The Daring Independent Film Festival is a four-day fest that this year is devoting one full day to screening Israeli films. The films, to be shown at the Schwartz-Reisman Centre on Sunday, Dec. 29 include:
• Strangers No More, Karen Goodman’s film about Bialik-Rogozin, an exceptional school in Tel Aviv where children from 48 countries and diverse backgrounds come together to learn;
• Welcome Home, Ron Furman’s documentary that follows several young Jewish adults on their journey to rediscover and strengthen their Jewish identity on Birthright visits to Israel;
• Dolphin Boy, Dani Menkin’s film about a boy whose father takes him to be treated by dolphins in the Red Sea after he is traumatized by a violent attack;
• Red Nose, Eldad Prives’s film about a Tel Aviv street clown who attempts to conquer the sadness in Sderot;
• 804 Mahal, Etienne Naude’s look at South African volunteers in Israel’s War of Independence and
• Out in the Dark, Michael Mayer’s dramatic film about a love affair between a Palestinian student and an Israeli lawyer.
For tickets and times, please visit the website www.diffest.com.
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Holocaust Rescue: Nicky’s Family, an uplifting Holocaust documentary by Matej Minac and Patrick Pass, tells the story of Sir Nicholas Winton, the Englishman who organized the rescue of 669 Czech and Slovak children just before the outbreak of the Second World War. Winton, now 104 years old, did not speak about these events with anyone for more than half a century, until his wife found a suitcase in the attic full of documents and transport plans. The film, narrated by Joe Schlesinger, opens at the Kingsway Theatre, 3030 Bloor St. W., on Dec. 20. www.nickysfamily.com.
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Spielberg Series: Film critic Shlomo Schwartzberg examines the cinematic legacy of arguably the world’s most famous director in Defining Greatness: Director Steven Spielberg, a series of lectures with film clips. Despite an enormously impressive filmography that includes E.T. the Extraterrestrial, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Jaws, Lincoln, Schindler’s List and Jurassic Park, Spielberg continues to be a lightning rod for critics who refuse to acknowledge his talent and influence on world cinema.
$90 for eight lectures, $11.25 drop-in. Miles Nadal JCC, Mondays from Jan. 20 to March 17, 2014, 7 to 9 p.m. 416-924-6211, ext. 0 to register.
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Names in the News: Vancouver-based artist Lilian Broca, whose large stone mosaic panels depicting the biblical story of Esther and Purim have received wide critical attention, has been pleased in recent years when some of her mosaics were licensed in the fashion industry for use on designer gowns. Broca was of course delighted when pop-culture icons Katy Perry and Vanessa Hudgens were photographed wearing the gowns.
The subject of at least one book and one documentary film, Broca has been angered and frustrated recently to learn that unscrupulous designers have ripped off her Byzantine-style art for use in their own inferior fashions. “This is not the trickle down of a fashion concept, this is theft,” observed the website Mosaic Art Now.
“In the past I have seen my mosaics reproduced badly and cheaply by unscrupulous companies in Third World countries,” Broca has said. “This time the designs were stolen and printed on clothes. It pains me to great lengths to see my art reduced to decorative patterns on mass produced fabrics intended for wear.” Check out Broca’s majestic mosaics at www.lilianbroca.com.
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Arts in Brief
• Klezmer Music Ensemble with conductor Eric Stein, allows participants to develop solid arranging and ensemble-playing skills while exploring the fundamentals of klezmer music. Ongoing through May at the Miles Nadal JCC, Tuesdays evenings, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. firstname.lastname@example.org, 416-924-6211, ext. 0 to register.
• Award-winning actor David Gale offers Broadway Goes Yiddish, a lively Yiddish-theatre workshop for would-be thespians or theatre lovers, no matter your level of Yiddish. Sherman Campus, Lipa Green Centre, 4600 Bathurst St. Ten sessions, Thursday Jan. 23 to March 27, 7 to 9 p.m. $150. www.committeeforyiddish.com, 416-635-2883, ext. 5189.
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At the Galleries
• Times and Toys, by Rob Croxford, consists of original vintage-style work that’s playful, clever, slightly twisted, unapologetically upbeat and with a political edge. Miles Nadal JCC Gallery until Jan. 23.
• Gary Clement, the brilliant cartoonist for the National Post, has produced Paintings for Modern Homo Sapiens, a showing of pieces that presents an overview of human activity from the dawn of history to the space race and beyond (albeit omitting almost everything in between). Clement’s acrylic paintings on birch panels touch upon subjects as diverse as Olympic diving, zero gravity, 19th century Russian literature, and life on other planets. Also showing, Temporal Matter, an exhibition of works by J. Lynn Campbell. Loop Gallery, 1273 Dundas St. W., until Dec. 29.