This is a "go to" festival for international filmmakers with Jewish films who want to have their films premiere in Hollywood. The 11th L.A. Jewish Film Festival May 18th through May 25.
Opening night on May 18 will be a grand, red carpet, star-studded gala at the Steve Tisch Cinema Center at the Saban Theatre, Beverly Hills. LAJFF will recognize the Laemmle Theater family with a special honor for their ongoing commitment to film and filmmakers. This family, headed by legendary Universal studio owner, Carl Laemmle and continuously run by subsequent three generations of Laemmles, is truly a force of nature. The Laemmle Theaters is a 75+ year old family run business which has established a sense of community through film in every neighborhood of Los Angeles they touch. The Laemmle family also supports many local organizations.
Watch this wonderful history of the Laemmle theaters in which Gregory Laemmle, the President of Laemmle Theaters, gives the Beverly Hills Historical Society a summary of the Laemmle family movie theater's history and his programming of the Fine Arts and Music Hall theaters in Beverly Hills.
Opening night film is the North American premiere of “False Flag” /”Kfulim”, a gripping espionage thriller TV series (now known as “filmed entertainment”) which premiered at the Berlinale’s inaugural Special Series section and won the Grand Prize at Series Mania. It comes from the makers of “Homeland” as it first appeared in Israel in 2015 before being remade for U.S. audiences.
Created by Amit Cohen and Maria Feldman, Amit will be present after the screening for a Q&A with actor Angel Bonanni.
Variety, October 2015 called it a “Thrill Ride. Keshet’s hot strike may continue with False Flag”
C21 Hot Picks for MIPCOM 2015 said, “’False Flag’ has a touch of ‘Homeland’ about it and could be the next big Israeli drama”.
Directed by Oded Ruskin, it stars Ishai Golan, Ania Bukstein, Angel Bonanni, Roy Assaf and Orna Salinger who play five Israeli citizens who find themselves plunged into a gripping international espionage affair overnight. These ordinary people, going about their daily business, wake up one morning to discover that they are implicated in a ruthless kidnapping operation following the disappearance of the Iranian Defense Minister while on a secret visit to Moscow. News bulletins repeatedly flash their names and passport photos on screen, linking them to video footage from the kidnapping.
French pay TV channel Canal Plus acquired exclusive rights to “False Flag” for France from Keshet International. Will it be remade for U.S.??? We shall see.
In addition to the opening night ceremony, this year will be the first year for a new award. LAJFF will establish the Marvin Paige Hollywood Legacy Award. Marvin Paige who died in 2014 was a classic Hollywood casting director, the go-to Hollywood star wrangler of anybody and everybody needing to get a hold of a celebrity. He worked with LAJFF for its entire 11 years and his work continues with his former protégé.
The Marvin Paige Hollywood Legacy Award will be presented on closing night, Wednesday, May 25th, at the iconic Beverly Hills theater, The Fine Arts, to legendary actress Marsha Hunt, formerly blacklisted and still known as a free speech and humanitarian activist today at age 98!).
Closing night film Wednesday, May 25th is the classic, 72 year old movie ”None Shall Escape” starring Marsha Hunt and directed by André De Toth, starring Marsha Hunt, Alexander Knox, Henry Travers, and written by Alfred Neumann and Joseph Than (Alfred Neumann and Joseph Than were nominated for an Academy Award for Best Story.)
None Shall Escape is a 1944 war film. Even though the film was made during World War II, the setting is a post-war Nuremberg-style war crimes trial. Production began August 31, 1943 and finished October 26, more than eighteen months before the war in Europe ended. About the career of a Nazi officer as shown as flashbacks from his trial as a war criminal, the film will be discussed by film historian, Professor Jan Christopher Horak with Marsha Hunt in person.
There will also be a very special screening of Israel’s beloved, 1966 film musical, “Sheni Kuni Lemel”/ “The Flying Matchmaker” featuring an appearance from L.A. local celebrity and star of the film, Mike Burstyn who starred in the film when he was just 19 years old. This is the first screening of the newly restored print from Israel - the first to be shown in the U.S. LAJFF will honor this classic Israeli star with an award on the first night of the screening for “Sheni Kuni Lemel”. (Learn more here)
Another film definitely to be seen is the first film made by Oscar-winning director of “Son of Saul”, László Nemes. The 2008,14 minute short, “With a Little Patience” will be playing Before “Fever at Dawn” on May 23. Director László Nemes fixes the camera on the evocatively stoic face of a young female office clerk, capturing her every nuance as she methodically goes about her daily routine, which leads to a solemn revelation just outside the window, where a man is waiting. The film premiered at the Venice International Film Festival and was the winner at the 14th Drama International Short Film Festival.
Monday, May 23, 7:30 pm Laemmle’s Music Hall, Beverly Hills Program introduction by Consul General of Hungary, Laszlo Kalman
Another top film here is “The People Vs. Fritz Bauer”. If you saw the German submission for the Academy Award this year, “Labyrinth of Lies” you will know the story, but will find this film much,much more authentic and engrossing. It is the real story of the boss of the young man “Labyrinth” who is the true life hero.
Audience Award Winner at the Locarno International Film Festival, World Premiere Toronto International Film Festival 2015. Cohen Media has U.S. rights.
Its L.A. premiere will be Tuesday, May 24, 7:30 pm Laemmle’s Music Hall
Drama, Germany, 2015, 105 minutes, Director: Lars Kraume, in German with English subtitles
Top German actors Burghart Klaussner (“The White Ribbon”) and Ronald Zehrfeld (“Barbara”, “Phoenix”) star in this riveting historical thriller, which chronicles the staggering efforts of German district attorney Fritz Bauer to bring Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann to justice.
Few figures encapsulate the conflicted character of postwar Germany better than Fritz Bauer, the Attorney General who was instrumental in bringing the elusive Adolf Eichmann to trial in Israel. This film is both a portrait of this complex man and a riveting historical thriller that chronicles the Herculean efforts and tremendous risks undertaken en route to apprehending the chief engineer of the Nazis' Final Solution.
In the late 1950s, Germany flourishes under the economic miracle, and grows increasingly apathetic about confronting the horrors of its recent past. Nevertheless, Fritz Bauer (Burghart Klaussner) relentlessly devotes his energies to bringing the Third Reich to justice. One day Bauer receives a letter from Argentina, with information about Adolf Eichmann. He is excited by the promising lead, but obstructed at every turn by authorities with Nazi ties, many of them former higher-ups under Hitler, now in top government positions. Bauer journeys to Jerusalem to seek alliance with Mossad, the Israeli secret service. This is an act of treason — yet committing treason is the only way Bauer can serve his country.
Fritz Bauer was the Attorney General portrayed in “Labyrinth of Lies.” This is the story that led up to the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trials.
Introduction: Deputy Consul General Stefan Biedermann of the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany. Sponsored by the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany
“A La Vie” / “To Life”
Drama, France, 2014, 104 minutes
Director: Jean-Jacques Zilbermann
Starring: Julie Depardieu, Johanna ter Steege, Suzanne Clément
Audience Award Winner at Warsaw Jewish FF 2015
Breaking Glass has U.S. rights.
Veteran French writer/director Jean-Jacques Zilbermann (“He’s My Girl” - LAJFF 2011) sets his engaging new drama in postwar Paris where Hélène (Julie Depardieu), a young Auschwitz survivor rebuilds her life while searching for her friends from the camp, Lily and Rose (Johanna ter Steege, Suzanne Clément). When the women are finally reunited, they share a watershed vacation in 1962 in a seaside resort, enjoying the intimacies of life, love and faith. This emotionally complex film about the sustaining power of women’s friendship was inspired by the director’s mother and her annual vacation with the friends she made in the camps. Don’t miss this masterful film starring a trio of award-winning actresses.
“Children Of Giant”
Documentary, United States 2015, 85 minutes
Director: Hector Galan
Thursday, May 19 at the Laemmle's Town Center, Encino at 7:30 pm
Marilyn Moss, George Stevens biographer, M.G. Lord, Elizabeth Taylor biographer PLUS Earl Holliman (actor from the film) and Jim Silke join the panel discussion, moderated by Nick Redman.
Sixty years after the Hollywood blockbuster that dared tackle the issue of prejudice against Mexican-Americans, “Children Of Giant” explores the cultural and social legacy of the landmark 1956 drama. Starring a legendary trio—Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean—Giant is the epic story of a powerful West Texas ranching dynasty, and the Anglo-Latino tensions their characters encounter. Edna Ferber, the daughter of a Hungarian-born Jewish storekeeper, whose own encounters with discrimination informed her work, bases the film on the novel. Similarly stirred to address human rights issues after his WWII military service, Oscar-winning director George Stevens embraced the book’s controversial themes of feminism, class division and racism in the post-war American Southwest. The lavish production had an enormous impact on the dusty little town of Marfa, Texas, and the Mexican-Americans who saw it as a first exposure to their second-class status.
Rare behind-the-scenes footage and clips from the movie complement interviews with surviving cast and crew, film historians, as well as residents whose lives mirrored the social issues explored onscreen.
“Golan: A Farewell To Mr. Cinema”
Documentary, UK/Israel, 74 minutes
Directed by Christopher Sykes
Sunday, May 22, 7:00 pm, Laemmle’s Music Hall, Beverly Hills
Speakers for Golan: Farewell to Mr. Cinema. Sam Firstenberg and Sybil Danning.
This film is the final chapter in the extraordinary life and career of Menahem Golan, Israeli movie director, producer, mogul and 'madman'. Golan and his cousin Yoram Globus, pursued the American Dream and turned the Hollywood power structure upside down, producing over 300 films and becoming the most powerful independent film company in the world; Cannon Films. Golan produced movies featuring such stars as Sylvester Stallone, Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Charles Bronson.
In his eighties and living in Jaffa, Golan looks back to his great days in Hollywood, forward to a new blockbuster, and dreams of the Oscar he has always wanted...
“In Search Of Israeli Cuisine”
Documentary, United States 2015, 97 minutes
Thursday, May 19, 7:30 pm Laemmle’s Music Hall, Beverly Hill
Q&A with Amelia Saltsman, cookbook author and personality and Rob Eshman, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of the Jewish Journal.
Sunday, May 22, 4:30 pm, Laemmle’s Town Center, Encino
Q&A with Elana Horwich, owner of Meal with a Spiel
Director: Roger Sherman
Starring: Michael Solomonov
Michael Solomonov, the James Beard award-winning celebrity chef-restaurateur travels across Israel to savor a food revolution rooted in centuries-old tradition. Developed in only the last 30 years and using both ancient farming techniques and high-tech innovations, Israel’s food scene is among the most dynamic in the world. From Tel Aviv’s most exclusive eateries to street bazaars, Israeli-American Solomonov interviews chefs, home cooks, farmers, vintners, and cheese makers drawn from the more than 100 cultures that make up Israel today — Jewish, Arab, Muslim, Christian, and Druze. This journey to his homeland reaffirms that Israeli cuisine is a beautiful and delectable reflection of the country’s unique diversity.
In a gastronomical expedition, celebrity chef-restaurateur Michael Solomonov zigzags Israel to savor a food revolution rooted in centuries-old tradition.
Israel’s food scene is among the most dynamic in the world, extending beyond falafel and hummus to include tasty ethnic and regional specialties. Having won the James Beard award for embracing these authentic flavors, Israeli-American Solomonov returns to his homeland to discover his culinary heritage anew. From Tel Aviv’s most exclusive eateries, to street bazaars, to simmering pots in family kitchens, IN SEARCH OF ISRAELI CUISINE excites the taste buds with multi-cultural recipes passed on and elevated. But even food is not immune to sectarian conflict, as Palestinian cooks chafe when their savory secrets are adapted by Jewish chefs. Equally eye-opening is the story behind the ingredients that Israel produces using both ancient farming techniques and high-tech innovations. Combining a procession of mouthwatering dishes and interviews with chefs, home cooks and farmers of all backgrounds, Oscar-nominated documentarian Roger Sherman presents a diverse portrait of the Israeli people told through the very personal language of food.
Rob Eshman, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of the Jewish Journal, Blog “Foodaism” to lead discussion. Additional guests TBD. Sponsored by the Jewish Journal and the Consulate General of Israel
Food sponsored by Mickey Fine Pharmacy & Grill and YRF Darca
For the full array of programming go to: http://lajfilmfest.org/
About Sydney Levine
Sydney Levine is an executive of longstanding in the international film business. She is a writer of the popular blog on international film business, SydneysBuzz which also has run on Indiewire, IMDbPro and IMDb since 2008 when Amazon acquired her twenty-five year old company FilmFinders. In 1988 Sydney created FilmFinders, the industry’s first database of worldwide features used by distributors, sales agents and festival programmers acquiring features. It became industry standard for organizing and tracking the rights-buying activities of the film business and was adopted by the Cannes Marché and developed into what today is called Cinando.com. She and her partner, Peter Belsito continue to provide consulting and strategic planning for producers, national film organizations and other educational initiatives in international film business at Cannes, Toronto, Sundance, Germany's Deutsche Welle Akademie, Talents in Berlin, Sarajevo, and Guadalajara, EICTV the international film school in Los Banos, Cuba, Chapman University, UCLA Extension, Vilnius University, et. al. She organizes, moderates and participates in panel discussions on the international film business, as well as producing white paper research and reports on SydneysBuzz.com. Sydney works with the markets in Cannes and Berlin in administering buyers’ data for North America, Latin America and Asia and gives tours of the market to newcomers. She opens the Cannes Shorts Corner with a presentation on The International Film Circuit for shorts. She has currently completed a book about Latin American Film Financing published in Spanish by the Guadalajara University Press. The English version on the Iberoamerican Film Business will be published in the fall of 2016.
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