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29th Israel Film Festival Takes Early Lead On Academy Award Campaign Trail

"Baba Joon," Israel’s entry to the 2016 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film, will open the Israel Film Festival.

Posted: Tuesday, October 20, 2015 – 2:17 PM

Twenty-nine narrative and documentary films, including three 2016 Oscar contenders, 10 world premieres, seven U.S. premieres and seven L.A. premieres, will screen at the 29th Israel Film Festival, the largest showcase of Israeli films and TV programming in the U.S.

Described by festival founder Meir Fenigstein as “an extraordinary range of award-winning, critically praised and commercially successful Israeli films and Academy Award contenders,” the programs will be screened Wednesday, Oct. 28-Thursday, Nov. 19 by Laemmle (Beverly Hills), the Laemmle Music Hall 3 (Beverly Hills), the Laemmle Royal (West Los Angeles), the Laemmle Town Center 5 (Encino) and Laemmle NoHo 7 (North Hollywood), with the opening night at the Steve Tisch Cinema Center in the Saban Theatre, 8440 Wilshire Blvd.

Dr. Sharon S. Nazarian, president of the Y&S Nazarian Family Foundation, will receive the 2015 IFF Humanitarian Award. With a regional office in Israel named the Ima Foundation, the Foundation’s focus on education and public policy is core to Nazarian’s philanthropic perspective.

She is an adjunct professor in UCLA’s political science department, founder of the Younes & Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies at UCLA and chair of its advisory board. The center is housed in UCLA’s International Institute to provide a systematic and academic study of Israel.

As previously announced, actress Helen Mirren will receive the 2015 IFF Career Achievement Award and Aaron Sorkin will be honored with the 2015 IFF Achievement in Film & Television Award at the Opening Night Gala, Wednesday, Oc 28th at the Steve Tisch Cinema Center at the Saban Theatre.

Among this year’s highlights are Baba Joon, Israel’s entry to the 2016 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film and winner of the Israel Academy Ophir Award for Best Picture, which will be the Opening Night film, and a special tribute screening of Woman in Gold, starring Mirren, on Sunday, Oct. 31 at the Ahrya Fine Arts in Beverly Hills. Israeli actors and filmmakers are set to attend this year’s fFestival, accompanying their films and participating in Q & A sessions, including:

10% My Child: Uri Bar-On – writer/director/ producer

Afterthought: Elad Keidan – director

Baba Joon: Yuval Delshad– writer/director; David Silber – producer; Navid Negahban – actor/producer; David Diann – actor

Encirclements: Lee Gilat – writer/director

Fauda: Lior Raz – actor/writer

Fire Birds: Amir Wolf– writer/director; Isaac Wolf – writer

Galis: Yoni Paran– producer

Hagiga La’Ainanim: Arik Bernstein – producer

Ibiza: Shay Kanot – director; Ofer Naim – producer

Marrying An Ice Cream Factory: Ranni Midyan – director Sabena: Nati Dinnar – producer

“For the first time ever, nearly 100 percent of the best films chosen this year by the members of Israeli Academy of Film and Television, including writing, directing, producing and acting winners and nominees of the Ophir Award, Israel’s equivalent of the Academy Award, will screen at the Israel Film Festival in Los Angeles,” said Fenigstein, IFF’s exeutive director.  “On top of that, the festival has truly become one of Hollywood’s first stopping points during the Academy Award campaign season to showcase Oscar contenders.”

Tickets, including theater locations, dates and times, are available at  For information, call the IsraFest Foundation, Inc. at 310-247-1800 or email

For nearly three decades, the festival has presented more than 900 feature films, documentaries, television dramas and short films to 950,000 filmgoers and brought hundreds of Israeli filmmakers to the U.St.  The festival is produced by IsraFest Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization created in 1982. 

About The Feature Films

Baba Joon – באבא ג’ון – U.S. premiere

Yitzhak runs the turkey farm his father built with his own two hands after they emigrated from Iran to Israel. When his son Moti turns 13, Yitzhak teaches him the trade, hoping the will continue the proud family tradition. But Moti doesn’t like working in the turkey barn; his passion is fixing up junkyard cars and bringing them back to life.

Moti’s mother Sarah tries to reconcile between the two, while his grandfather pushes Yitzhak to take a firm hand with his son. Yitzhak takes Moti’s refusal to work in the turkey barn as a personal rejection. Though he loves his son dearly, he makes it his mission to impose the family farm on Moti.

The arrival of Darius, the uncle from America, sets off a chain of events that will undermine the familial harmony. Soon enough Yitzhak will learn that his son is just as stubborn as he is. The conflict is inevitable.

Post Q&A with filmmakers: Yuval Delshad, writer/director; David Silber, producer; Navid Negahban, actor/producer; David Diann, actor.

2015 Toronto International Film Festival – Official Selection 2015 Israeli Academy Ophir Awards – Winner Best Picture Israel’s entry for the 2016 Oscar Awards in the Best Foreign Language Film category

10% My Child – 10% ילדה שלי – L.A. premiere. Director: Uri Bar-On

When 8-year-old Franny discovers the 26-year-old Nico in her mother’s bed, they get off to a bad start. 

While Nico tries to woo Franny’s mom, Franny gets stuck between her mother, her jealous father and Nico who has now been appointed official babysitter. 

Will Nico be able to win Franny’s mom’s heart and Franny’s affection? How will Franny and Nico find a common ground in the heart of bustling Tel-Aviv?

In this sweet drama of a love/hate relationship, Franny and Nico learn to love and hate one another – usually at the same time…

Post Q&A with filmmaker: Uri Bar-On, writer/directo/producer

Afterthought  – היורד למעלה – U.S. premiere. Director: Elad Keidan

Haifa on a sunny day. Moshe is a crumbling man walking up the Carmel Mountain on yet another work day. Will this day mark his collapse?

Uri walks down the mountain to board a ship and leave behind all the things he loves and despises. His sense of belonging is losing ground. He is likely to miss his military reserve service-call, thus risking jail.

Will the two collide or pass through one another? An existential comedy, where the overbearing mountain with its endless stairs takes control over destinies in this unique panorama of the Mediterranean port city.

Post Q&A with filmmaker: Elad Keidan, director. 2015 Cannes Film Festival – Official Selection 2015 Haifa Film Festival – Winner Best Picture 2015 Israeli Academy Ophir Awards – Nominee

Barash – ברש – L.A. premiere. Director: Michal Vinik

A girl falling in love. A family falling apart. 17-year-old Naama Barash enjoys alcohol, drugs and hanging out with like-minded friends. Her activities are an escape from a home where her parents always fight, and a rebellious, army-enrolled sister, who, one day, disappears.

As a new girl shows up at school, Barash falls deep in love for the first time, and the intensity of the experience at once confuses her and gives her life new meaning.

Encirclements – הקפות – L.A. premiere. Director: Lee Gilat

Thirteen year old Aharon Ninio, the only child of parents who are unable to conceive again, is determined to win the honor of carrying the Torah scrolls on Simhat Torah. The belief that he who carries the Torah may ask God for anything on behalf of others can elevate Aharon’s status in the neighborhood and win his distant father’s approval and love.

But after Aharon wins the honor, his achievement brings ancient tensions to the surface. The tension becomes unbearable and on the night of the honorary round, the Torah slips from his hands and shatters on the ground and the symbolic, happy ceremony becomes a life-threatening struggle.

Encirclements uses cultural and religious rituals to depict the kind of private ceremonial traditions that exist in every family – all within the tumultuous and humor-filled life of people who are on the margins of society.

Post Q&A with filmmaker: Lee Gilat, writer/director. 2015 Toronto Jewish Film Festival – Official Selection

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