The UKJFF celebrates its barmitzvah

By Jessica Elgot, October 6, 2009
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The Coen brother's new film A Serious Man will top the bill at the festival

The Coen brother's new film A Serious Man will top the bill at the festival

Instead of dwelling on the bad luck that a thirteenth anniversary year could bring, the UK Jewish Film Festival is, fittingly, celebrating its barmitzvah year.

It will be the biggest ever year for the festival, which started life as the Brighton Jewish Film Festival back in 1996 before relocating to London and rebranding itself as the UK Jewish Film Festival in 2004.

The Coen brothers new film A Serious Man tops the bill at the festival, along with the UK Premiere of Adam Ressurected director by Taxi Driver writer Paul Schrader and starring Jeff Goldblem.

Sixty-three films from Hollywood blockbusters, to documentaries to short sketches will show at a record 14 venues across London, and tour 15 UK cities.

Judy Ironside, the Festival Director, spoke about how the theme of coming-of-age would link the diverse programming.

She said: “Whilst the barmitzvah is a Jewish custom, it also parallels a ‘rite of passage' in many other cultures and this is also a time of celebration and obligation which is shared by various communities. This is our strongest programme so far.”

To tie in with the barmitzvah theme, Maureen Lipman will introduce a special screening of the acclaimed film by her late husband Jack Rosenthal The Barmitzvah Boy.

The festival will also show two short films which won the Short Film Fund award in partnership with the Pears Foundation. The winning films I am Ruthie Segal, Hear Me Roar and Schlimazeltov are premiering at the Festival.

An Audience Award has also been announced in association with The Shoresh Charitable Trust, which audiences will be asked to vote for at each screening throughout the festival.

Other highlights include a talk with David Polonsky, the art director and illustrator of the Oscar-nominated Waltz With Bashir, special guest Israeli actress Ronit Elkabetz and Q&A sessions with directors, academics, actors and writers about the films.

The UK Jewish Film Festival, which is sponsored by the JC, runs from November 7 to 19

Last updated: 4:19pm, October 6 2009