The AICE (Australia Israel Cultural Exchange) Israeli Film Festival 2015 begins on the 18th of August and goes through till the 30th of August 2015 in Melbourne. Participating cinemas are Palace Cinema Como and Palace Brighton Bay. Announcing their daring programme, it features 35 titles across 6 categories screening in four cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Perth). This year's selection created by the Festival's incoming Artistic Director Richard Moore is colourful and gives voice to many issues.
Featuring world and Australian premieres of documentaries, feature films, shorts and a television show, there'll be Q&As with VIP guests and live music performances. Separated into 6 categories of which 3 are new sections, they are:-
Blast from the past - a selection of titles from Israel's cinematic history.
Queer Spot - a reflection on the vibrant queer culture in Israel.
Questions of Faith - films that look into contemporary issues of faith and interfaith.
Culture Corner - covering all things culture, from theatre to music to poetry and all things in between including sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll.
First Course - a selection of the finest Israeli short films from fiction to animation and even a dash of horror.
On the Edge - offers hard-hitting real-life stories that reveal the dark side of life far and wide.
If you haven't already picked up a hard-copy of the program from Palace cinemas, CLICK HERE to download it.
Some of the special event dates to take note of are:-
Opening Night, Palace Cinema Como on Tuesday 18 August, 6pm arrival for 7pm screening of the highly acclaimed Matti Caspi - Confessions, preceded by canapés, wine and entertainment.
An 85 minute cinematic confessional of one of Israel's greatest musicians, he reveals his innermost secrets. Growing up in the 1950s in a family lacking affection, it covers his rise to fame and a very public fall from grace. Filled with music, intimate moments and humour, it's not only a film about an Israel of the past, but about a searing personal biography of a living legend as well.
Special Q&A with Director Barak Heymann at Palace Cinema Como on Wed 19 August for the films Almost Friends (7pm followed by Q&A) and Aliza (8.30pm followed by Q&A).
In Almost Friends; in a bid to bridge gaps in Israeli society, an education program brings together two girls by pairing them as online pen-pals. Samar an Arab girl from Lod and Linor, a settler who lived in Gush Kaatif become friends. When they finally get the opportunity to meet, their families enter into a profound and complex experience.
Aliza is 60 minutes long and a biographical piece by Tomer Heymann, one of Israel's best known documentary film makers. Aliza Rozen the subject has a long list of credits in the Israeli film and TV industry and most recently appeared on screen in Farewell Party (2014). A reluctant subject, ever feisty and temperamental, her relationship with the director drives the film in a 'warts and all' portrayal rich in content from Israel's television vaults.
Special Screening of The 81st Blow by Dr Dvir Abramovic at Palace Brighton Bay on Thursday 20 August, 6.30pm screening. Dr Dvir Abramovich is the Israel Kipen Lecturer in Jewish Studies and Director of the Program in Jewish Culture and Society at The University of Melbourne.
The 81st Blow is 115 minutes long and recently restored by the Jerusalem Cinematheque and presented at this year's Berlin film festival. Compiled entirely of historical footage and photographs, it tells of Jewish life in Europe, of the emergence of National Socialism, of exultant German crowds, of pogroms, extermination, and finally of small acts of resistance and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The soundtrack is made up of statements made at the trial of Adolf Eichmann and a score composed especially for the film. The title comes from a boy in the Przemysl ghetto who was given 80 lashes that almost killed him. Later, the fact that no one believed him felt like the 81st blow.
Special Introduction by Eitan Drori, president of Association for Israelis in Australia (AIA) is at Palace Brighton Bay on Friday 21 August for 8.45pm screening of Metzizm.
Metzizm is a 90 minute film about two friends who don't want to age. Zohar the ageing hippy lifeguard refuses to grow up and spends most of his days fighting peepers in the public baths while Eli dreams of building a nightclub in a local restaurant. In today's climate it could be seen as a macho and sexist film but it's still a fun movie.
Special Introduction by Dr Dvir Abramovich at Palace Brighton Bay on Saturday 22 August for screening of Broken Wings at 6.45pm.
Broken Wings is a touching domestic drama about an Israeli family shattered by the recent death of the head of the household. Financially strapped, Dafna the widow has to juggle her nightshifts at Haifa hospital to keep herself and her four kids afloat. Her two eldest, Maya an aspiring singer and composer for a rockband and Yair a once promising basketball player are called upon to care for the youngest kids. If an emotional roller coaster is what you're after, you're on the right ride. Nir Bergman's debut film, it's full of passion, energy and a deep sense of love.
A conversation with Leah Kaminisky and Lee Kofman; Female Writing - Is there such a Beast? at Palace Cinema Como on Sunday 23 August, 4pm Clockwork Doll - Dahlia Ravikovitch followed by Q&A.
Clockwork Doll - Dahlia Ravikovitch, a 52 minute film is ultimately a celebration of a highly talented and fiercely independent poetic voice. Dahlia, a poet, translator and peace activist struggled with depression and fluctuated between intense vitality and an ardent passion to involve herself in any moral and political discussion. A wonderful gift to Hebrew culture and winner of the major Israeli poetry prizes she established herself as a powerful female voice in a predominantly masculine world.
Special Introduction by Eitan Drori at Palace Brighton Bay on Monday 24 August for 6.45pm screening of Sallah Shabati.
Sallah Shabati, an hour and 45 minutes long is one of the most popular films in the history of Israeli cinema, this Oscar® nominated comedy catapulted Chaim Topol to international fame, resulting in his celebrated role in Fiddler on the Roof. Topol plays Sallah, an Oriental Jew who arrives with his wife and seven kids in 1949. Despite efforts by the bureaucracies to get him to work he prefers to play sheshbesh (backgammon) and find other ways to take care of his family. He becomes an unlikely hero when he uncovers corruption in Israel's housing industry.
Live music performance by Klezmeritis at Palace Cinema Como on Tuesday 25 August at 6.30pm screening of The Wandering Muse.
The Wandering Muse is 93 minutes long and a sonic exploration of Jewish identity through the music of the Diaspora. The alluring songstress Vanessa Paloma will take you from a tango infused klezmer bar in Argentina to various parts of the globe in this celebration of a world of harmony beyond politics and national borders.
Exclusive Q&A with Human Rights Lawyer Asaf Weitzen at Palace Cinema Como on Wednesday 26 August for 6.30pm Hotline followed by Q&A. Asaf Weitzen is the head of the legal department of the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants – The Israeli human rights NGO at the centre of the film.
Hotline is 99 minutes long and about a small NGO dedicated to promoting the rights of refugees and uninformed migrants in Israel. The production is an insider's perspective on its activities; behind closed doors at detention centres, legal aid hearings and feisty public policy sessions at the Knesset. The filmmakers paint a vivid picture of the legal and financial limbo faced by many of Israel's new African immigrants.
Head to the website for details and information of all films and events and you can book tickets directly via the Palace Cinema website. The Festival also has a Facebook presence.