Israeli Film Festival 2012

FROM tales of dolphin therapy to finding true love, this year’s Israeli Film Festival aims to showcase a side of Israel beyond what you see on the news. Carene Chong has the details.

Film fest buffs mark your calendars as the Israeli Film Festival is set to arrive on our shores and present the Australian audience with the best of Israeli cinema from August 15 to September 11.

Now in its ninth year, the festival will expand its horizons beyond Melbourne and Sydney this year, to cover three more Australian cities, namely Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth,

The event, organised by the Australia Israel Cultural Exchange  (AICE) in conjunction with Palace Cinemas, will be screening 20 feature and documentary films which have impacted both Israel as well as the rest of the world in the last year.

Festival programmer and AICE executive director Keith Lawrence says the movie showcase aims to promote exchange and understanding between both Australia and Israel through the big screen.

“To paraphrase an often used quote, film is the window to look through and see other cultures,” he says.

“The festival therefore provides opportunities to go beyond the world headline news and see something of everyday concern and issues facing Israelis.”

The lineup includes award winning films that have captured attention at prestigious film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Jerusalem and San Sebastian, just to name a few.

Highlights include opening night screening Restoration, a moving exploration of fatherhood and the generational divide; My Australia, a film about the director’s own dreams about the Land Down Under and Lipstikka, a sexually confronting film about fractured memories and sexual misadventures.

Also included in the festival’s must-watch list is the multi-award winning documentary Dolphin Boy, which tells the story of a young boy who participates in a rehabilitation program with dolphins after a violent attack leaves him severely traumatised.

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Film co-director and writer Yonatan Nir says the unique plot came from his personal experiences as a marine cameraman in the Dolphin Reef in Eilat (Israel’s southernmost city located at the northern tip of the Red Sea) several years ago.

“I experienced a trauma myself (when I was injured from an explosion in the 2006 Lebanon War) and decided to go back to Israel to recuperate with the dolphins, and they helped me a lot in my rehabilitation process,” he says.

“I know this might sound naive, but I wish to encourage better behavior in people towards nature through this film; and to also promote positivity, peace and hope.”

This year, the film festival will also pay tribute to acclaimed Israeli actor and director, Moshe Ivgy by featuring an array of his best works. The tribute line up includes And On The Third Day, Ivgy’s powerful directorial debut about a futuristic Israel plagued by rampant violence and political anarchy. Other selections are Out Of The Blue, a contemporary urban comedy about the search for the woman of one’s dreams and Metallic Blues, a touching story about friendship.

The AICE Israeli Film Festival 2012 will be paying tribute to acclaimed Israeli actor and director Moshe Ivgy. Photo: Oakwilde via Wikimedia Commons

In summary, movie buffs have reason to be excited, as organisers have promised the festival to be a feast for both the eyes and the mind.

“The festival is diverse in selection and broad in subject matter. It’ll hopefully challenge, provoke, entertain and inform,” says AICE executive director Keith Lawrence.

For more information and screening dates in your city, check out AICE’s Israeli Film Festival page.

Tickets are now on-sale in cinemas and online through www.palacecinemas.com.au.

Meld Magazine has five pairs of tickets to the Israeli Film Festival to give away in our snap draw. Simply email pickme@meldmagazine.com.au with your full name and contact details by 12pm Monday August 13. The competition is open only those living and studying in Victoria and winners will be contacted directly.

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