Israeli Film Festival of Philadelphia

The annual Israeli Film Festival of Philadelphia returns this weekend to showcase the best in modern Israeli cinema.  Accessibility and diversity in programming are key to the continued success of the now 15-year-old festival, which strives to cater to all tastes.  From the outrageous humor of smash hit This Is Sodom to the dry art house wit of multiple award winner The Human Resources Manager to the devastating political and social realities of Precious Life, the IFF certainly provides something for everyone and will serve as a valuable eye-opener for those unfamiliar with modern Israeli film.

“We began fifteen years ago as the first independent Israeli film festival in the country,” explains Founder/Artistic Director Mindy Chriqui.  “Most of the Jewish films shown in the Philadelphia area prior to the inception of our festival had not really closely examined the very vibrant Israeli film culture, so our mandate, as we began to develop our festival, was to present the diverse face of the Israeli cinema without limiting ourselves to a particular political or artistic point of view-simply to pick the best crop of films from Israel, whether they be documentaries or features.  Now in our fifteenth year we are committed to bringing a fascinating and culturally enriching viewing experience to our audiences in the Philadelphia region.”

The 15th Annual Israeli Film Festival of Philadelphia kicks off this Saturday at the International House with an 8:00 PM screening of The Matchmaker.  Full schedule below, films marked with a are Cinedelphia’s top picks.

SAT February 26, 2011
International House, 8:00 PM
The Matchmaker (2010)
Dir. Avi Nesher, Israel, 112 min, 35 mm
A feel-good coming-of-age tale with striking similarities to Cinema Paradiso.

SUN February 27, 2011
International House, 3:00 PM
The Matchmaker (2010)
Dir. Avi Nesher, Israel, 112 min, 35 mm

International House, 7:00 PM
Precious Life (2010)
Dir. Shlomi Eldar, Israel, 82 min, digital
An Isreali reporter follows a Palestinian woman as she seeks help for her child in an Israeli hopsital.  This remarkable HBO documentary provides a unique look at the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and the frustrating beliefs that separate the two.

SAT March 5, 2011
Drexel University, 8:00 PM
Gei Oni (2010)
Dir. Dan Wolman, Israel, 105 min, digital
Director Dan Wolman will be in attendance.
A young Russian immigrant arrives in 19th century Palestine where she strives to adjust and settle down far away from the pogroms she left behind.

SUN March 13, 2011
Bryn Mawr Film Institute, 7:00 PM
Lebanon (2009)
Dir. Samuel Maoz, Israel, 94 min, 35 mm
Critically-acclaimed art-house favorite concerning a group of soldiers trapped in a tank during Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon.

SAT March 26, 2011
International House, 8:30 PM
This is Sodom (2010)
Dirs. Adam Sanderson & Muli Segev, Israel, 88 min, 35 mm
Often funny box-office smash comedy from the likable cast of the Saturday Night Live of Israel.

SUN March 27, 2011
International House, 3:00 PM
This is Sodom (2010)
Dirs. Adam Sanderson & Muli Segev, Israel, 88 min, 35 mm

International House, 7:00 PM
The Human Resources Manager (2010)
Dir. Eran Riklis, Israel, 103 min, 35 mm
Kaurismaki-like dry comedy that swept the 2010 Israeli Film Academy Awards.

SAT April 2, 2011
Gratz College, 8:45 PM
Missing Father (2009)
Dir. Yair Elazar, Israel, 86 min, digital
Director Yair Elazar will be in attendance.
The son of legendary military strategist Dado takes a hard look at his father’s life through archive footage and interviews in this often fascinating documentary.

SAT April 9, 2011
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy, 8:45 PM
Voices from El-Sayed
Dir. Oded Adomi Leshem, Israel, 75 min, digital
Director Oded Adomi Leshem will be in attendance.
An extraordinarily subtle documentary that examines a few of the inhabitants of the largest deaf community in the world.

Visit the IFF for further information and to find out which screenings are followed by dessert receptions for the entire audience (treats!):

Author: Eric Bresler

Eric is the Founder/Site Editor of whose additional activities are numerous: Director/Curator of the Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Art (PhilaMOCA), founder of Tokyo No Records, the brain behind Video Pirates, and active local film programmer including the Unknown Japan screening series. He’s served as a TLA Video Manager, Philadelphia Film Society Managing Director, and Adjunct Professor in Cinema Studies at Drexel University. He is shy and modest. Email Eric.

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