Eran Bester, Director and Founder of the Toronto Israel Film Festival, is pleased to announce the return of the festival for its 4th consecutive year, running from October 23 to 27. With a unique range of award-winning fiction films, exceptionally touching documentaries and presentations by recently acclaimed Israeli filmmakers, the 2011 edition promises to take audiences on a cinematic voyage of discovery into Israel’s incredibly contrasting and diverse society.
The 4th edition of the Toronto Israel Film Festival will present 8 films over 5 days, including 3 international premieres, 1 Canadian premiere, and 1 film to be seen for the first time by Toronto audiences. The festival will also receive 5 special guest speakers, renowned for their remarkable contributions to recent Israeli cinema and acclaimed for their youthful, creative, and innovative styles.
Israeli culture enthusiasts and cinephiles alike will be amazed by an impressive selection of films on topics ranging from Holocaust survivors revisiting their pasts and victims of abuse making remarkable recoveries, to unusual love stories, interlacing relationships and one family’s struggle to reunite with a loved-one.
The 2011 Toronto Israel Film Festival will play host to a series of renowned filmmakers who will present their films and entice viewers in meaningful discussions following their feature presentations. The Film Festival will take place at the Cineplex Odeon Sheppard Cinemas, situated at 4861 Yonge Street. All films will be presented in Hebrew with English sub-titles. Regular price for tickets are $13.00 per film or $70.00 for 7 films. Tickets are available by phone at (416) 622-2442. Admission is free for students with valid ID, subject to availability 5 minutes prior to every screening.
On Sunday, October 23 at 6:30 pm, the 2011 documentary Just the Two of Us will screen for the first time outside Israel, in the presence of director Tzipi Baider. Baider will recount her personal connection to this exhilarating film that follows the last 2 living survivors of Treblinka (a Nazi death camp) and the emotional roller-coaster they experience during their return to the place from which they fled. Head of the documentary department at Israel’s Channel 10, Baider is highly involved in the Israeli documentary industry, chosen by The Marker magazine as one of the 40 most promising young people in Israel.
Later that day, at 8:30 pm, filmmaker Guy Nattiv will present his internationally-acclaimed film, The Flood, winner of a 2010 Israeli Film Academy Award and a Crystal Bear – Special Mention at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2011. Nattiv will engage audience members in a discussion about this unusual coming-of-age tale of a boy who struggles with bullies, an estranged autistic brother, and an unstable family. Throughout his career, Nattiv has received prestigious international accolades and more than 20 awards worldwide. Among others, his feature Strangers was nominated in 2008 at the Sundance Film Festival.
On Monday, October 24 at 6:30 pm, filmmaker Tal Goren will answer questions in regard to a family’s relentless nightmare portrayed in her documentary Family in Captivity. The film follows the Schalit family, revealing the ongoing difficulties, frustration and pain they endure daily to save their son’s life, Gilad Schalit, a young soldier abducted by Hamas in 2006 and held hostage ever since. A highly-respected political reporter in Israel, Goren’s directorial debut Family in Captivity is the first instance where the Schalit family has opened itself to filmmakers. This occasion marks the first time it will be screened in Canada.
On Tuesday, October 25 at 6:30 pm, one of Israel’s newest acclaimed filmmakers, Marco Carmel, will present and discuss his film My Lovely Sister, which won 2 Israeli Film Academy Awards in 2011 and received 8 nominations the same year. The film recounts a curious love story between the primitively superstitious Rahma, her rude husband, and the ghost of her sister. Carmel was born in France and has worked for Israeli Educational Television and Israeli Channel Two, where he directed TV shows, including 26 episodes of the beloved children’s show Sesame Street.
Documentary filmmaker Dani Menkin will also astound audience members with insights into the journey of his 2011 film Dolphin Boy on Thursday, October 27 at 8:30 pm. Winner of the Jury Mention Award at the 2011 Jerusalem Film Festival, Dolphin Boy is a true story about a teenager who is left silent and withdrawn following a brutal attack, and his recovery via a treatment involving the dolphins of Eilat. A writer, director and producer, Menkin might best be known for his 2005 documentary 39 Pounds of Love, which was selected and won at numerous film festivals around the world, including the Palm Beach International Film Festival.
Most notable among the highlights of the 2011 program is The Human Resources Manager, selected as Israel’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2011 Academy Awards, a touching tragicomedy of a corporate HR manager’s mission to honour the death of a woman he didn’t even know.
Also on the schedule is the international premiere of Dusk, writer/director Alon Zingman’s inaugural film that won Best Debut at the 2010 Haifa International Film festival and was nominated at the Israeli Film Academy Awards the same year. Variety.com explains that “Zingman proves accomplished at cinematically exploiting narrative tension in gotcha moments.”
Finally, Jorge Gurvich’s Mrs. Moskowitz and the Cats is a lyrical romance that brings to life the relationship between an elderly retired French teacher and a washed-up, alcoholic soccer player. Rita Zohar took home an award for Best Actress at the Jerusalem Film Festival in 2009 for her portrayal in this uncommon love story, where it was also nominated for Best Feature. The film was equally nominated at the Israeli Film Academy Awards.