Timothy Spall's legal aid for film director

Yoav Factor talks shop with Timothy Spall during the filming of Reuniting the Rubins

Yoav Factor talks shop with Timothy Spall during the filming of Reuniting the Rubins

An up and coming British film director who describes himself as the only shomer Shabbat moviemaker in the UK is due to show his first cinema production in the north west.

Yoav Factor, who received a BAFTA nomination for a short film in 2002, will screen Reuniting the Rubins at the Bradford International Film Festival next week.

Timothy Spall plays a blundering Jewish lawyer. His first day of retirement on a luxury cruise is ruined by his meddling mother, played by Honor Blackman, hellbent on reuniting his dysfunctionally estranged family.

But Mr Factor, from Edgware, north London, who attended yeshivot in Jerusalem after studying at the acclaimed Northern Film School, said the film is not meant to be about Jews.

"The rule for a first film is make it about something you know. But while it's about a Jewish family, the children are very different. One is an atheist, one a Buddhist, and one a rabbi.

"Many Jewish families might relate to this mixture, but as a comedy-drama it deals with the current wider issue of breakdown in the family unit, which cuts across all different cultures, "he noted.

"There are some challenges about being an modern Orthodox Jewish filmmaker. The crew found it strange the director was rushing off every Friday night."

Tickets for the premiere next Wednesday are selling fast, boosted by the appearance at the festival of Timothy Spall.

He said portraying a Jewish father had been a learning experience and described the film's humour as "refreshing" and different from other British comedy.

"My knowledge of Judaism has increased considerably and, obviously, Yoav has been a very strong part of that. It's a faith I've always been interested in but one I didn't know much about."

Actress Claire Bloom, who played Queen Mary in the King's Speech, will receive a lifetime achievement award at the festival.

    Last updated: 10:07am, March 18 2011