film-­‐festival.html   http://archive.org/details/The21st.TorontoJewishFilmFestival....InterviewWithStuartHands     This  is  a  recording  of  an  interview   that  I  aired  on  my  show  "The   Middle  Passage"(Radio  Regent),  in   Toronto,  that  I  had  with  Stuart   Hands,  Programme  Manager  for   The  21st  Toronto  Jewish  Film   Festival  which  will  be  screened  at   various  Toronto  venuse  starting   April  11th  21st.We  discussed  some  of  the  films  that  will  be  screened  as  well  as  insights  into  the   proccess  involved  in  making  this  such  a  successful  film  festival....  enjoy!  CLICK  ON  WEB  LINK   BELOW  TITLE  TO  ACCESS  MEDIA  PLAYER!)        

21st  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival   By:  Staff  28th  February  2013   http://www.classical963fm.com/events/21st-­‐toronto-­‐jewish-­‐film-­‐festival/#sthash.OodElYlN.dpuf     Date/Time  |  Date(s)  -­‐  11/04/2013  -­‐  21/04/2013:  All  Day  |  Category(ies):  Family     st The  New  Classical  96.3  FM  is  an  Official  Radio  Sponsor  of  The  21  Annual  Toronto  Jewish  Film   Festival  running  at  venues  throughout  Toronto  from  April  11  to  21.   It’s  a  cinematic  exploration  of  Jewish  life,  history  and  culture  through  film  representing  17  different   countries  and  63  premieres.    For  more  information  visit:  tjff.com.  


Toronto Jewish  Film  Festival  Review:  Poisoned     April  12,  2013  –  By  William  Brownridge   http://thetfs.ca/2013/04/12/toronto-­‐jewish-­‐film-­‐festival-­‐review-­‐poisoned/    

  Danny  (David  Shaul)  is  a  maintenance  worker  at  an  army  base,  always  living  in  the  shadow  of  his  war   hero  father.  During  Passover,  his  high  school  crush  Maya  (Orna  Shifris)  arrives  to  distribute  a  new   vaccine  to  the  troops.  Instead  of  preventing  disease,  the  vaccine  turns  everyone  at  the  army  base   into  zombies.  Now  it’s  up  to  Danny  to  save  the  day,  especially  since  Maya  believes  he  is  part  of  the   special  forces.     The  zombie  genre  continues  to  shamble  on,  despite  the  fact  that  many  of  the  films  produced  are  far   below  good  quality.  Poisoned  thankfully  joins  the  ranks  of  some  of  the  best  zombie  comedies  out   there,  and  never  overstays  its  welcome  with  a  short  45-­‐minute  running  time.     While  the  ideas  aren’t  exactly  new,  the  film  delivers  what  we’ve  come  to  expect  from  a  zombie   movie,  and  does  it  in  a  very  hilarious  way.  Danny  is  the  definition  of  frightened,  so  watching  him  try   and  deal  with  this  new  zombie  menace  leads  to  plenty  of  laughs.  David  Shaul  does  a  great  job  playing   the  character,  so  his  eventual,  and  obvious,  heroic  change  will  have  audiences  cheering.     Of  course,  no  zombie  movie  is  complete  without  some  gore,  and  Poisoneddoes  a  good  job  of   satisfying  horror  fans.  It’s  not  the  greatest  example  of  makeup  effects,  but  first  time  director  Didi   Lubetzky  does  the  best  with  what  is  there.  


Is Poisoned  Essential  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival  Viewing?   Funny,  bloody,  and  a  little  bit  sweet,  this  is  one  to  watch.  Plus,  it’s  not  that  often  you  see  a  zombie   movie  from  Israel,  so  make  sure  you  get  to  see  this  one.     Poisoned  Screening  Times   Saturday,  April  13,  2013  at  10:00  pm  at  Innis  College      


Toronto Jewish  Film  Festival  Review:  Cats  on  a   Pedal  Boat   April  13  –  by  Kristal  Cooper   http://thetfs.ca/2013/04/13/toronto-­‐jewish-­‐film-­‐festival-­‐review-­‐cats-­‐on-­‐a-­‐pedal-­‐boat/     Mili  and  Noam  are  out  for  a  romantic   pedal  boat  ride  on  the  lake  when  they   encounter  a  few  hiccups  that  might  throw   a  wrench  into  any  date.  Mili’s  cat  falls  into   the  water  and  goes  missing,  the  nefarious   owner  of  the  boat  rental  business  is   dumping  toxic  waste  into  the  water  and  is   out  to  track  down  the  key  to  his  buried   safe  full  of  money,  a  key  which  Mili  and   Noam  inadvertently  lost  and  oh  yeah,  the   toxic  waste  had  apparently  turned  local  cats  into  feral  aquatic  killing  machines.   This  truly  strange  ode  to  ’80s-­‐era  trash  horror  cinema  plays  out  like  a  cartoon  on  acid.  The  characters   are  straight  out  of  a  comic  book  –  the  moustache-­‐twirling  villian,  the  beatific  heroine  and  the   bumbling  sidekicks  are  all  included  in  the  fun.  The  film  does  a  great  job  of  parodying  old  school   horror  comedies,  adding  ridiculous  scenario  on  top  of  ridiculous  scenario,  resulting  in  a  manic  laugh-­‐ fest  that  will  please  connoisseurs  of  b-­‐grade  so-­‐bad-­‐it’s-­‐good  movies.  It  also  helps  that  Directors   Yuval  Mendelson  and  Nadav  Hollander  know  to  get  in  and  out  quickly  so  as  not  to  wear  out  their   welcome  –  the  film  runs  at  an  efficient  86  minutes.   Is  Cats  on  a  Pedal  Boat  Essential  TJFF  Viewing?   Only  if  you  totally  love  trashy  horror  comedies.  All  others  will  find  this  tasteless.   Cats  on  a  Pedal  Boat  Screening  Time   Saturday,  April  13,  2013  at  10pm  at  Innis  College    


Toronto Jewish  Film  Fest  Review:  Oma  and  Bella   April  13  –  by  Kristal  Cooper   http://thetfs.ca/2013/04/13/toronto-­‐jewish-­‐film-­‐festival-­‐review-­‐live-­‐or-­‐die-­‐in-­‐entebbe/     In  1976  an  Air  France  plane  with  248   passengers  was  hijacked  by  members  of   the  Popular  Front  for  the  Liberation  of   Palestine  and  the  German  Revolutionary   Cells  and  flown  to  Entebbe  in  Uganda.   The  hijackers  separated  the  100-­‐odd   Israelis  and  Jews,  holding  them  at  the   airport  for  seven  days  before  they  were   freed  by  a  daring  counter-­‐terrorist   hostage-­‐rescue  mission  carried  out  by   commandos  of  the  Israel  Defense  Forces.  In  the  fray,  Jonathan  Khayat’s  20-­‐year-­‐old  uncle  Jean-­‐ Jeacques  Mimouni  was  killed,  transforming  his  family  forever.  In  the  midst  of  all  the  celebrating   surrounding  the  liberation  of  the  hostages,  the  Mimouni  family  felt  forgotten  and  Jonathan,  who   never  met  his  uncle,  wants  to  right  that  wrong  and  give  them  the  answers  he  feels  they  never  got.   He  embarks  on  a  mission  to  speak  to  the  survivors  of  the  hijacking  to  piece  together  the  last  days  of   his  uncle  and  what  may  have  happened  on  the  day  he  died.   This  film  is  less  than  an  hour  long  so  nothing  about  the  hijacking  itself  is  delved  into  too  deeply  which   gives  Live  or  Die  in  Entebbe  a  little  less  weight  as  a  documentary.  The  idea  of  cobbling  together  the   events  by  talking  to  the  survivors  and  the  soldiers  who  liberated  them  is  certainly  fascinating  but   because  the  film  is  so  focused  on  finding  answers  about  Mimouni  specifically,  the  chance  to  address   the  larger-­‐scale  political  and  historical  ramifications  of  the  event  is  squandered.  As  it  stands,  the  film   is  affecting  on  a  sentimental  level  but  doesnt  strive  to  be  much  more  than  that.   Is  Live  or  Die  in  Entebbe  Essential  TJFF  Viewing?   Not  essential  but  worth  a  look  if  you’re  looking  for  a  unique  take  on  a  historical  event  (or  would  like   a  good  cry).   Live  or  Die  in  Entebbe  Screening  Times   Sunday,  April  14,  2013  at  6:45pm  at  the  Sheppard  Centre   Monday,  April  15,  2013  at  3:15pm  at  the  ROM  Theatre    


Toronto Jewish  Film  Fest  Review:  Koch   April  16  –  by  Liam  Valke   http://thetfs.ca/2013/04/14/koch-­‐review/    

Koch  is  a  documentary  about  the  political  career  of  one  of  the  most  famous  mayors  of  New  York   City,  Edward  Irving  Koch.  It  charts  his  unlikely  rise  to  the  top  of  the  political  heap,  the  constant   skirmishes  he  fought  once  there,  his  political  downfall,  and  his  life  after  being  king  of  New   York.  Koch  is  a  portrait  of  a  controversial  and  often  contradictory  man,  both  intensely  private   and  fiercely  political,  but  more  than  that  it  is  a  fascinating  glimpse  into  one  of  the  most   tumultuous  years  of  New  York  City  in  the  20th  century,  a  city  at  the  height  of  decadence,  and  in   the  darkest  days  of  the  AIDS  epidemic.     First  time  director  Neil  Barsky  delivers  a  pretty  straightforward  political  biopic  here.  It  opens   with  86-­‐year-­‐old  Koch  in  his  very  active  post-­‐mayoral  career  as  he  goes  around  endorsing   candidates  for  municipal  and  state  elections.  As  he  reflects  on  his  own  political  career  the   narrative  then  follows  suit  and  dips  into  a  past  replete  with  news  footage,  interviews  and   photographs,  which  occupy  the  bulk  of  the  film.  It  shows  a  younger  Koch,  a  U.S.  congressman   running  for  Mayor  at  the  end  of  the  ’70s,  asking  people  on  the  street  “How’m  I  doing?”  which   became  his  catchphrase.  He’s  an  underdog  in  the  election  but  he  wins  anyway,  and  then  the  film   follows  his  mayoralty  year  by  year,  one  crisis  after  another  while  Koch  attempts  to  drag  New   York  out  of  a  recession.     Barsky  is  skillful  at  compiling  footage  to  highlight  the  moments  where  Koch  really  shines  as  a   political  personality,  like  when  he  passed  a  bill  to  protect  gay  people  from  discrimination  in  the  


workplace; and  perhaps  his  greatest  legacy,  the  Ten-­‐Year  Housing  Plan,  an  ambitious,  multi-­‐ billion  dollar  affordable  housing  project  to  rejuvenate  the  heavily  impoverished  neighbourhoods   in  Harlem  and  the  Bronx.     Barsky  isn’t  afraid  of  exposing  the  warts  as  well:  it  covers  his  decision  to  close  down  a  hospital  in   Harlem  which  triggered  major  backlash  from  the  black  community;  his  inaction  during  the  AIDS   crisis  which  triggered  major  backlash  especially  from  the  gay  community;  and  the  huge   corruption  scandal  in  his  administration  that  led  to  his  undoing  as  Mayor.  He  is  despised  by   many,  accused  of  being  a  racist  and  an  opportunist;  and  of  course  the  answer  is  never  as  clear   and  simple  as  that.  Each  event  in  the  film  builds  up  a  picture  of  a  man  who  was  a  staunch   Democrat  all  his  life  and  by  turns  deeply  conservative,  and  ever  the  enigma.     The  film  is  unclear  on  the  nature  of  his  personal  life,  but  that  is  also  because  he  was  very   private;  he  never  married  or  had  children,  and  he  refused  to  declare  his  sexual  orientation   despite  increasing  public  pressure.  There’s  a  scene  of  him  later  in  his  life  debating  the  Ground   Zero  Mosque  with  his  family  during  Yom  Kippur,  suggesting  that  even  with  his  family  he  was  a   political  animal  to  the  core.     I’m  slightly  embarrassed  to  admit  I’d  never  even  heard  of  Ed  Koch  before  seeing  this  film.  But  I   can  say  that  while  the  film  offers  nothing  groundbreaking  in  the  documentary  genre,  the   material  itself  is  engaging  enough.  Barsky  weaves  a  good  story  out  of  Koch’s  career  and  it’s  a   pleasure  to  watch  it  unfold.     Is  Koch  Essential  TJFF  Viewing?   If  political  biographies  aren’t  your  subgenre  of  choice,  I’d  say  don’t  feel  bad  if  you  miss  this  one   or  decide  to  see  something  else  at  TJFF.  If  it  is  up  your  alley  then  by  all  means  check  it  out.  Even   if,  like  me,  you  didn’t  know  much  (or  anything)  about  Mr.  Koch.   Koch  Screening  Time   Sunday,  April  14,  2013  at  5:45pm  at  The  Bloor  Hot  Docs  Cinema    


Toronto Jewish  Film  Fest  Review:  Oma  and  Bella     April  16  –  by  Danita  Steinberg   http://thetfs.ca/2013/04/16/toronto-­‐jewish-­‐film-­‐fest-­‐review-­‐oma-­‐and-­‐bella/    

  Meet  Regina  Karolinski  and  Bella  Katz,  two  octogenarian  best  buds  who  happen  to  be  the  subject  of   the  documentary  Oma  and  Bella.  The  film  follows  them  in  their  daily  lives,  as  they  hang  out,  cook   traditional  Jewish  food,  spend  time  with  friends,  and  reminisce.   Being  Holocaust  survivors,  Regina  and  Bella  both  have  stories  worth  hearing.  There  are  so  few   survivors  still  left,  and  their  first-­‐hand  accounts  are  irreplaceable.  However,  Regina  and  Bella  talk   about  much  more  throughout  the  film:  their  husbands,  their  families,  their  friendship,  and  of  course,   food,  which  is  what  has  truly  bonded  them  over  so  many  decades  together.  These  two  women  have   a  contagious  zest  for  life.   You  will  undoubtedly  be  charmed  by  this  duo.  They  bicker  one  minute,  and  are  laughing  the  next.   They  are  true  ladies  about  town:  they  play  cards  with  their  pals,  get  their  hair  done,  and  go  for   afternoon  drinks.  There  is  never  a  dull  moment,  as  their  lives  and  personalities  are  certainly  big   enough  to  fill  the  75-­‐minute  running  time.  In  fact,  I  would  gladly  watch  another  75  minutes  of  these   two.   My  only  gripe  about  this  film  is  I  felt  like  I  needed  more  explanation  when  it  came  to  who  was  who  in   the  stories  and  photographs.  Regina  and  Bella  often  spoke  without  much  backstory,  which  is  most   likely  a  result  of  the  director  being  Regina’s  granddaughter.  That  being  said,  there  is  a  level  of   intimacy  and  comfort  that  is  also  a  result  of  the  director  being  Regina’s  granddaughter.  I’ll  take  that   trade  off  any  day.  


Is Oma  and  Bella  Essential  TJFF  Viewing?   When  it  comes  to  documentaries,  you’re  either  interested  in  the  topic  or  you’re  not.  If  Oma  and   Bella  sounds  like  your  kind  of  thing,  then  it  is  most  definitely  is,  making  it  essential  TJFF  viewing.  It  is   rare  to  see  female  friendship  portrayed  in  such  an  honest  and  caring  way,  so  this  is  a  film  to  be   treasured.  It  is  reassuring  to  know  that  friends  can  last  a  lifetime.   Oma  and  Bella  Screening  Times     Wednesday,  April  17,  2013  at  3:15  pm  at  Innis  College     Thursday,  April  18,  2013  at  4:00  pm  at  the  Sheppard  Centre    


Toronto Jewish  Film  Festival  Review:  Skin  Deep   APRIL  17,  2013  –  BY  WILL  BROWNRIDGE http://thetfs.ca/2013/04/17/toronto-jewish-film-festival-review-skin-deep/ Pich  decides  to  display  his  love  for  his   girlfriend  Malka  by  getting  a  heart  tattoo   with  her  name  in  it.  He  heads  over  to  her   house  to  surprise  her,  but  walks  in  to  find   her  having  sex  with  another  man.   Heartbroken,  and  feeling  rather  dumb  for   getting  a  tattoo,  Pich  heads  to  the  local  bar.   That  evening  he  meets  a  girl,  also  named   Malka,  and  the  two  strike  up  a  conversation.   Pich  is  instantly  in  love  again,  but  will  Malka  

ever feel  the  same  way  about  him?   Skin  Deep  takes  the  simple  idea  of  a  man  searching  for  love,  and  injects  it  with  plenty  of  humour  and   quirkiness.  Pich  is  a  normal  enough  guy,  but  the  world  around  him  is  full  of  oddball  characters.  This  is   only  exaggerated  by  a  local  competition  for  strange  talents.  Pich’s  co-­‐worker  plans  to  breath  fire  and   burn  dolls,  their  local  bartender  smashes  bottles  on  his  head,  and  the  town  barber/magician  plans  to   wow  the  crowd  with  his  magic.  Into  this  world  steps  Malka.   While  Pich  is  instantly  head  over  heels,  Malka  is  less  interested.  After  spending  an  evening  together,   Malka  reveals  what  she  dreams  of,  which  leads  Pich  directly  to  the  talent  competition  in  an  attempt   to  win  her  heart.  His  act  is  hilarious,  and  shows  that  love  can  make  people  do  just  about  anything.   Great  humour,  and  chemistry  between  the  two  lead  characters,  makes  Skin  Deep  a  short,  but   worthwhile  film.   Is  Skin  Deep  Essential  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival  Viewing?   Not  only  is  Skin  Deep  funny,  but  it’s  free  as  part  of  a  discussion  with  director  Etgar  Keret.  There’s  no   reason  to  miss  the  hilarious,  and  fascinating,  presentation.   Skin  Deep  Screening  Times   Thursday,  April  18,  2013  at  12:30  pm  at  Innis  College  


A look  at  TJFF  2013   BY  JANIS  SEFTEL   – APRIL  11,  2013POSTED  IN:  FILM  FESTIVALS,  MOVIE  NEWS,  MOVIES   HTTP://WWW.CRITICIZETHIS.CA/2013/04/A-­‐LOOK-­‐AT-­‐TJFF-­‐2013.HTML    

The  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival  is  always  an  exceptional    week  in  the  city’s  cultural  calendar,   with  so  much  ante  being  upped  that  other  fests  have  their  work  cut  out  for  them  in  the  months   ahead.  The  2013  program  book  heralds  the  beginning  of  spring  with  its’  simple  and  clever   “Holywood”  beaming  from  a  vivid  blue  sky.  Reclaiming  film  as  the  forte  of  the  Jews?  Sure,  it’s  a   big  call,  but  the  best  thing  about  the  TJFF  is  that  their  professionalism  runs  alongside  their  sense   of  humour.  They’ve  made  a  name  for  themselves  in  the  city  for  intelligent,  relevant  and  cutting-­‐ edge  programming  that  doesn’t  take  itself  too  seriously…  kind  of  refreshing,  and  ultimately   making  for  a  very  accessible  festival.     So  here  are  five  good  picks  for  the  film-­‐frazzled  among  us…  FYI,  several  feature-­‐length  films  are   screened  with  fantastic  shorts:  bonus!  There’s  also  some  great  curated  program  streams  like   “Spotlight  on  Africa”,  “Israel  @  65”,  “Funny  Jews”  (a  shorts  series)  and  “REEL  Ashkenaz”  to  help   you  make  decisions  around  topics/themes.    


TJFF at  21   By  Dork  Shelf  |  April  11,  2013   http://dorkshelf.com/tag/toronto-­‐jewish-­‐film-­‐festival-­‐2013/  

Mazel  Tov,  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival!  If  you  were  American  you  would  be  old  enough  to  drink   in  this  your  21st  year  of  bringing  the  finest  (and  really  not  always  holiest)  films  from  people  and   subjects  of  Jewish  interest  to  Toronto!  Expanding  to  four  locations  this  year  with  the  new   addition  of  the  theatre  at  the  Royal  Ontario  Museum  ,  the  festival  is  poised  to  be  bigger  than   ever.  Here  is  a  look  at  just  a  small  amount  of  the  numerous  films  and  shorts  playing  out  across   the  festival,  kicking  off  tonight  (Thursday,  April  11th)  through  Sunday,  April  21st.   For  a  full  list  of  films,  programmes,  information,  and  so  much  more,  visit  the  extremely   comprehensive  festival  website  at  tjff.com.    

  Cowjews  and  Indians:  How  Hitler  Scared  My  Relatives  and  I  Woke  Up  in  an  Iroquois  Longhouse   –  Owing  the  Mohawks  Rent     This  year’s  TJFF  kicks  off  with  a  documentary  that’s  far  more  interesting  in  concept  than  in   execution.  Director  Mark  Halberstadt  initially  set  out  to  demand  from  the  German  government   that  the  land  that  was  taken  from  his  Jewish  family  during  World  War  II  be  given  back  to  them  as   reparations.  Sensing  his  own  hypocrisy,  he  remembers  that  his  mother  –  and  the  place  where  he   grew  up  in  upstate  New  York  –  resides  on  land  seized  originally  from  Native  Americans  that  are   also  deserving  of  similar  reparations.  With  several  Native  American  leaders  in  tow,  Mark  returns  


to the  hamlet  of  Altenstadt,  Germany  asking  that  the  money  just  be  paid  directly  to  the  Native   Americans  instead.     It’s  not  that  Halberstadt  doesn’t  have  a  good  story  or  that  he  isn’t  making  an  interesting   argument  (the  parallels  between  treatment  of  Indians  and  Jews  at  the  hands  of  the  Catholic   church  are  particularly  telling),  but  he’s  just  not  that  good  of  a  filmmaker.  The  results  are   scattershot  and  more  often  than  not,  repetitive.  There’s  about  40  minutes  of  good  material  here   dragged  out  to  93,  and  quite  needlessly  since  he  feels  the  need  to  underline  and  highlight  the   same  points  over  and  over  again  to  a  point  where  it  becomes  tiresome  to  listen  to.  And  it’s  a   shame  because  buried  within  the  film  is  a  pretty  interesting  and  great  story.  (Andrew  Parker)   Screens   Thursday,  April  11th,  8:30pm,  Bloor  Hot  Docs  Cinema       The  Cutoff  Man   Facing  the  prospect  of   unemployment,  Gabi  (Moshe  Ivgy)   reluctantly  takes  a  job  cutting  off   the  water  supply  of  people  who   can’t  pay  their  bills.  The  job  is   treacherous  and  openly  vilified  as   Gabi  frequently  becomes  the  victim   of  their  rage,  suffering  verbal  and   physical  abuse.  His  only  solace  is  his   son  who  dreams  of  becoming  a  professional  soccer  player  in  order  to  avoid  joining  the  army.     The  Cuttoff  Man  is  the  study  of  a  man  forced  to  provide  for  his  family  by  depriving  others.  The   only  job  that  Gabi  can  get  is  this  terrible  paying  bane  of  most  other’s  existence.  Moshe  Ivgy  is   excellent  as  the  put  upon  Gabi,  never  standing  completely  upright  and  proud  unless  he  is   watching  his  son  play  soccer.  His  trial  and  tribulations  make  up  the  meandering  narrative  and   the  film  is  more  ‘slice  of  life’  than  a  standard  tree  act  scripted  affair.  Ivgy  is  more  than  prepared   to  shoulder  the  load  here.  The  rest  of  the  characters  outside  of  Gabi’s  family  are  mere   pedestrians  in  the  story  as  Gabi’s  focus  remains  constant.   Things  slowly  start  to  unravel  as  an  incident  threatens  the  future  of  Gabi’s  son  and  well-­‐being,   but  by  the  end  the  film  delivers  a  satisfying  portrayal  of  the  perseverance  and  strength  that   someone  desperate  to  provide  for   his  own  family  must  exhibit  merely   to  survive.  (Kirk  Haviland)     Screens   Friday,  April  12th,  3:15pm,  Cineplex   Odeon  Sheppard  Cinemas   Monday,  April  15th,  2:45pm,  Innis   College       Neil  Diamond:  Solitary  Man   Neil  Diamond:  Solitary  Man  is  a  slick   documentary  chronicling  the  famed   singer  songwriter’s  success  story  


from a  shy  Jewish  Brooklyn  kid  to  a  magnetic  stage  performer  sometimes  called  the  “Jewish   Elvis”.     Produced  originally  for  the  BBC,  director  Samantha  Peters  takes  us  through  his  life  and  times   with  relative  ease  and  manages  to  condense  a  fair  bit  of  information  into  the  film’s  short   running  time.    It’s  every  bit  an  authorized  biography  with  extended  interview  clips  featuring  the   man  himself,  as  well  as  plenty  of  music  and  archival  performances.     It’s  hardly  a  shocking  expose  of  the  man’s  life  and  times,  as  his  relationships  with  his  two  ex-­‐ wives  and  children  are  simply  glossed  over.  There’s  also  some  aspects  and  his  creative  career   that  it  would  be  interesting  to  see  more  of,  particularly  the  recording  of  his  iconic  live  album  Hot   August  Night    and  his  recent  work  with  producer  Rick  Rubin  that  put  him  back  at  the  top  of  the   charts.    Instead  the  film  simply  skims  the  surface  of  his  long  list  of  accomplishments  for   adequate  yet  still  entertaining  results.     This  free  screening  that  will  also  feature  a  performance  from  the  appropriately  named  The  Hot   August  Nights.    (Dave  Voigt)     Screens   Saturday,  April  13th,  7:00pm,  Innis  College     Poisoned   Short  in  length,  but  huge  in  laughs  and   overall  grotesquery,  Didi  Lubetzki’s   Israeli  zombie  comedy  cribs  gleefully   and  wisely  from  some  of  the  all  time   genre  greats,  but  never  at  the   disservice  of  a  winning  story  and   probably  the  most  sympathetic  figure   of  its  kind  since  Simon  Pegg  wasted   stitches  with  a  cricket  bat.     Looked  down  upon  by  his  peers  for   never  being  able  to  measure  up  to  his   war  hero  father,  Danny  Aharonivitch  (David  Shaul)  works  as  a  janitor  at  a  military  base  trying  his   best  to  stay  out  of  everyone’s  way.  A  bad  batch  of  vaccines  delivered  by  the  woman  of  his   dreams  ends  up  turning  almost  everyone  on  the  base  into  cannibalistic  zombies,  adding  up  to  a   Passover  they  won’t  soon  forget.     Gleefully  gory  and  filthy  minded,  Lubetzki  wisely  cribs  more  from  action  films  like  Die  Hard  and   Assault  on  Precinct  13  than  every  zombie  film  ever  made.  It  makes  the  eventual  jokes  feel  a  lot   fresher,  and  the  claustrophobic  nature  of  the  film  brings  out  more  sympathy  for  an  already   likable  lead.  It  could  stand  to  be  a  little  longer  than  50  minutes,  but  it’s  debatable  if  the  added   length  would  really  bring  much  to  the  table  other  than  padding.  It  feels  pretty  great  as   is.  (Andrew  Parker)     Screens   Saturday,  April  13th,  10:00pm,  Innis  Town  Hall  (preceded  by  Cats  on  a  Pedal  Boat)  


Cats on  a  Pedal  Boat     Cats  on  a  Pedal  Boat  is  a  pleasant   surprise  to  say  the  least.  This  ultra  low   budget  comedy/  fantasy/  horror  from   Israel  makes  up  what  it  lacks  in   production  value  with  a  wealth  of   humour  and  creativity.     Set  in  1994,  perhaps  to  complement  its   low-­‐fi  aesthetic,  Cats  turns  the  bedtime   story  motif  on  its  head  by  having  the   yarn  spun  by  a  grandson  tired  of  hearing  the  same  old  stories  from  his  grandfather.  Looking  very   much  like  I  did  in  1994  (prepubescent  chubby  kid  w/  long  hair  and  oversized  heavy  metal  t-­‐ shirts),  Yotam  is  at  that  awkward  age  between  being  a  kid  and  a  teenager,  making  him  a   conscious  observer  of  the  adult  world.  In  the  opening  scene  of  the  film  he  engages  four  bullies   who  turn  on  him  and  are  about  to  steal  his  skateboard  before  a  young  couple  comes  to  his  aid.   The  story  he  then  concocts  revolves  around  the  young  couple  attempting  a  romantic  afternoon   on  a  pedal  boat  that  gets  interrupted  by  carnivorous  radioactive  cats  dwelling  just  beneath  the   surface  of  the  water.     The  funniest  bits  come  from  the  bullies  once  they’ve  entered  Yotam’s  story  as  a  ragtag  team  of   ‘Sea  Scouts’  commissioned  to  help  the  couple.  An  outrageous  comedy  that  owes  a  lot  to   American  schlock  yet  brings  with  it  its  own  unique  charm,  Cats  on  a  Pedal  Boat  is  like  that   student  film  that  the  rest  of  the  class  wishes  they’d  made.  It  brings  a  bit  of  midnight  movie   charm  to  this  year’s  festival,  and  it’s  definitely  slotted  appropriately  in  the  line-­‐up  to  do   so.  (Noah  Taylor)     Screens   Saturday,  April  13th,  10:00pm,  Innis  Town  Hall  (Screens  with  Poisoned)       A  Universal  Language     In  its  World  Premiere  screening,  director   Igal  Hecht  takes  us  to  the  homeland  in  A   Universal  Language.    It’s  a  story  led  by  Yuk   Yuk’s  founder  Mark  Breslin  and  six   Canadian  stand-­‐up  comedians.  Jews  and   non-­‐Jews  alike  tour  the  Holy  Land  of   Israel,  Palestine  and  the  surrounding   areas,  eager  to  perform  their  material  in   new  surroundings  and  bridge  potential   cultural  gap.  It  isn’t  long  before  they’re  up   against  religious,  cultural  and  political   sensitivities  very  different  from  what  they’re  accustomed  to.     Basically  a  PR  stunt  film  for  Yuk  Yuk’s,  it’s  at  the  very  least  an  interesting  one,  as  we  see  how   comedy,  particularly  the  ethnic  kind,  plays  there  as  opposed  to  here.    These  comics  connect  with  


their surroundings  it’s  and  react  in  different  ways  to  being  on  the  other  side  of  the   globe.    Sometimes  their  jokes  work  and  sometimes  they  don’t,  but  the  film  is  ultimately  a   chronicle  of  how  the  performance  artists  constantly  have  to  evolve  and  adapt.     Hecht  runs  though  the  material  at  break  neck  speed,  but  there’s  ample  opportunity  to  see  each   of  the  performers  and  Breslin  himself  have  their  own  reactions  to  the  social  differences  and   sometimes  monumental  historical  significance  of  some  of  the  places  that  they’re  visiting,   underlining  just  how  certain  jokes  won’t  play  all  that  well.     It’s  a  decent  fly  on  the  wall  type  social  experiment  and  some  kudos  are  deserved  because  as  the   old  saying  goes  you  never  know  until  you  try,  and  they  add  an  entirely  new  context  to  the  word   “bombing”  in  that  part  of  the  world.  (Dave  Voigt)     Screens   Sunday,  April  14th,  8:30pm,  Bloor  Hot  Docs  Cinema       The  Two  Faces  of  Auschwitz   This  documentary  is  the   incredible  story  of  two  albums   filled  with  photographs  taken  at   Auschwitz-­‐Birkenau  in  May   1944.  One  was  recovered  in   2007  from  an  SS  officer  and   contains  photographs  depicting   moments  of  leisure  enjoyed  by   officers  responsible  for  the   camp,  while  the  other  shows   the  arrival  of  Hungarian  Jews  a   few  hours  before  most  of  them   would  be  executed.  When   Auschwitz  is  liberated,  a  young   Jewish  girl  discovers  this  latter  album  and  finds  that  it  contains  images  of  her  now-­‐deceased   family  members.     Told  entirely  through  archival  interviews,  personal  journals,  photos,  film  and  news  reels,  The   Two  Faces  of  Auschwitz  can  hardly  be  described  as  entertainment.  Dense  and  sombre  it’s  filled   with  knowledge  that  in  some  cases  has  only  fully  come  to  light  in  the  last  6  years  since  the   discovery  of  the  SS  officer’s  photo  album  and  journal.  The  film  moves  from  the  camps,  with  very   detailed  descriptions  of  mass  exterminations  and  camp  conditions,  up  to  the  trials  of  the  officers   conducted  years  later  and  a  archived  interview  of  the  survivor  responsible  for  protecting  and   keeping  the  ‘occupants’  photo  album  Lili  Jacob.     The  film  feels  more  like  a  history  lesson  than  a  piece  of  entertainment,  a  television  special  as   opposed  to  feature  documentary.  But  there  is  no  denying  the  imagery  on  screen  is  profoundly   moving.    (Kirk  Haviland)   Screens   Monday,  April  15th,  1:00pm,  Innis  Town  Hall   Friday,  April  19th,  2:00pm,  Cineplex  Odeon  Sheppard  Cinemas  


Oma &  Bella   It  played  last  year  at  Hot  Docs,  but   this  charmer  returns  to  the  city  for  a   rightful  second  go  around  that’s  as   moving  as  it  is  potentially  hunger   inducing.   Director  ALexa  Karolinski  travels  to   Berlin  to  spend  time  with  her  elderly   grandmother,  Regina,  and  her  best   friend,  Bella,  as  they  reminisce   about  their  friendship  and  their  lost   years  during  to  the  Holocaust,  often   while  cooking  traditional  Jewish   dishes  or  out  on  the  town.   It’s  a  very  simple  concept  and  it  really  is  for  the  most  part  just  two  people  talking  to  each  other   or  to  the  director,  but  these  women  have  a  lot  of  heart  and  wit,  and  their  stories  are  absorbing   and  touching.  Also,  the  food  looks  fantastic.  (Andrew  Parker)   Screens   Wednesday,  April  17th,  3:15pm,   Innis  Town  Hall   Thursday,  April  18th,  4:00pm,   Cineplex  Odeon  Sheppard  Cinemas     Roman  Polanski:  A  Film  Memoir     In  2009,  Andrew  Braunsberg,   producer,  collaborator  and  friends   through  thick  and  thin  with  Roman   Polanski,  approached  the  Swiss   abode  where  the  acclaimed  director   was  under  house  arrest.  He  says  to   the  camera  that  he  and  Roman  are  going  to  have  a  conversation,  “and  whatever  happens,   happens.”  That’s  usually  preluded  to  an  interview  gone  wrong,  or  one  full  of  drama,  contempt   and  closed  doors.  Such  is  not  at  all  the  case  with  Roman  Polanski:  A  Film  Memoir,  a  filmed   interview  full  of  closed  doors,  but  the  sensation  that  no  one  even  wiggled  the  handles.     In  the  universe  of  film  there  are  few  directors  who  have  suffered  as  much  tragedy  and  trouble  as   Roman  Polanski.  Responsible  for  some  of  the  greatest  films  and  one  of  the  most  troubling  affairs   in  Hollywood.  Victim  to  one  of  the  most  infamous  crimes  and  one  of  the  most  horrendous  wars.   In  this  casual  chat  with  Andy,  he  recalls  each  chapter,  some  more  intimately  than  others.   The  murder  of  his  wife  Sharon  Tate,  for  which  he  was  across  an  ocean  during,  and  his  surreal   war  torn  childhood  in  Poland,  are  the  best  illustrated,  the  latter  feeding  directly  into  The  Pianist,   the  most  discussed  film,  not  to  mention  bringing  Roman  to  tears.  His  infamous  hang-­‐ups  with   the  law  are  more  explained  than  explored,  and  given  that  this  was  filmed  when  he  awaited   possible  extradition  to  the  States,  it  may  have  been  a  touchy  subject  (we  all  wanted  to  hear   about).    


Static, ungracefully  editing  with  fade  cuts  and  devoid  of  criticism  (which  isn’t  that  shocking  since   it’s  largely  directed  by  Spielberg  protégée  and  frequent  EPK  creator  Laurent  Bouzereau),  A  Film   Memoir  is  a  bit  too  friendly.  That’s  not  to  say  it  isn’t  intimate.  It  should  make  for  some   interesting  background  material  for  Polanski  fans.  (Zack  Kotzer)   Screens   Wednesday,  April  17th,  4:00pm,  Cineplex  Odeon  Sheppard  Cinemas   Sunday,  April  21st,  3:15pm,  Innis  Town  Hall     God’s  Neighbours   An  undeniably  powerful  and   suspenseful  drama,  Meni  Yaesh’s   film  about  a  gang  of  thugs  who  hide   proudly  behind  their  religion  went   over  very  well  at  Cannes  and  the   Israeli  equivalent  of  the  Oscars  last   year  and  with  great  reason.  It’s  a   genre  film  that  holds  a  mirror  up  to   some  very  hard  to  broach  topics   including  what  actually  defines   becoming  an  adult  and  how  cultural   identity  plays  into  personal   development.     In  many  respects  Yeash  evokes  Scorsese  in  some  of  the  best  possible  ways.  This  story  of  several   extremely  proud,  young  Jewish  men  that  have  taken  it  upon  themselves  to  protect  their  block   and  it’s  religious  dignity  at  any  cost  isn’t  that  far  removed  thematically  from  anything  one  would   find  in  a  film  about  the  Irish  or  Italian  mafia  or  even  from  an  urban  American  crime  saga  in   modern  day.  The  emphasis  is  place  squarely  where  it  should  be:  on  how  identity  shapes   perception  and  humility.     Things  take  a  turn  to  the  unpredictable  when  the  group’s  leader  gets  sweet  on  a  non-­‐religious   girl  that  his  boys  look  down  on,  but  the  real  thrust  here  comes  from  the  contradiction  of  the   group  itself.  They  are  as  westernized  as  can  be  despite  busting  up  bootleggers,  shaking  down   store  owners  for  opening  on  the  Shabbat,  or  calling  out  immodestly  dressed  women.  They  think   they  are  old  school,  but  they  aren’t  cognizant  of  how  they’ve  been  moulded  into  something   different  and  almost  equally  unholy.  It’s  an  electric  film  to  watch  and  ponder  over.  (Andrew   Parker)   Screens   Wednesday,  April  17th,  8:30pm,   Cineplex  Odeon  Sheppard  Cinemas   Saturday,  April  20th,  9:15pm,  Bloor   Hot  Docs  Cinema     An  American  Tail   Yes.  This  is  a  film  that’s  showing   during  this  year’s  TJFF  as  a  free   screening,  and  if  you  have  seen  it,   you’ll  know  very  well  why  I  need  to  talk  about  it  and  probably  why  it’s  such  a  great  fit  for  the  


festival. If  you  haven’t,  you  should  probably  hurry  out  and  see  one  of  the  most  touching,   intense,  and  thoughtful  animated  films  to  come  out  in  the  last  40  years  and  the  crowning   achievement  in  the  career  of  master  animator  Don  Bluth  and  one  of  the  best  Steven  Spielberg   productions  of  the  1980s.  That  says  quite  a  bit  right  there.     Young  Fievel  Mousekewitz  is  a  Jewish  mouse  forced  to  flee  with  his  family  from  their  homeland   in  Russia  due  to  an  invasion  of  cats.  They  make  their  way  to  America  where  there  supposedly   aren’t  any,  and  the  young  Fievel  becomes  separated  from  his  family  in  a  harsh  and  uncaring  city.     A  shockingly  thorough  retelling  of  the  immigrant  experience,  Bluth’s  film  all  but  traumatized   youngsters  while  enthralling  them  at  the  same  time.  Next  to  Brad  Bird’s  The  Iron  Giant,  it  might   be  the  most  underrated  animated  film  in  the  history  of  the  medium.  Bluth’s  mantra  when  it   came  to  making  films  for  kids  was  that  they  could  handle  anything  as  long  as  you  reassure  them   that  everything  will  be  fine  at  the  end.  This  is  a  film  showcasing  his  work  at  its  most  poignant,   and  any  time  it  plays  somewhere  it’s  reason  enough  to  take  note  and  celebrate.  (Andrew   Parker)   Screens   Saturday,  April  20th,  2:00pm,  Innis  Town  Hall     Hava  Nagila  (The  Movie)   If  you  had  told  me  that  the  funniest   and  most  interesting  film  I  would   have  watched  from  this  year’s   festival  would  have  been  an   examination  of  the  most  prevalent   Jewish  folk  song  ever  created,  I   probably  would  have  looked  at  you   like  you  had  two  heads.  Yet,  this   year’s  closing  night  film  is  about  just   that  and,  well,  here  we  are  with   probably  the  biggest  delight  of  the   festival.     Roberta  Grossman  tracks  the  origins  and  roots  of  the  biggest  Jewish  hit  to  ever  get  a  party   started  from  it’s  Eastern  Russian  origins  as  a  reminder  to  be  happy  to  better  serve  God,  through   more  modern  day  ownership  over  who  actually  created  it,  and  through  the  eyes  of  some  of  the   most  famous  performers  to  ever  make  a  hit  out  of  it  (Regina  Spektor,  Harry  Belafonte,  Glen   Campbell),  the  film  is  more  than  just  a  simple  origin  story.  It’s  a  really  engrossing  pop  culture   history  lesson  the  likes  of  which  don’t  come  around  very  often.  It  even  goes  into  how  the  song   found  its  way  into  the  60s  Civil  Rights  movement  and  takes  a  really  loving  look  on  how  some   comedians  appropriated  the  song  as  a  joke  shortly  thereafter.     And  did  I  mention  that  more  often  than  not,  it’s  laugh  out  loud  hilarious?  That’s  something   that’s  very  hard  for  any  doc  –  let  alone  a  specifically  ethnic  one  with  an  extremely  narrow  focal   point  –  to  pull  off.    It’s  a  charming  blend  of  the  academic  and  the  silly  and  a  great  way  to  cap  off   the  festival  on  a  really  high  note.  (Andrew  Parker)   Screens   Sunday,  April  21st,  8:00pm,  Bloor  Hot  Docs  Cinema  


TORONTO JEWISH  FILM  FESTIVAL  2013  -­‐  Reviews  By  Greg   Klymkiw  -­‐  2  absolute  must-­‐see  events  at  TJFF  2013:  Jerry  Lewis   in  THE  JAZZ  SINGER  +  COWJEWS  AND  INDIANS   http://klymkiwfilmcorner.blogspot.ca/2013/04/toronto-­‐jewish-­‐film-­‐festival-­‐2013.html  

FILM. IT'S  WHAT  JEWS   DO  BEST.   By  Greg  Klymkiw  


FILM. IT'S  WHAT  JEWS  DO  BEST.     When  I  first  saw  this  brilliant  tagline  for  the  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival  (TJFF),  I  let  out  a  huge   guffaw  of  recognition  and  appreciation.  In  fact,  whenever  those  delightful  words  dance  across   my  memory  banks,  they  bring  a  warm  smile  to  my  face.     Why?     IT'S  SO  TRUE!!!  (Apologies  to  any  Jews  who  deign  NOT  to  make  movies,  though  the  exception  to   this  rule  are  those  Jews  who  make  and/or  purvey  deli.)     And  while  there  are  plenty  of  Goyim  who  can  spin  a  great  yarn  cinematically,  we   must  never  forget  that  Hollywood  and  the  entire  notion  of  the  "American  Dream"  were  both   invented  by  Jews.  (If  you  don't  know  this,  you  need  to  read  Neal  Gabler'sHollywoodism  or  see   Simcha  Jacobovici's  film  version.)     The  aformentioned  TJFF  tag  almost  goes  without  saying,  but  SAY,  WE  MUST!!!     This  year's  21st  edition  of  the  festival  (running  April  11-­‐21)  has  a  fine  mix  of  Jewish  pictures  in   every  genre  and  I  urge  Jew  and  Goy  alike  to  smuggle  in  some  Centre  Street  Deli  smoked  meat   (heavy  fat,  of  course)  &  plenty  of  Nortown  kishka  to  nosh  while  over-­‐indulging  in  more   cinematic  Jewish  treats  than  you  can  shake  a  stick  at.     Here  are  two  highlights:   THE  JAZZ  SINGER  dir.  Ralph  Nelson   (1959)  ****     Samson  Raphaelson's  classic  tale  of  a  young   man  who  chooses  show  business  over   following  in  his  father's  footsteps  as  a  cantor   has  always  been  best  represented  by  the  truly   great  Al  Jolson  film  version  that  launched   "talkies."  (And  whilst  I  LOVE  Neil  Diamond's   stab  at  the  tale,  Jolson  is,  was  and  will,   forevermore,  be  untouchable  in  the  role.)     That  changes  now.     During  television's  "Golden  Age",  Jerry  Lewis   starred  in  this  adaptation  for  the  variety  series   "Startime"  on  NBC.  Given  straight-­‐forward   treatment  by  stalwart  camera  jockey  Ralph   Nelson,  this  might  be  my  favourite  hot  tip  for   the  entire  TJFF.  For  me,  the  medium  of   television  has  NEVER  been  better  than  this   magical  age  and  Startime's  production  of  The   Jazz  Singer  is  a  solid  example  of  why.  


I always  loved  Lewis  and  ALWAYS  thought  of  him  as  a  great  actor  -­‐  period.  Too  many  people   singled  him  out  as  a  "mere"  comedian  which  frankly,  is  unfair  and  disparaging  to  the  art  of   acting  and  the  genre  of  comedy.  One  look  at  Lewis  in  his  best  comedies  -­‐  The  Nutty  Professor,   for  example  -­‐  and  you  bear  witness  to  one  of  cinema's  most  astounding  talents.     The  Jazz  Singer  was  recently  discovered  and  restored  to  its  original  pristine  and  historic  colour   version  (as  opposed  to  the  black  and  white  kinescope  uaed  mainly  for  re-­‐broadcast  purposes).   The  film  not  only  opens  a  window  upon  another  age  of  entertainment  styles,  but  allows  us  to   see  Lewis  in  what  should  have  been  the  role  of  a  lifetime,  but  had  sadly  been  ignored  and/or   forgotten.  He  will  delight,  amuse  and  move  you  to  tears.     The  supporting  cast  includes  fine  performances  from  Eduard  Franz,  Alan  Reed,  Anna  Maria   Alberghetti  and  MOLLY  PICON!!!  MOLLY  PICON,  ladies  and  gentleman!!!  (Apologies  for  these   superlatives,  but  MOLLY  PICON  always  deserves  superlatives.)     This  is  a  must-­‐see!  How  can  you  go  wrong?  It  stars  Jerry  Lewis  in  a  rarely  seen  production  and   features  Molly  Picon.     Does  it  get  any  better  than  this?     But.  of  course.   Admission  is  FREE!!!   CowJews  and   Indians  dir.  Marc   Halberstadt   (2012)  ***     If  you're  able  to   ignore  the  clunky   filmmaking  (dull   shooting,  rudimentary   cutting),  the  subject  matter  of  this  strange  hybrid  of  personal  documentary  and  activist  cinema   will  keep  you  glued  to  the  screen.     Try  to  avoid  reading  any  reviews  (except  mine)  and  program  notes  BEFORE  you  see  this  one.  The   title  should  be  enough  to  lure  you.  The  movie  is  best  experienced  knowing  as  little  in  advance  as   possible.     In  a  nutshell,  you'll  experience  a  fascinating  journey  that  involves  reparations  for  a  Jew  and   Aboriginal  Americans  -­‐  working  together  in  tandem  to  address  wrongs  they  both  share.  It  will   inform,  educate,  surprise  and  delight.     It  probably  could  ONLY  have  been  made  by  Halberstadt,  but  I  do  wish  he'd  been  able  to  present   his  tale  with  a  first-­‐rate  creative  producer  at  the  helm.     For  tickets  and  more  information  on  the  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival  click  HERE  


American Masters  Review  -­‐  Joe  Papp  in  Five   Acts  (2010)   Thursday, 4 April 2013 http://www.flickeringmyth.com/2013/04/american-masters-review-joe-papp-in.html For those attending the 2013 Toronto Jewish Film Festival, they will be able to see the documentary Joe Papp in Five Acts (2010) which is to be aired as part of the PBS series American Masters back in 2010. The story is as educational as the man who decided to bring the plays of William Shakespeare to the masses by orchestrating free stage performances. “I believe that great art is for everyone--not just the rich or the middle class," stated Papp. "When I go into East Harlem or Bedford-Stuyvesant and see the kids who come to see our shows, I see nothing so clearly as myself.” Not only did the theatre company on wheels entertain audience members it also proved to be a fertile training ground for developing actors, playwrights, and future Broadway productions. The multi-tasking duo of Tracie Holder and Karen Thorsen who produced, directed and wrote the project have assembled a high profile cast of former performers who have gone on to become Oscar winners and nominees such as Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady), Kevin Kline (A Fish Called Wanda), Christopher Walken (The Deer Hunter), Olympia Dukakis (Moonstruck), and James Earl Jones (The Great White Hope) as well as Martin Sheen (Apocalypse Now), Mandy Patinkin (Homeland), and Ntozake Shange (For Colored Girls). Television interviews have been inserted to allow Joseph Papp who died in 1991 an opportunity to give voice to his passionate pursuit of theatrical excellence which led to the making of Broadway hits Hair and A Chorus Line but also resulted in four marriages and him being a neglectful father to his own children. Joe Papp in Five Acts is in fact constructed in five segments with each beginning with a Shakespearean quote, four of which are spoken by Kevin Kline; the life-long exploration takes a linear path of discovery from the poverty of childhood to the theatrical legend having to fatally deal with the prostate cancer and the death of his son Tony from AIDS. The well-constructed and researched documentary certainly deserves the opportunity to be rediscovered like Papp himself. Joe Papp in Five Acts will be receiving two screenings at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival with the first being April 15, 2013 @ 6:45 pm at Innis College and the second April 16, 2013 @ 4 pm at Sheppard 5.  


Canadian comics,  including  Yuk  Yuk’s  founder   Mark  Breslin,  bring  their  acts  to  Israel   City  Centre  Mirror   ByJustin  Skinner   http://www.insidetoronto.com/news-­‐story/2522490-­‐canadian-­‐comics-­‐including-­‐yuk-­‐yuk-­‐s-­‐ founder-­‐mark-­‐breslin-­‐bring-­‐their-­‐acts-­‐to-­‐israel/    

Standup comedy  can  be  a  tough  gig  at  the  best  of  times.  Performing  in  a  foreign  country  while  trying  to   absorb  the  culture  and  overcome  some  innate  differences  can  make  it  that  much  more  difficult.     That  did  not  stop  Yuk  Yuk’s  founder  and  Canadian  comedy  icon  Mark  Breslin  from  taking  six  comedians  on   a  tour  of  Israel  where  they  performed  to  largely  supportive  –  but  sometimes  decidedly  less-­‐than-­‐ enthusiastic  –  crowds.     The  tour  was  captured  in  the  documentary  A  Universal  Language,  which  will  be  screened  at  the  upcoming   Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival.    


“I thought  a  tour  of  Israel  was  a  great  idea,”  Breslin  said  of  the  tour.  “I  went  to  the  Israeli  Consulate  and   (the  Centre  for  Israel  and  Jewish  Affairs)  and  everybody  had  a  nice  response  to  it,  but  it  didn’t  really  excite   them.”     That  changed  when  filmmaker  Igal  Hecht  signed  on  to  document  the  tour.   “It  changed  from  six  people  coming  back  from  Israel  and  saying  ‘What  a  nice  country’  to  thousands,   hundreds  of  thousands,  maybe  millions  of  people  seeing  a  film  about  the  tour,”  Breslin  said.     In  addition  to  following  the  comics  around  to  gigs,  the  film  features  travelogue-­‐style  moments,   showcasing  the  culture  and  beauty  of  Israel.     Breslin,  who  lives  in  the  South  Hill  area,  was  adamant  the  comics  not  censor  or  temper  their  material.   While  most  of  their  material  consisted  of  tried  and  tested  routines  they  had  mastered  in  Canada,  the   comics  based  some  of  their  material  on  their  experiences  in  Israel.  They  were,  however,  careful  not  to   wade  into  political  dialogue.     “Who  are  we,  a  group  of  comics  going  there  for  a  week,  to  make  jokes  about  a  very  complicated  political   situation?”  Breslin  said.     While  the  comics  were  generally  well-­‐received,  there  were  definite  stumbling  blocks.  Each  comedian  had   shows  where  they  shone  and  others  where  they  fell  flat.   “We  had  lots  of  walkouts,”  Breslin  admitted.  “Religious  people  don’t  like  it  when  you  talk  about  sex  and   drugs.”     Breslin  acknowledged  the  mixed  response  makes  the  film’s  title  somewhat  ironic,  though  he  noted  that  all   six  comics  did  well  on  the  tour  as  a  whole  and  feels  the  trip  was  definitely  worthwhile.     “I  hope  people  admire  our  pluck  for  taking  some  acts  to  represent  Canada,  Yuk  Yuk’s  and  standup   comedy,”  he  said.     While  in  Israel,  Breslin  looked  into  the  possibility  of  setting  up  a  comedy  exchange  that  would  see  Israeli   comedians  travel  to  Canada  to  perform.  Unfortunately,  he  found  the  English-­‐language  standup  comedy   scene  had  not  developed  enough  to  make  that  dream  a  reality  just  yet.   “It  will  happen,”  he  said.  “Tel  Aviv  is  a  city  of  hustlers.  It’s  a  historic  city  but  also  very  young  and  new,  so  I   think  a  lot  of  amazing  things  will  come  out  of  there.”     Breslin,  who  considers  himself  “a  cultural  Jew  but  not  a  practicing  Jew,”  had  originally  intended  to  bring   his  wife  Karina  Lemke  along  for  the  trip.  When  the  tour  took  place  later  than  expected,  life  threw  the   couple  a  curveball  –  albeit  a  pleasant  one  –  in  the  form  of  a  child.     “The  hardest  part  of  the  trip  for  me  was  being  away  from  my  little  boy  for  a  week,”  he  said.   He  was  happy  to  return  to  the  South  Hill  community  he  has  called  home  for  the  past  five  years.   “I  love  this  area  because  it’s  just  far  enough  from  downtown  to  be  peaceful  but  just  close  enough  to   downtown  to  be  convenient,”  he  said.     A  Universal  Language  will  premiere  as  part  of  the  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival  at  the  Bloor  Hot  Docs   Cinema,  506  Bloor  St.  W.  at  8:30  p.m.  Sunday,  April  14.  For  tickets  or  information,  visit  www.tjff.com  

   


Thornhill filmmaker  hopes  comedy  cure  for   Middle  East  conflict   Thornhill Liberal   BySimone Joseph

http://www.yorkregion.com/news-­‐story/2518440-­‐thornhill-­‐filmmaker-­‐hopes-­‐comedy-­‐cure-­‐for-­‐middle-­‐ east-­‐conflict/  

Beware. Thornhill  filmmaker  Igal  Hecht’s  latest  documentary  contains  dirty  jokes.  

After all,  that  is  the  point.   A  Universal  Languagefollows  six  Canadian  comedians  and  comedy  icon  Mark   Breslin  as  they  travel  to  different  venues  in  Israel.   “It  is  raunchy.  It  is  funny  —  I  hope.  It  pushes  boundaries,”  Mr.  Hecht,  35,  says.  “In   that  region,  there  needs  to  be  a  lot  more  laughter.”  


A Universal  Languagewill  have  its  world  premiere  at  the  Toronto  Jewish  Film   Festival  April  14  at  8:30  p.m.  at  the  Bloor  Cinema.   The  story  behind  the  making  of  the  film  really  begins  with  Mr.  Breslin,  Yuk  Yuk’s   founder.   He  was  shocked  when  activists  tried  to  boycott  Israeli-­‐made  films  at  the  2009   Toronto  International  Film  Festival.   A  year  later,  while  planning  a  tour  of  Israeli  comics  at  Yuk  Yuk’s  clubs  across   Canada,  Mr.  Breslin  was  reminded  that,  though  nearly  60,  he  had  never  visited   Israel.  So  he  decided  to  travel  to  the  Holy  Land  and  bring  Yuk  Yuk’s  to  Israel.   Mr.  Breslin  ended  up  leading  the  group  of  six  Canadian  comedians  on  an   uncensored  tour,  aiming  to  bridge  years  of  conflict  through  the  universal   language  of  laughter.   Comedians  include  Aaron  Berg,  Nikki  Payne,  Jean  Paul,  Sam  Easton,  Rebecca   Kohler  and  Michael  Khardas.           Mr.  Hecht,  who  directed  and  produced  the  film  with  his  company  Chutzpa   Productions,  was  born  in  Israel  and  has  lived  in  Canada  25  years.   By  watching  his  documentary,  he  hopes  people  are  exposed  to  “amazing   Canadian  talent”.   The  film  showcases  the  experiences  of  each  comic  as  he  or  she  tries  to  bring   laughter  to  the  Middle  East  while  absorbing  the  people,  history  and  culture  of  the   Holy  Land.   For  eight  days  the  cameras  documented  the  comedians.  They  toured  from  May   30  to  June  7  last  year,  performing  at  a  variety  of  venues.   While  filming  the  70-­‐minute  documentary,  Mr.  Hecht  met  everyone  from   Orthodox  Jews  to  Palestinian  comedians.  Some  Orthodox  Jews  walked  out  of  a   performance  they  thought  was  too  raunchy.  The  comedians  also  performed  at   another  venue  for  a  mainly  Palestinian  audience.   Mr.  Hecht  also  filmed  an  intensely  personal  movie  last  year  calledThe  Shtetl,   taking  his  parents  back  to  their  native  Ukraine  in  2012.  He  is  hoping  to  finish  the   film  this  year.   The  movie  is  is  about  Jews  living  under  Communist  rule,  being  a  minority  and   living  in  a  hostile  environment.   Shalom  TV  in  the  U.S.  has  expressed  interest  in  the  movie  and  Mr.  Hecht  is   hoping  Canadian  broadcasters  will  be  interested,  too.  


21st Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival  Features  Spotlight   on  Africa   Posted on 27 March 2013

http://www.theafronews.ca/2013/03/27/11440/ st

The 21  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival  presents  an  eye-­‐ opening  film  program  reflecting  on  the  diversity  of  the   African  and  Jewish  communities  commencing  April   th

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12 through  April  21  at  various  theatres  in   Toronto.    Countries  represented  include  Uganda,   Nigeria,  Cameroon  and  Northern  Ethiopia.   Film  Schedule:   April  12  –  1  PM  –  Sheppard  Centre  Cinema  3  and  April   15  –  1PM  –  Royal  Ontario  Museum   “Delicious  Peace  Grows  in  a  Ugandan  Coffee  Bean:  Toronto  premiere   Living  in  Uganda  with  lingering  intolerance  a  well  as  collapsed  coffee  prices,  struggling,  Jewish,  Christian  and  Muslin   coffee  farmers  come  together  to  form  the  Delicious  Peace  Coffee  Co-­‐operative.    Directed  by  Curt  Fissel.   April  12  –  1  PM  –  Sheppard  Centre  Cinema  and  April  15  –  1  PM  Royal  Ontario  Museum.   Honorable  Ambasador/Kyod  Hashagrir:  –  Toronto  Premiere.   Israel’s  ambassador  to  Cameroon  struggles  to  persuade  the  residents  of  rural  villages  to  adopt  new  technology  that   would  resolve  their  irrigation  difficulties.    Directed  by  Jonathan  Paz.   th

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Please note:  April  12  and  April  15  screenings  are  double  features.   April  17  –  4  PM  –  Royal  Ontario  Museum  and  April  18  –  5:15  PM  –  Sheppard  Centre  Cinema   Re-­‐Emerging:  The  Jews  of  Nigeria:    Canadian  PremiereAn  unforgettable  journey  to  Nigeria  where  the  Igbo  people,  in   researching  their  roots  and  history,  find  convincing  cultural  connections  with  Judaism.    Directed  by  Jeff  L.  Lieberman   April  19  –  1  PM  –  Sheppard  Centre  Cinema  3  and  April  21  –  1  PM    –  Royal  Ontario  Museum   400  Miles  To  Freedom:    Canadian  premiere.    Co-­‐director  Avisahi  Yeganyahu  chronicles  his  story  from  his  community   of  observant  Jews  in  Northern  Ethiopia,  his  escape  from  Africa  and  his  life  in  Israel  where  he  felt  like  an  outsider.   April  21  –  1  PM  –  Innis  Town  Hall  (2  Sussex  St.)   The  Rabbi’s  Cat:    –  An  animated  adaptation  of  Joann  Sfar’s  French  graphic  novel.    Rabbi  Sfar  lives  with  his  beautiful   daughter  and  her  talking  cat  in  pre-­‐war  Algiers.    Joined  by  a  Russian  painter  and  a  wise  old  Arab  Sheikh,  Sfar  and  the   mischievous  pet  set  out  on  a  quest  into  the  unknown  depths  of  Africa.    Directed  by  Joann  Sfar,  Antoine  Deslesvaux.   Tickets/Information  –  Main  number  to  call:    Festival  Box  Office  416.324.9121   Single  tickets  $13.00  –  Seniors/students  $9.00    –  Matinees  $8.00  –   Gala  Opening  and  Special  Presentations  –  $20.00   Advance  Tickets:    In  person:  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival  Box  Office  (basement  level)  –  19  Madison  Ave.,  Monday  –   Sunday  12PM  –  6  PM  –  NOTE:    No  Wheelchair  access  –  please  call  above  number  for  assistance  by  phone.  From   th    

March 28 to  April  11.    Then  Monday  –  Sunday  12PM  –  6  PM,   Cineplex  Odeon  Sheppard  Centre  Cinemas  –  April  1-­‐11  –  4861  Yonge  St.  (Sheppard  subway  stn.)   Monday  –  Sunday  2PM  –  6  PM  –  Sunday  –  Friday  12PM  –  6  PM  


Toronto Jewish  Film  Festival  Opens  the  21st   edition  of  the  Festival  with  "CowJews  and   Indians:  How  Hitler  Scared  My  Relatives  and  I   Woke  Up  in  an  Iroquois  Longhouse-­‐Owing  the   Mohawks  Rent"   http://www.indiantime.net/story/2013/04/04/artist-­‐spotlight/toronto-­‐jewish-­‐film-­‐festival-­‐ opens-­‐the-­‐21st-­‐edition-­‐of-­‐the-­‐festival-­‐with-­‐cowjews-­‐and-­‐indians-­‐how-­‐hitler-­‐scared-­‐my-­‐ relatives-­‐and-­‐i-­‐woke-­‐up-­‐in-­‐an-­‐iroquois-­‐longhouse-­‐owing-­‐the-­‐mohawks-­‐rent/9402.html   TORONTO  –  The  21st  annual   Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival   opens  April  11  with  “CowJews   and  Indians:  How  Hitler  Scared   My  Relatives  and  I  Woke  Up  in   an  Iroquois  Longhouse—Owing   the  Mohawks  Rent”  -­‐  a  film   about  righting  history’s   wrongs,  that’s  been  dubbed   “Borat  meets  Michael  Moore.”   TJFF  is  proud  to  kick  things  off   with  Marc  Halberstadt’s   playfully  provocative  CowJews   and  Indians.  This  sardonically   funny  film  draws  a  straight  line   between  the  meager   reparations  his  family  received   from  Germany  in  1951  for   Nazi-­‐confiscated  property,  and  the  ongoing  patchwork  of  treaties  and  outright  land  theft  that   has  been  the  legacy  of  North  American  aboriginals.    As  Halberstadt  tries  to  get  back  the  property  that  his  parents  lost  to  the  Nazis,  he  realizes  that   the  land  his  family  fled  to  and  settled  on  in  America  had  been  seized  from  Native  Americans,  to  


whom, in  fairness,  he  now  owes  65  years  of  back  rent.  Then  it  hits  him  –  why  not  let  the  Native   Americans  collect  directly  from  the  Germans?  Cut  out  the  middleman!  As  former  Mohawk  chief   Cheryl  Jacobs  says,  “I  think  Marc  is  an  idiot  for  even  coming  up  with  the  idea.”    Writer/Director  Marc  Halberstadt  and  Tekahnawiiaks  King  will  be  in  attendance  for  the  opening   night.   We  asked  Tekahnawiiaks  (Joyce  King),  Turtle  Clan,  to  talk  a  little  about  the  film  and  her  role  in  it.   IT:  How  did  you  end  up  in  the  film?   TK:  I  was  the  Administrator  for  the  Mohawk  Nation  Council  of  Chiefs.    As  part  of  my  duties,  I   assisted  other  people  getting  Indian  Time  up  and  running  again  after  Indian  Time  was  closed  for   about  eight  months.    I  would  work  as  the  MNCC  Administrator  for  four  days  and  as  the  Indian   Time  Managing  Editor  Thursday  evening,  after  hours  and  on  Friday.       So,  as  Managing  Editor,  Marc  Halberstadt  was  interested  in  finding  Native  Americans  who  would   participate  in  the  documentary.    He  hired  Aardvark  (Mathew  Herne)  to  make   introductions.    Mathew  brought  Marc  over  to  speak  with  me  as  the  Managing  Editor.    Marc   made  a  presentation  through  a  storyboard.    I  told  Marc  what  was  wrong  with  the  storyboard   because  it  stereotyped  Indians.  Later,  Marc  would  call  and  ask  questions  about  “Indians”  and  I   would  respond  to  how  the  Mohawk  Nation  would  address  topics.       Marc  grew  up  in  Malone.    He  didn’t  find  a  suitable  candidate  to  participate  in  the  film  in   Germany.    He  wanted  a  Mohawk  to  participate.    Having  never  traveled  overseas,  I  said  I  would   go  as  a  communications  specialist  to  facilitate  the  conversation  between  the  Germans  and  the   Indians  (eventually,  there  were  three  other  Indians  attending).       IT:  What  do  you  think  about  the  film,  why  should  people  see  it?   TK:  I  haven’t  seen  the  film  in  its  entirety.    People  should  see  it  because  the  idea  of  the   documentary  is  very  thought-­‐provoking  and  it  should  create  more  dialogue  in  regard  to  land  and   treaties.  Besides,  there’s  Indians  in  it!   IT:  What  role  did  you  play  in  the  film,  what  is  your  contribution?   I  was  the  Communication  Specialist.    I  had  to  work  out  details  between  the  Indians  and  the   Producer,  Marc.    However,  sometimes  I  took  the  bull  by  the  horns  and  had  to  ask  the   questions.    The  other  Indians  were  very  happy  I  took  on  this  role.  It  was  also  hard  to  carry  out   the  objectives  of  the  documentary:    we  dealt  with  issues  that  some  people  don’t  want  to  deal   with.    The  parallels  between  displacement  of  the  Jews  and  the  displacement  of  the  Indians   become  apparent  in  the  film.    There  were  some  Germans  who  didn’t  want  to  talk  about  it:  to   bury  the  past,  similar  to  the  people  in  this  area  who  said  outstanding  Indian  land  claims  are  part   of  the  past,  the  land  is  now  in  the  hands  of  other  people,  and  by  virtue  of  this  happening  a  long   time  ago,  Indians  should  give  up  their  claim  to  the  land.      German  Jews  were  given  a  pittance  for   their  land  under  duress.    Indians  in  North  America  were  given  a  pittance  for  their  land  and   signed  off  on  the  transaction  under  duress  and/or  under  unscrupulous  tactics.  


Help support  “Shalom  Bollywood:  The   Documentary”   http://reelasian.com/blog/?p=6031  

  This  past  Sunday,  I  attended  Shalom  Bollywood:  The  Untold  Story  of  Indian  Cinema  talk  at  The   Toronto  Jewish  film  festival     Director  Danny  Ben-­‐Moshe  gave  a  very  interesting  presentation  about  the  early  history  of   Bollywood  that  most  people  might  not  know  about.  Did  you  know  that  the  Indian  Jewish   community,  albeit  smaller  compared  to  other  religious  communities  in  India,  were  some  of  the   pioneers  in  building  the  country’s  cinema  landscape?  Not  only  directors  and  writers,  but  the  first   female  superstar  leading  ladies  were  also  of  Jewish    background.  Click  here  to  see  Shalom   Bollywood’s  working  trailer     The  documentary  is  still  in  progress  as  Danny  and  his  team  are  in  need  of  funding  for  the  final   stages  of  post-­‐production.  Help  support  them  by  donating  to  Shalom  Bollywood’s  crowd-­‐funding   site  here.  In  the  meantime,  you  can  also  visit  their  facebook   page  www.facebook.com/ShalomBollywood     We  can’t  wait  to  see  this  project  when  it’s  completed!  


How Jewish is your favorite film? •

TORONTO JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL | APRIL 12, 2013 | BY: LYNN FENSKE

http://www.examiner.com/article/how-­‐jewish-­‐is-­‐your-­‐favorite-­‐film-­‐1   Everyone  knows  about  radar.  But  what  about  J-­‐DAR?  It’s   the  inherent  ability  to  detect  all  things  Jewish  -­‐  a  concept   wrangled  by  the  organizers  of  the  Toronto  Jewish  Film   Festival  (TJFF)  into  a  really  cool,  interactive  website  that   evaluates  mainstream  “Hollywood”  films  according  to   their  Jewishness.     When  comedians  want  a  guaranteed  laugh  (of   recognition)  they  joke  about  how  Jewish  people  rule   Hollywood.  Now  any  film  enthusiast  can  run  with  that   idea  by  putting  their  favorite  films  to  the  J-­‐DAR  test.     Developed  by  the  creative  minds  at  DDB  Canada,  J-­‐DAR  is  an  engaging  site  launched  as  a  marketing   tool  for  the  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival  to  increase  ticket  sales  amongst  non-­‐Jewish  audiences.     “People  are  prone  to  see  us  in  a  certain  light,”  comments  Debbie  Werner,  Managing  Director  of  TJFF.   “Some  people  look  at  us  and  they  think  they  are  going  to  see  things  that  are  either  solely  religious   content  or  all  holocaust  films.  They  don’t  really  understand  the  depth  and  breadth  of  what  the   Festival  has  to  offer,  that  we  are  showing  new  films  by  emerging  filmmakers,  and  returning   filmmakers.  There  is  so  much  diversity.”   Consequently,  J-­‐DAR  is  a  thoroughly  entertaining  way  of  showing  that  there  really  is  something  for   everyone  at  TJFF.  Or  as  David  Ross,  Associate  Creative  Director,  DDB  Canada  observes,  “most  people   are  fans  ofJewish  films.  They  just  don’t  realize  it.”     In  addition  to  movie  ratings,  the  site  provides  comparisons  between  seemingly  unrelated  films,   based  on  the  algorithms  and  databases  fueling  the  site,  as  well  as  links  to  information  about  the   movies  screening  at  TJFF.  The  plan  is  to  keep  J-­‐DAR  operational  throughout  the  year,  with  new   movies  being  accessed  on  a  regular  basis.     Live  as  of  the  end  of  March,  the  site  is  quickly  becoming  the  latest  online  addiction  for  many   cinephiles.  Visitors  can  use  the  site  in  several  ways;  to  search  movies  by  title  (even  films  that  have   yet  to  be  released)  to  determine  their  J-­‐DAR  score,  to  determine  a  personal  J-­‐DAR  score  by  playing  a   game  –  an  incredibly  fast,  timed  round  of  choosing  movies  by  their  perceived  Jewishness,  or  to  view   information  about  TJFF  films  and  purchase  tickets  for  TJFF  screenings.   F.Y.I.  “Iron  Man  2”  is  19.17%  more  Jewish  than  “Iron  Man  3.”  Check  it  out.  


TJFF: The  best  little  film  fest  in  Toronto   TORONTO  JEWISH  FILM  FESTIVAL  |  APRIL  13,  2013  |  BY:  LYNN  FENSKE  

http://www.examiner.com/article/tjff-­‐the-­‐best-­‐little-­‐film-­‐fest-­‐toronto   In  a  city  that  hosts  over  75  film   festivals  a  year,  the  Toronto  Jewish   Film  Festival  (TJFF)  stands  out  for  its   depth  and  breadth  of  quality  films,   friendliness  and  camaraderie  amongst   staff,  volunteers  and  patrons,  and   food  that  is  cheerfully  distributed  by   local  sponsors  to  movie  goers  as  they   wait  in  line.     Now  that’s  service.   A  springtime  staple,  TJFF  opened  Thursday  and  runs  until  April  21  at  select  Toronto  theatres   including  Hot  Docs  Bloor  Cinemaand  ROM  Eaton  Theatre.   TJFF  audiences  are  dedicated,  passionate  and  appreciative  of  the  Festival’s  multi-­‐genre,  multi-­‐ cultural  diversity.  “I’ve  never  seen  a  bad  film,”  comments  Lorraine  Weygman,  a  Toronto  resident   and  12-­‐year  TJFF  attendee.  “The  people  are  very  friendly  and  the  films  are  very  timely,  with  an   International  appeal.”    “This  is  our  most  eclectic  year  ever,”  says  Debbie  Werner,  TJFF  Managing  Director.  “This  year   we  really  succeed  in  having  something  for  everyone.”   The  complement  of  TJFF  films  includes  drama,  comedy,  documentary  and  biography,  both   feature  length  and  short.  Themed  programs  include:   Spotlight  on  Africa  –  a  five-­‐film  program,  co-­‐presented  by  the  University  of  Toronto’s  African   Studies  Program,  that  examines  rarely  seen  Jewish  life  in  Nigeria,  Uganda  and  Cameroon.   Israel  @65  -­‐  featuring  eight  films  that  commemorate  Israel’s  Memorial  Day  and  Independence   Day.   Reel  Ashkenaz  –  a  four-­‐film  series  highlighting  a  variety  of  musical  themes,  including  a   documentary  about  how  Saul  Holiff,  a  Jew  from  London,  Ontario  became  Johnny  Cash’s   manager.   For  a  complete  list  of  films,  schedules  and  venues  visitTJFF.   For  those  interested  in  what’s  being  served  up,  other  than  films,  the  food  sponsors   (affectionately  known  as  nosh  donors)  are  Boston  Pizza,  By  the  Way  Café,  Café  Mirage   (Sheppard  Centre),  Cobs  Bread,  Crêpes  à  GoGo,  Feature  Foods,  Ghazale  Restaurant,  Limonana,   Metro  Supermarkets,  Pusateri’s  Fine  Foods,  and  Spring  Rolls  (Sheppard  Centre).   Stay  tuned  for  more  about  some  of  the  documentaries  and  biographies  screening  at  this  year’s   TJFF,  from  this  avid  film  enthusiast  who,  just  for  the  record,  isn’t  Jewish.   See  you  at  the  movies.  


Yuk Yuk’s  comics  invade  Israel  in  ‘A  Universal   Language’   TORONTO  JEWISH  FILM  FESTIVAL  |  APRIL  15,  2013  |  BY:  LYNN  FENSKE   http://www.examiner.com/article/yuk-­‐yuk-­‐s-­‐comics-­‐invade-­‐israel-­‐a-­‐universal-­‐language   Yuk  Yuk’s  Comedy  Club  founder  Mark  Breslin  is  fearless  when  it  comes  to  comedy.  Recently  he   took  six  Canadian  comics  to  the  Holy  Land  for  unrestricted   performances  of  their  coarse  brand  of  comedy.  The   sometimes  stunning  results  are  documented  in  a  new  film   “A  Universal  Language”  which  had  its  world  premiere  at   the  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival  Sunday  night.   The  project  was  inspired  by  a  public  boycott  by  anti-­‐Israeli   activists  of  Israeli  films  at  the  2009  Toronto  International   Film  Festival.  In  shocked  response  to  the  boycott  Breslin   asked  himself,  “what  would  happen  if  I  had  an  Israeli   comedy  festival?”  His  somewhat  rhetorical  question   motivated  him  to  investigate  the  possibilities,  leading  to  conversations  with  Embassy  personnel   and  the  all-­‐inspiring  question,  “why  don’t  you  go  to  Israel  first?”   So  he  did.   With  the  help  of  Israel’s  Ministry  of  Foreign  Affairs  and  the  Centre  for  Israel  and  Jewish  Affairs,   Breslin  embarked  on  an  uncensored  tour  aimed  at  bridging  religious  and  political  differences   through  comedy.  To  boldly  going  where  no  potty-­‐mouthed  Canadian  comedian  had  ever  gone   before,  Breslin  invited  Aaron  Berg,  Sam  Easton,  Mike  Khardas,  Rebecca  Kohler,  Jean  Paul,   and  Nikki  Payne.   Yuk  Yuk’s  comics  invade  Israel  in  ‘A  Universal  Language’   “For  me,  free  speech  in  the  arts  trumps  absolutely  everything  else,”  comments  Breslin  in   defending  his  decision  to  launch  the  tour.   Directed  and  produced  by  Igal  Hecht  and  his  company  Chutzpah  Productions,  “A  Universal   Language”  captures  the  experiences  of  each  comic  as  they  toured  the  Holy  Land,  visiting  the   Holy  Sepulchre  and  Wailing  Wall  during  the  day  while  performing  in  Christian,  Jewish  and   Palestinian  sections  of  Jerusalem  at  night.   “Mark  really  saw  that  the  best  way  to  fight  discrimination  and  censorship  of  art  by  anti-­‐Israel   activists  is  through  art  itself,”  said  Hecht.  “He  set  out  to  foster  dialogue  and  a  deeper   understanding  among  Canadians  of  Israel  and  the  Middle  East  through  the  power  of  comedy.”   The  tour  lasted  eight  days.  The  memories  will  last  a  life  time.   “If  we  inspired  anybody  in  Israel  to  take  an  extra  chance,  to  say  an  extra  word  that  they’re  not   supposed  to  say,  delve  into  a  topic  that  they  heretofore  did  not  delve  into,  then  I  think  we  did   something  great,”  concludes  Breslin.   The  film  has  its  world  broadcast  premiere  on  Thursday,  April  18  at  9  pm  on  the  Documentary   Channel.   See  you  at  the  movies.  


TJFF: “The  Eleventh  Day”  in  memory  of   murdered  athletes     TORONTO  JEWISH  FILM  FESTIVAL  |  APRIL  16,  2013  |  BY:  LYNN  FENSKE   http://www.examiner.com/article/tjff-­‐the-­‐eleventh-­‐day-­‐memory-­‐of-­‐murdered-­‐athletes     On  a  day  when  our  nation  is  still   processing  the  horrific  bombings  at  the   Boston  Marathon,  it  is  tough  to  be   reminded  of  the  deadly  attack  on   athletes  during  the  1972  Munich   Olympics.  Yet  despite  the  heart-­‐ wrenching  media  coverage  of  the   Boston  bombings,  an  audience  will  gather  at  Cineplex  Odeon  Sheppard  Cinema  Wednesday   evening  to  view  “The  Eleventh  Day:  The  Survivors  of  Munich  1972.”   The  screening  is  part  of  the  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival  and  will  be  attended  by  one  of  the   Munich  survivors,  Olympic  swimmer  Avraham  Melamed.   The  film  was  produced  by  the  German  Biography  Channel  in  collaboration  with  the  Israeli   History  Channel  and  was  originally  broadcast  prior  to  the  London  Olympics  to  commemorate  the   40th  anniversary  of  the  Munich  games.  It  recounts  how,  in  September  1972,  11  members  of  the   Israeli  Olympic  team  were  taken  captive  by  a  Palestinian  terrorist  group  and  later  murdered   during  a  failed  rescue  attempt.  Using  archival  footage  and  present-­‐day  interviews,  the  story  is   re-­‐told  by  the  seven  survivors  who,  in  February  2012,  reunited  and  returned  to  Munich.   During  the  hour-­‐long  documentary  audiences  get  acquainted  with  seven  men  –  Dan  Alon   (fencer),  Shaul  Paul  Ladany  (speed  walker),  Zelig  Shtorch  (marksman),  Yehuda  Weinstain   (fencer),  Henry  Hershkovitz  (marksman),  Gad  Tsabary  (wrestler),  and  Melamed,  the  veteran   Olympic  swimmer  attending  the  Munich  games  as  team  supporter.   Once  young,  iron-­‐bodied  competitors,  these  senior  spokesmen  are  open  and  compassionate   about  their  unforgettable  ordeal.  In  four  decades  they  have  hardly  spoken  about  what   happened  yet  the  terror  and  tragedy  of  Munich  remains  in  their  hearts.  It  is  their  common   legacy.   Like  the  news  reports  we  hear  today  about  the  human  carnage  and  near  misses  in  Boston,  “The   Eleventh  Day”  tells  the  story  of  athletes  who  barely  survived  and  how  a  few  dramatic  hours   changed  their  lives  forever.   The  drama  changes  our  lives  too.  The  lesson  is  to  not  be  a  victim.  Be  a  survivor.   "The  Eleventh  Day:  The  Survivors  of  Munich  1972"  screens  again  on  Thursday  at  Innis  Town  Hall.   For  ticket  availability  visit  TJFF.   The  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival  continues  until  April  21  with  many  more  inspirational  stories   about  human  courage  and  perseverance  yet  to  screen.   See  you  at  the  Festival.  


TJFF: Roman  Polanski  tells  his  own  story     TORONTO  JEWISH  FILM  FESTIVAL  |  APRIL  17,  2013  |  BY:  LYNN  FENSKE   http://www.examiner.com/article/tjff-­‐roman-­‐polanski-­‐tells-­‐his-­‐own-­‐story     A  documentary  about   controversial  film  director  Roman   Polanski  has  its  belated  Canadian   premiere  this  afternoon  during   the  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival.    “Roman  Polanski:  A  Film  Memoir”   is  an  intimate  portrait  of  a  tragic   figure.  In  conversation  with  his   close  friend  and  film  producer   Andrew  Braunsberg,  Polanski   speaks  candidly  about  his   turbulent  life;  growing  up  in   occupied  Poland  during  WWII,  his   early  years  as  an  actor  and  filmmaker  under  a  communist  regime,  his  move  to  Hollywood,  the   brutal  murder  of  wife  Sharon  Tate,  and  his  admitted  guilt  and  subsequent  trial  for  statutory  rape   of  a  13-­‐year-­‐old.   The  circumstances  of  his  1977  trial  and  punishment  led  Polanski  to  flee  the  United  States  and   live  in  Europe  where  in  2009  he  was  apprehended  on  route  to  the  Zurich  Film  Festival  and   placed  under  house  arrest.   Regardless  of  what’s  been  written  or  said  about  Polanski,  no  one  has  had  the  opportunity  to   hear  all  the  gritty  details  of  his  personal  story,  until  now.  His  candor  is  compelling.   'Roman  Polanski:  A  Film  Memoir'   Produced  in  2011,  the  filmed  conversations  took  place  in  Polanski’s  Swiss  home  during  his  court-­‐ ordered  confinement.  The  Braunsberg/Polanski  dialogue  is  illustrated  with  archival  images,   news  footage,  press  clippings,  private  and  exclusive  photos,  and  excerpts  from  Polanski’s  films.   Let  it  not  be  forgotten  that  Polanski  directed  iconic  films  including  “Rosemary’s  Baby,”  “The   Pianist”  and  “Chinatown.”   “Roman  Polanski:  A  Film  Memoir”  has  its  own  impressive  pedigree.  The  film  premiered  at  the   Zurich  Film  Festival  in  2011  and  was  a  featured  selection  at  the  Cannes  Film  Festival  in  2012.   The  Canadian  premiere  takes  place  at  the  Cineplex  Odeon  Sheppard  Cinema  at  4  p.m.  today.  It  is   co-­‐presented  by  the  Polish-­‐Jewish  Heritage  Foundation  of  Canada.  Special  guest  attending   isThom  Ernst,  Host/Producer  of  TVO’s  “Saturday  Night  at  the  Movies.”   This  film  screens  again  April  21,  the  final  day  of  the  Festival.   See  you  at  the  movies.  


TJFF biographies  showcase  cultural  icons   •

TORONTO JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL | APRIL 17, 2013 | BY: LYNN FENSKE

Every year  the  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival  devotes  ample  screen  time  to  worthy  biographical   movies.  Certainly  the  real  laughter  and  tears  of  non-­‐fiction  stories  can  be  more  compelling  than   anything  fabricated  by  even  the  best  Hollywood  screenwriter.     As  always  the  TJFF  2013  selection  of  featured  biographies  is  eclectic,  educational  and  highly   entertaining.  I  share  with  you  my  favourites.  Given  their  common  thread  of  arts  and   entertainment,  these  particular  films  hold  true  to  the  Festival’s  tagline,  “Film.  It’s  what  Jews  do   best.”     For  schedule  details  and  tickets  for  remaining  screenings,  contact  TJFF.   See  you  at  the  movies.    


'Joe Papp  in  Five  Acts'  -­‐  TJFF  biographies   showcase  cultural  icons   • •

TORONTO JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL APRIL 17, 2013

HTTP://WWW.EXAMINER.COM/LIST/TJFF-­‐BIOGRAPHIES-­‐SHOWCASE-­‐CULTURAL-­‐ICONS/JOE-­‐ PAPP-­‐FIVE-­‐ACTS  


'Roman Polanski:  A  Film  Memoir'  -­‐  TJFF   biographies  showcase  cultural  icons   • •

TORONTO JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL APRIL 17, 2013

HTTP://WWW.EXAMINER.COM/LIST/TJFF-­‐BIOGRAPHIES-­‐SHOWCASE-­‐CULTURAL-­‐ ICONS/ROMAN-­‐POLANSKI-­‐A-­‐FILM-­‐MEMOIR  


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'Norman Mailer:  The  American'  -­‐  TJFF   biographies  showcase  cultural  icons • •

TORONTO JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL APRIL 17, 2013

HTTP://WWW.EXAMINER.COM/LIST/TJFF-­‐BIOGRAPHIES-­‐SHOWCASE-­‐CULTURAL-­‐ ICONS/NORMAN-­‐MAILER-­‐THE-­‐AMERICAN  


'My Father  and  the  Man  in  Black'  -­‐  TJFF   biographies  showcase  cultural  icons   • •

TORONTO JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL APRIL 17, 2013

HTTP://WWW.EXAMINER.COM/LIST/TJFF-­‐BIOGRAPHIES-­‐SHOWCASE-­‐CULTURAL-­‐ICONS/MY-­‐ FATHER-­‐AND-­‐THE-­‐MAN-­‐BLACK


THE TORONTO  JEWISH  FILM  FESTIVAL   EXPLORES  HAVA  NAGILA   •

April 10, 2013 / Written by Addison Wylie

http://www.blog.filmarmy.ca/2013/04/the-­‐toronto-­‐jewish-­‐film-­‐festival-­‐explores-­‐ hava-­‐nagila/?doing_wp_cron=1365730349.7750179767608642578125   The  21st  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival  arrives  soon  and  promises   lots  of  films  worthy  of  your  time.   The  festival,  which  begins  on  April  11  and  carries  through  to  April   21,  has  many  films  to  pick  from  that  offer  entertainment  (such  as   the  Funny  Jews:  7  Comedy  Shorts  programme)  and  insight   (including  screenings  of  Jeff  L.  Lieberman’s  Re-­‐Emerging:  The   Jews  of  Nigeria).  There’s  also  the  Canadian  premiere  of  Roman   Polanski:  A  Film  Memoir  and  to  follow  suit,  there’s  a  free   screening  of  Polanski’s  Oliver  Twist.   Give  the  J-­‐DAR  a  spin!  The  J-­‐DAR  provides  at-­‐home  audience   participation  asking  moviegoers  to  type  in  a  movie  title  to  find  out  how  Jewish  that  particular   film  is.  It’ll  also  include  a  comparison  to  another  film  that  may  or  may  not  be  as  Jewish  as  it  and   provides  a  break-­‐down  as  to  how  that  film  has  a  Jewish  connection.     I  was  fortunate  to  check   out  one  of  the  films  to  be   featured  at  this  year’s   Jewish  Film  Festival.   Roberta  Grossman’s   documentary  Hava  Nagila   (The  Movie)  intrigued  me   with  its  subject  matter  and   worried  me  with  the   thought  of  listening  to  the   same  song  for  over  an   hour.   What  did  I  think  of   Grossman’s  doc?  Keep  reading:     HAVA  NAGILA  (THE  MOVIE)  IS  ONE  HALF  OF  A  GOOD  DOCUMENTARY   Half  of  Roberta  Grossman’s  Hava  Nagila  (The  Movie)  is  a  good  movie  that  I’d  feel  comfortable   recommending.  Unfortunately,  it  follows  an  uninvolving  history  lesson  that  relies  heavily  on   monotone  narration  and  a  plethora  of  grainy  stock/home  footage.   The  documentary  about  the  origin  and  the  meaning  behind  the  popular  Jewish  folk  song   introduces  its  narrator  as  a  woman  with  no  name  and  credits  her  as  “(Your  Name  Here)”.  I  


suppose Grossman  realized  how  bored  the  voice-­‐over  sounded  and  immediately  saved  the   provider  (or  herself?)  the  embarrassment.     Along  with  the  “(Your  Name  Here)”   credit,  Grossman’s  documentary   has  a  joking  attitude  as  it  takes  it   topic  seriously.  It  wants  to  deliver  a   documentary  that  may  answer   those  lingering  questions  one  might   have  about  the  much-­‐played  folk   song,  but  it  isn’t  afraid  to  throw  the   odd  visual  joke  at  its  audience.   This  is  something  we’ve  seen  done   to  great  effect  in  documentaries   directed  byMichael   Moore  or  Morgan  Spurlock,  but   because  the  narration  is  so   unenthused  and  the  jokes  come  at   random,  the  humour  can  never  stick   its  landing.  It’s  as  if  Grossman  and   her  narrator  realized  Sophie   Sartain’s  writing  isn’t  that  polished   and  decided  to  stick  with  a  dull   script  rather  than  to  try  to  lift  the  material.   *UPDATE:  According  to  other  reviews,  the  narration  was  provided  by  Rusty  Schwimmer.   Whether  her  name  is  left  off  the  project  intentionally  or  is  properly  credited  in  the  Toronto  Jewish   Film  Festival  screening  and  I  was  watching  a  rough  cut,  I  just  hope  she  can  walk  away  from  this   experience  knowing  she  needs  more  rehearsal  time  and  more  direction  in  the  sound  recording   booth  for  better  results.*     The  history  behind  Hava   Nagila  is  tough  to  sit  through   since  moviegoers  figure  out   that  its  background  and  why   it   exists  can  be  summed  up  in  a   few  lines.  That’s  not  to   undercut  the  crucial  Jewish   backstory  nor  the  interesting   conversation  of  who  wrote   the  song  first  and  the  even   more  interesting  competitive   nature  between  the  two   modern  families,  but  it  all   seems  irrelevant  in  a   documentary  that  wanted  to   highlight  this  specific  song   and  its  impact.  


However, Hava  Nagila  (The  Movie)  finds  its  stride  when  the  story  focuses  on  Jewish  people   living  in  hunky-­‐dory  America’s  suburbia  in  a  post-­‐Holocaust  world.  The  interviews  shift  from   those  who  are  older  and  feel  unnatural  on  camera  to  well-­‐known  artists  and  musicians.   Again,  this  isn’t  to  take   those  prior  interviews  about   Jewish  history  down  a  peg,   but  the  interviews  with   musicians  bring  an  element   of  excitement  to  the  table.   It’s  excitement  that  sparks   passion  in  their  presence   and  their  speech,  as  if   they’ve  been  bottling  these   opinions  up  for  quite  some   time  anticipating  someone   asking  them  these  very   questions.  It’s  easily  more   compelling  than  Hava   Nagila  (The   Movie)’s  meandering  history  lesson.     Interviews  with  Harry  Belafonte,  Leonard  Nimoy,  and  Regina  Spektor  all  stick  out  as  winners,   providing  plenty  of  content  to  take  out  of  the  film.  Even  an  interview  with  Josh  Kun,  a  professor   at  the  University  of  Southern  California,  is  very  charismatic  and  offers  some  amusing  man-­‐on-­‐ the-­‐street  bits.   It’s  disappointing  to  see   Grossman’s  project   take  on  a  weak  start   leading  me  to   think  Hava  Nagila  (The   Movie)  would’ve  made   a  better  short-­‐form   doc.  Because,   everything  in  the  film’s   latter  half  (sans   botched  narration)  is   worthy  to  take  on  its   own  documentary.   And  for  those   wondering,  you  do  hear   different  renditions  of   Hava  Nagila  throughout   Grossman’s  doc,  but   surprisingly,  you  never   grow  tired  of  it  because   of  those  uplifting   attitudes  towards  the   song.  


Catch Hava  Nagila  (The  Movie)  at  the  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival  on  April  21  at  8  p.m.   at  the  Bloor  Hot  Docs  Cinema!     Click  here  for  more  details  and  to  buy  tickets.     Visit  the  official  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival  webpage  here!     Check  out  my  Re-­‐Emerging  sneak  peek/interview  with  Lieberman  here!     Do  You  Tweet?  Follow  These  Tweeple:     The  Toronto  Jewish  Film  Festival:  @TJFFtweets     Film  Army:  @FilmArmy     Addison  Wylie:  @AddisonWylie  

           


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Toronto Jewish Film Festival 2013 - Press Summary  

Press Summary for the 21st edition of the festival

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