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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved. 


 

February 12, 2013  RSS feed
Front Page

Text: T T T

U.S. premiere of ‘unusual buddy movie’ to open 17th Tampa Bay Jewish Film Festival


A scene from Zaytoun, a story of a Palestinian boy and a downed Israeli pilot on an unlikely quest together to reach Israel. For more about the movie, see page 20. A scene from Zaytoun, a story of a Palestinian boy and a downed Israeli pilot on an unlikely quest together to reach Israel. For more about the movie, see page 20. A scene from

Zaytoun, a story of a Palestinian boy and a downed Israeli pilot on an unlikely quest together to reach

Israel.

For more about the movie, see page 20.

By BOB FRYER

Jewish Press

There will be plenty of drama, some comedy, great cinematography and compelling storytelling when a dozen feature films and two shorts are shown next month during the 17th annual Tampa Bay Jewish Film Festival.

The celebration of cinematic arts kicks off with an opening night gala at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa on Thursday, March 7. The festival runs through March 19. The films will be shown at a variety of venues in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties – including new ones in Palm Harbor and northwest Hillsborough County.

“We are excited that we have a lot of quality movies this year, as we have in past years,” said Dr. Stuart Novick of Tampa who co-chairs the festival with Dr. Loni Shelef of Clearwater.

The Film Festival is truly a Tampa Bay area collaboration with the Tampa Jewish Community Center & Federation, JCC Suncoast, and The Jewish Federation of Pinellas and Pasco Counties serving as co-sponsors. Bright House Networks is the festival’s presenting sponsor.

“We hope the community gets behind the festival and comes out to enjoy the films and be entertained and educated. We keep getting better and expanding and we hope for a good turnout on opening night,”


A scene from “Room 514,” an Israeli drama, which will be shown on Saturday, March 9 in Tampa. A determined female military investigator takes on the complex case of an officer who may have exceeded his authority while also tackling sexism. The fact that the actors have all served in real life in the Israel Defense Force adds an authentic nature to the characters. A scene from “Room 514,” an Israeli drama, which will be shown on Saturday, March 9 in Tampa. A determined female military investigator takes on the complex case of an officer who may have exceeded his authority while also tackling sexism. The fact that the actors have all served in real life in the Israel Defense Force adds an authentic nature to the characters. Novick said.

Opening night ceremonies take place in Ferguson Hall.

Doors open at 7 p.m. and the program begins at 7:30 p.m. with the annual presentation of the Starr Award, named after co-founder and current chair emeritus, Jesse Starr. This year’s recipients are Rina Donchin of Tampa and Mindy Solomon of Dunedin, in tribute for their many years of dedication to the film festival.

The opening night feature film is Zaytoun, an epic drama by leading Israeli director Eran Riklis (Lemon Tree, The Syrian Bride).

Making its U.S. premiere at the Tampa Bay Jewish Film Festival, the film was runner-up in the Audience Award competition when it made its world premiere last September at the Toronto International Film Festival.

“A proud Palestinian refugee and an Israeli air force pilot form an unlikely bond in this unusual buddy movie,” states a review by the Hollywood Reporter, which calls Zaytoun “a warm-hearted and well-intentioned movie that will appeal to audiences of all ages…” (For more, see Page 20)

The short film, One Family’s History: Surviving the Holocaust, by aspiring filmmaker Sally Rabinowitz of Boca Raton, also will be shown. Rabinowitz is the daughter of former University of South Florida professor Richard Rabinowitz and granddaughter of Holocaust survivors. In her film, she tells the story of how Ernst Leitz, a German whose family founded the Leica camera company, helped save her family.

Opening night festivities conclude in the Ferguson Hall lobby with a dessert reception.

Directors from Israel, France, the United Kingdom, Austria and the United States, are included in this year’s movie lineup.

In addition to the Rabinowitz short, the festival includes another one, Two Jews go to the Fair, by Dr. Rob Norman of Tampa. The film festival did not have a short film contest this year, but in years past Norman was a contest winner and he was also a sponsor of the contest for five years, said Brandy Gold, film festival director. His film is a three-minute comedy about two Jews visiting the Florida

State Fair.

Festival venues in Hillsborough County are the Straz, AMC Veterans 24, the University of South Florida and Congregation Beth Israel in Sun City Center. In Pinellas County, films will be shown at the Capitol Theater in Clearwater, Eckerd College, Muvico Theaters Baywalk in downtown St. Petersburg and Muvico 10 Theatres in Palm Harbor.

Audience choice picks such as Divorce Invitations — the comedic tale of a man who seeks a divorce, but is confounded by a pre-nup clause — and Room 514 — about an Israeli military police investigator who gets tangled in a politically explosive case —are expected to impress filmgoers. So too, are the artistic documentary, Portrait of Wally, about Nazi plundered artwork, and Hava Nagila (the movie).

“Get ready for the largest Hora that Tampa has ever seen,” said co-chair Novick of Hava Nagila. The movie is the recipient of numerous audience choice awards and has opened in more than 15 films festival across the United States.

Other rich storylines include a coming-of-age tale of two socially excluded girls who learn the power of friendship in Foreign Letters and, in Dolphin Boy, the emotional healing of a severely beaten Arab boy when he undergoes therapy with a dolphin.

Admission is $15 for the opening night films and $8 for all others shown during the festival.

For more information on the films and venues, see ad, pages 10-11. To purchase tickets, go to www.TBJFF.org.

This year, organizations sponsoring a movie include Hadassah and Hillels of Florida Suncoast. To become a sponsor or patron, contact Brandy Gold at (813) 769- 4725.


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