Events at the Center

Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema



Presented by: Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema

Jewel of Cannes, Afterthought, Makes U.S. Premiere at Star-Studded 10th Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema There’s nothing like starting a big 10th anniversary film festival with the U.S. premiere of a full-length feature that made its international debut at Cannes. In other words, Afterthought at the 2015 Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema (CFIC) is anything but. The screening, at the AMC Northbrook Court on October 28, will be preceded by a shuk-style Gala featuring some of Chicago’s premiere restaurants and caterers, celebrating the diversity of the city of Haifa, whose Carmel Steps are veritable character in the film. That level of excitement and heightened interest can be felt throughout the entire Festival. Highlights include: • Globally renowned singer-songwriter David Broza headlines the second annual Rock the Box event at Chicago’s historic Music Box Theatre on November 5. Mr. Broza will introduce Henrique Cymerman and Erez Miller’s documentary about him and a group of Israeli and Palestinian musicians making an album about peace in a remarkable eight days, East Jerusalem, West Jerusalem, then take questions and play a few songs after the screening. Mira Awad and Steve Earle (the producer of the recording session) are featured in the film as well. • Israel’s foremost journalistic authority on The Conflict, Avi Issacharoff, talks about his new hit Israeli TV series created with lead actor Lior Raz, Fauda, during a marathon screening of the first six episodes on Halloween, Oct. 31. The riveting, realistic drama, watched in the region by everyone from Bibi Netanyahu to Saeb Erekat, will have audiences on the edge of their seats. (Fauda means chaos in Arabic.) • Attendees at the 5th annual evening of Films By and About Women on November 3 will have the rare opportunity to see the Gett trilogy in its entirety: Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz’ To Take A Wife (2004), Shiva (2007) and the Golden Globe-nominated Gett (2014). Discussions about the artistry of the films, and about the legal rights of women in the Orthodox community whose husbands will not grant them a divorce, will be facilitated by New York author and film critic Jan Lisa Huttner. • Hungarian-born child prodigy and American chess Grandmaster Susan Polgar teaches kids the finer points of the game after the documentary about her and her sisters, The Polgar Variant, is screened on the CFIC’s second annual Teen Night, November 4. Ms. Polgar’s visit could not be timelier. She has played against both Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky, the subjects of the new film Pawn Sacrifice starring by Toby McGuire and Live Schreiber, soon to be in commercial release. • Oded Binnun and Mihal Breziz’ Academy Award-nominated live-action short Aya, starring Sarah Adler and Ulrich Thomsen, makes its Chicago debut in a Shorts Program that also includes Guy Nattiv and Erez Tadmor’s romantically sweet, silent 13-minute Dear God (starring Lior Ashkenazi of Footnote and Walk on Water fame) and Leon Prudofsky’s Welcome and Our Condolences, an hilarious mocumentary that does for the Israeli immigration of Jews from the former Soviet Union what This Is Spinal Tap did for rock music. • New perspectives on the Holocaust, with Yael Reuveny’s documentary Farewell, Herr Schwarz, about a deep family secret, and the U.S. premiere of Boris Maftsir’s documentary Guardians of Remembrance, about the little-known annihilation of Jews in Belarus during WWII. Ms. Reuveny, a young Israeli living in Berlin, and Mr. Maftsir, who lives in Jerusalem, will enlighten audiences in person at selected screenings. • The not-to-be-missed Closing Night event on Sunday, November 8 at the AMC Northbrook Court: the highly anticipated rom-com Is That You? Israeli heartthrob Alon Aboutboul, the star of the film, and director Dani Menkin (Dolphin Boy) will be the guests of honor for the screening and festive after-party. Other feature films include Sharon Maymon and Tal Granit’s critically-acclaimed black comedy The Farewell Party (with an LGBT-themed sub-plot), Lee Gilat’s heart-wrenching story of a Moroccan family in crisis, Encirclements; Joseph Pitchazde’s masterful thriller about a fictional ‘candy war’ between Arabs and Jews, Sweets; Arik Lubetsky’s interpretation of the beloved Savyon Liebrecht short story, Apples from the Desert; two bio-pics: Nir Bergman’s film about revolutionary Israeli poet and rocker Yona Wallach, simply called Yona, and Riki Shelach’s Tuviansky, starring Oz Zahavi (Yossi) and Micha Celektar (Brothers), about a rush to justice in the early days of the State. Other documentaries of note include Daniel Sivan and Yossi Block’s insider’s view on Israeli start-ups, Silicon Wadi; and a loving homage to the Mother of Israeli Cinema who passed away in March, Lia Van Leer—Taly Goldenberg’s Lia. Both films are Chicago premieres. The Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema, supported by over 48 community organizations and businesses, is a 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to sharing an appreciation of Israeli culture with the community at large and serving as a catalyst for multi-cultural dialog, as many of the same ethic groups coexisting side-by-side in Israel also live in Chicago. 2015 screenings will take place at four venues: the AMC River East and the Music Box Theatre in Chicago, the AMC Northbrook Court. For the third year in a row, the CFIC is proud to host the audience-voted Bevie Awards for Best Feature and Best Documentary, named after late festival founder Beverly Braverman. Winners are announced in early December. This year’s films are in seven languages—Hebrew, Arabic, Russian, French, English, Hungarian and German—all with English subtitles.

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