Seventeenth UK Jewish Film festival covers all bases

A scene from Hava Nagila, an exploration of the simchah staple

A scene from Hava Nagila, an exploration of the simchah staple

From a documentary on the quintessential party song to an “extreme horror” flick from Israel, the 17th UK Jewish Film Festival covers all the cinematic bases.

Unveiling the programme for 2013, festival executive director Judy Ironside said the line-up of screenings represented “a significantly good year”.

Eighty-one films from 21 countries — from Argentina to Ukraine — will be shown during the festival, which runs from October 30-November 17. Around one-third of the films are Israeli.

There will be 12 London venues plus screenings in Leeds, Liverpool, Glasgow and Manchester, which will have its own opening night. A new “video on demand” channel will allow people to rent a selection of movies from the current or past festivals.

Ari Folman’s animated drama The Congress

Ari Folman’s animated drama The Congress

Ms Ironside expected most of the 18,000 tickets to be snapped up by Jewish film-goers, but she said: “Because of the kind of films and venues, our non-Jewish audience is increasing.” The film for the opening night gala is The Jewish Cardinal, a historical drama about Jean-Marie Lustiger, the Jewish-born head of the French Church and close confidant of Pope John Paul II.

It will be introduced by its director, Ilan Duran Cohen, one of a number of actors, directors and documentary subjects who will be attending screenings.

Also on the programme is The Congress, Ari Folman’s animated follow-up to his Lebanon war film, Waltz With Bashir (which is additionally being screened as part of the festival’s revival strand).

An indictment of Hollywood and the movie business, “it could not be more different”, Ms Ironside said.

She also highlighted Afternoon Delight, a quirky debut movie by Jill Soloway, who has written for top US shows such as Six Feet Under and Grey’s Anatomy. And what better fare for a Jewish film festival than Hava Nagila (The Movie), a fun exploration of the simchah favourite.

Last updated: 3:45pm, September 24 2013