AICE Israeli Film Festival 2013

FROM edgy, daring dramas to award-winning documentaries, this year’s AICE Israeli Film Festival promises to showcase the best of Israeli cinema. Don’t know where to begin? Elizabeth Yick shortlists a few of her favourites.

The Melbourne stint of the Australia Israel Cultural Exchange (AICE) Israeli Film Festival will be held from August 14 to 28. The festival will also be held in Sydney, Canberra, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, and the Byron Bay this month.

In celebration of a full decade since its inception, the Festival will boast a program that promises to be its strongest yet. Over the course of the two weeks, the Festival will feature the best of Israeli films – including contemporary dramas, award-wining features, Oscar-nominated documentaries and controversial commentaries.

From the press release, Festival co-curator Keith Lawrence expressed how the festival’s films manage to weave in discuss some of the sociopolitical issues that preside in Israel.

“The Festival continues to highlight not only the breadth and strength of the Israeli film industry but also presents the broad spectrum of Israeli society and everyday issues…. Social, sexual, political – whether Jewish, Christian, or Muslim.”

Film Highlights from the Festival

This year’s festival will open with The Ballad of the Weeping Spring, which is described as an Israeli ‘Magnificent Seven’, and will close with Otto Preminger’s Exodus.

Some highlights featured in the Festival include Zaytoun – a touching drama about the friendship between a Palestinian orphan and a captured Israeli fight pilot – and Six Acts – a perceptive and daring feature about the life of an Israeli teenage girl, which has been touted as one of the best films in the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival.

Other films well worth watching include Inch’Allah and Youth – both stories about the contemporary lives of the Israeli people in the midst of political tension and military turmoil.

Also not to be missed is the multi-award winning documentary The Gatekeepers, which features interviews with the surviving former heads of Shin Bet (the notoriously secretive Israeli security agency). The Gatekeepers has been nominated for Best Documentary at the 2013 Academy Awards.

Aside from some of the best Israeli films, Festival co-curator Keith Lawrence is delighted to welcome three very special guests, who will be conducting Q&A sessions at special screenings.

“Dror Moreh, the director of the extraordinary and controversial The Gatekeepers; Sivan Levy who is one of the leading new generation of Israeli actors; and Howard Rosenman who has much to tell about his successes at Hollywood. Each of these guests are outstanding in their fields and will offer extra insights into the films they are accompanying,” Keith says.

Melbourne Q&A Sessions

Dror Moreh, director of The Gatekeepers
• Thursday 15th August, 6.30pm; Palace Cinema Como
Screening of the movie The Gatekeeper, followed by Q&A

Sivan Levy, actress in Six Acts and Inch’Allah
• Saturday 17th August, 9pm; Palace Brighton Bay
Screening of Inch’Allah, followed by Q&A
• Sunday 18th August, 1.15pm; Palace Cinema Como
Screening of Six Acts, followed by Q&A and a live performance by Levy and guitarist Yoav Rosenti, and complimentary glass of wine

Howard Rosenman, Producer
• Saturday 17th August, 9pm, Palace Brighton Bay
Screening of Inch’Allah, followed by Q&A
• Monday 19th August, 6.30pm; Palace Cinema Como
Screening of Zaytoun, followed by Q&A

For the full festival program and movie session details, please visit the official website of Palace Cinemas. Tickets to screenings are available both online and in cinemas.

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