The Winnipeg Film Festival wraps up on June 11 with the showing of Aida’s Secrets, a documentary by Alon Schwartz, the story of how half brothers, Winnipegger Shel Shell and Israeli Izak Sagi, separated when they were very young, found each other and also located their birth mother in Montreal.
Sagi and Shell both are scheduled to be at the closing reception following the movie.
To paraphrase the late Ed Sullivan, this year’s annual Winnipeg International Jewish Film Festival is a “really big shew”. Festival organizer Tamar Barr – the RADY Jewish Community Centre assistant executive director – reports that, with 20 films and 40 screenings, this year’s entry is the largest to date.
The film festival kicked off with a screening of In Search of Israeli Cuisine, a documentary by American filmmaker Roger Sherman, who was on hand to introduce the film and answer questions afterwards.
In Search of Israeli Cuisine follows award-winning Israeli-American chef Michael Solomonov (who operates the restaurant Zahav in Philadelphia), as he travels the length and breadth of Israel talking to Israeli and some Palestinian chefs as well as Israeli vintners and food critics about the development of Israeli cuisine and what it is exactly. He (and Sherman) also get to sample a wide variety of Israeli cuisine.
Sherman, whose has previously been nominated twice for an Academy and several other awards noted that he had never been to Israel before 2010 and knew nothing about the country. He recounted how the first time he arrived in Israel, he was astounded to find young people on the beach in Tel Aviv playing volleyball on erev Shabbat rather than getting ready for shul. He had assumed that all Israelis were frum and everyone kept kosher.
He added that he was blown away by the quality and variety of food offered in Israeli restaurants.
A second reception followed on June 4, with the screening of the Oscar-nominated On The Map, which recounted the miraculous victory of Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team over a team from Russia at the 1977 European Championship Tournament. Filmmaker, Dani Menkin, was on hand to introduce the documentary and answer questions afterward.
Menkin is an Israeli Academy Award- winning filmmaker (for 39 Pounds of Love which was released in 2005).
While most films are being shown at the Berney Theatre at the Asper Jewish Community Campus, a select few are also being screened at other venues in the city.
Who’s Going to Love Me Now?, a story about a gay Israeli from a religious kibbutz, which is being presented in co-operation with Pride Winnipeg, is also being shown at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.
Fanny’s Journey, a joint French-Belgium production, is also being shown at the Centre Culturale Franco-Manitobain. The story, set in occupied France, is about a teenage Jewish girl who leads a group of Jewish children to freedom.
One new feature is the launch of the Morley Blankstein Architecture Film Series as part of the Winnipeg International Jewish Film Festival. Blankstein, who died two years ago, was a well-known Winnipeg architect, community leader and philanthropist. The first film in the new series is Mendelsohn’s Incessant Visions by Israeli filmmaker Duki Dror, which follows the life of Jewish German architect Erich Mendelsohn.
“Every year, our film festival attracts thousands of filmgoers and the numbers grow every year,” Tamar Barr reports. “This year, we are expecting our largest attendance yet.”
For more information visit www.radyjcc.com