Sean Penn and drag queens on Jewish Film Festival bill

By Jessica Elgot, September 19, 2011
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Rabies: Israel's first horror film

Rabies: Israel's first horror film

Drag queens, a vodka baron, fake nuns and Israel's David Brent are just some of the colourful characters coming to London screens for the 15th UK Jewish Film Festival in November.

The festival will not tour to the regions as it has done in previous years, but instead plans to host regional screenings across the country at the same time as the 2012 UKJFF, making it a national festival.

This year's programme has 70 films, including award-winning feature films, TV series, short films and documentaries, from Israel and the US to Poland, Canada and the Czech Republic.

The festival opens on November 1 with a gala screening of Paolo Sorrentino's "This Must Be The Place", starring Sean Penn as an ageing rock star who decides to find his father's tormentor, an ex-Nazi war criminal.

"Footnote", an Israeli drama written and directed by Joseph Cedar, which won the Best Screenplay Award at this year's Cannes Film Festival, us also part of the programme.

UKJFF director Judy Ironside said: "Around 60 per cent of the programme are Israeli films, there is such talent coming from the country."

One such film is the first ever Israeli slasher flick "Rabies", a big hit at this year's Film 4 Fright Fest.

Ms Ironside added: "There's some wacky things, including Israeli film "Mary Lou", a gay musical about drag queens in Tel Aviv, and Israel's version of the office. There's a traditional Japanese animation of the Holocaust story, 'A Jewish Girl in Shanghai'.

"There's also a lot of very challenging work too, and some very powerful documentaries. It's a very diverse programme."

Organisers hope around 12,000 people will attend the London screenings.

Last updated: 12:10pm, September 19 2011