Thursday, November 10, 2011




November 10th - November 17th

The Other Israeli Film Festival (yes, that is its actual name) features films with an Arab/Israeli focus.

Below is a short list of trailers for some of the films. Following that is a description by the Festival of all the films.

One very interesting, but possibly somewhat problematic feature of the Festival is that there is, on-line, a section with streaming videos of films, some that are in the Festival and some that are not in the Festival but are related -- for example they may be made by actors or filmmakers who have films in the Festival. Unfortunately, this site requires registration, and has a very complex set of TERMS OF USE, which seemed possibly objectionable, and was too complicated for me to agree to, and I strongly suggest carefully checking it before you register for the site. Note that some of the films on this site are free, but many are not free, costing slightly more than a day's rental from Blockbuster.

The quality of the films is mixed. Many of the films are long in heart, but a number of films could would benefit from better production values. Israel would do well to put more money into the production values of independent films that promote the values and visions of Israeli filmmakers.  More sublety and better visual quality would help empower international distribution of these films. 

Festival site:

For the complete program, see:

Tickets for the Other Israel Film Festival are on sale 

by phone
-- 646-505-5708.





Lost Paradise is a very interesting short film, highlighting the universality of humanity when in their raw flesh, but when in their customary wardrobe for their everyday world, perhaps universality takes more effort.

Lost Paradise - Trailer from Oded Binnun עודד בן נון on Vimeo.

Here is the Festival's description of the films and the program:

November 10th - November 17th

For the complete program, see:

The Other Israel Film Festival will present award-winning films and NY premieres by and about Arab citizens of Israel, as well as other minority populations in Israeli society.

The festival goes beyond the films with in-depth high profile conversations in the SpeakEasy Cafe.

This year’s festival will feature narratives and documentaries dealing with community and identity, social revolution and the experience of women, often autobiographical to the filmmakers.

Highlights of this year’s festival films include the U.S. premiere of the BAFTA-nominated British drama: The Promise. This epic mini series captures the British perspective on the establishment of the state of Israel as the mandate occupying Palestine. The series shows the relevance of the British Mandate of 1920 to the Palestinian question of today.

In addition, the festival will premiere award-winning films such as Eitan Tzur’s thriller Naomi. A favorite at the Venice Film Festival, the film has received international acclaim for combining suspense and comedy with subtle social statements.

Also among the festival’s award-winning documentaries, opening night film Dolphin Boy as well as The Human Turbine touch on environmental topics that pertain to Jewish and Arab societies in Israel.

Festival founder Carole Zabar notes the Dutch documentary Shout as “a rare opportunity to see inside the tumultuous Syrian society, as two Palestinians who grew up in Israel spend a year of school in Syria.”

The Festival will also once again present panels and conversations with soon to be announced filmmakers, scholars and special guests in the Other Israel SpeakEasy Café. Last year’s SpeakEasy guests included Oscar nominee Debra Winger, NY1’s Neil Rosen, renowned historian Professor Benny Morris and best-selling author Naomi Regan amongst many more directors, writers and actors.

The SpeakEasy Café aims to take the conversation beyond the films and provide a platform for in-depth discussions and audience interaction with filmmakers and protagonists.

Tickets for the Other Israel Film Festival are on sale

online --
by phone -- 646-505-5708.


77 STEPS (NYC Premiere) Ibtisam Mara'ana / 2010 / Documentary / 56 min
The personal journey of the director, Ibtisam Mara'ana, who leaves her Arab-Muslim village and moves to Tel-Aviv. In an attempt to find an apartment in the city, she encounters discrimination and refusal by most landlords because of her Arab origins. She finally finds an apartment, and meets her neighbor – Jonathan, a Jewish-Canadian man who immigrated to Israel. A love story evolves as they both search for a sense of belonging and home, on the background of social and political turbulence.

A PLACE OF HER OWN (NYC Premiere) Sigal Emanuel / 2011 / Documentary / 68 min
This documentary was filmed over the course of four years and follows Reut, a teenager who spent most of her life moving between institutions and living on the street. The film opens when Reut is seventeen and giving birth to her first son, who is immediately taken away by welfare authorities. Reut’s battle with the State for custody of her son leads her to forge a relationship with his foster family – religious Jews who live in a settlement in the Occupied Territories. Meanwhile, Reut meets and marries a Palestinian man, moves to his village and has two more children. Reut is an introverted and intriguing character who longs for stability and a place to call home. Instead, life hands her surprising twists and turns, right up to its tragic end.

DAVID AND KAMAL (NY Premiere) Kikuo Kawasaki / Drama / 2010 / 78 min
David & Kamal is about two nine-year old boys – Kamal, an Arab Jerusalemite and David, an American Jew. David and Kamal meet in Jerusalem's Old City where Kamal is dodging bullies and trying to sell postcards. When Kamal sees David he assumes David is carrying a lot of money and pickpockets him. David chases after Kamal but runs into Kamal's tormentors. Kamal turns around and saves David and the boys escape together. Rooftop chases, secret passageways, and police cars and soldiers bring action to David and Kamal's adventure of a lifetime.

DOLPHIN BOY (NYC Premiere) Dani Menkin & Yonatan Nir / 2011 / Documentary / 72 min
After being brutally tortured by his classmates, Morad - a teenaged boy from an Arab village in the North of Israel - is suffering from a severe post-traumatic shock, disconnecting himself from the world around him. When told by doctors that dolphin-assisted therapy is the last treatment option, Morad's father leaves his job and family to move to Dolphin Reef on the Red Sea, vowing not to return unless the boy achieves full recovery. Surrounded by a dedicated doctor, new friends, and an Israeli Jewish girlfriend, Morad and his father embark on a remarkable four-year journey of recovery. This is the tale of a parent’s patient and tender love, and the friendship between a teenager and the group of dolphins who helped him heal.


HOMECOMING (NYC Premiere) Orna Ben Dor and Noa Maiman / 2011 / Documentary / 58 min
Homecoming follows three non-Jewish Israeli teens who were born in Israel to foreign workers. The film follows the teenagers as they visit their parents homes; in the Congo, Peru and the Philippines. Away from Israel and meeting their extended families for the first time, the kids are confronted with questions about the meaning of and about their own identities. This film deals with the politics of immigration and culture through a profoundly personal lens and is particularly timely as Israel has recently begun to deport illegal foreign workers and their Israeli-born children.

THE HUMAN TURBINE (US Premiere) Danny Verete / 2010 / Documentary / 54 min
The Human Turbine takes us to Susia, a Palestinian village in the Hebron Mountains. There, in a village surrounded by Jewish settlements, villagers and Jews have come together to generate resources that neither the Palestinian Authorities nor Israel provides. Together, this group has harnessed wind and solar energy to bring electricity to the caves and tents in which the villagers live. Now, they want to use renewable energy to provide running water to the residents of Susia. This film documents both the remarkable and enterprising efforts of this collaboration and the depth of the collaborators’ friendship.

LOST PARADISE A selection of cutting edge, award winning & engaging short films:
Lost Paradise Mihal Brezis & Oded Binnun / 2008 / Narrative / 10 min
A man and a woman are tenderly making love in a one-star hotel room. A moment later, when they are fully dressed, the idyll that seemed authentic is now gone.
Transparent Black (NYC Premiere) Roni Geffen / 2010 / Documentary / 20 min
African refugees attending a Hebrew class receive lessons in what it means to be Israel.
Stitches (US Premiere) Dana Keider / 2009 / Drama / 24 min
Nadine, an Arab young working fruit picker, is engaged to be married. While her mother sews her wedding dress, Nadine’s heart goes out to Shachar, her Jewish foreman. The two lead a forbidden love affair which forces Nadine to confront her reality.
*Adult Content

MY LOVELY SISTER (Special Limited Presentation. By Invitation Only) Marco Carmel / 2011 / Narrative / 91 min
A whimsical tale of the rivalry between superstitious Rahma and her sister Mary who followed her heart and married an Arab man. Starring Moshe Ivgy, Evelin HaGoel and Reymonde Amsellem, the film is based on a Jewish Moroccan folktale.


NAOMI (HITPARTZUT X) (NYC Premiere) Eitan Tzur / 2010 / Narrative / 90 min
This award winning thriller takes place in the mixed city of Haifa. Ilan Ben Natan, a 58-year-old Astrophysics Professor, is obsessively in love with his young wife, Naomi. When Ilan discovers that his deepest fears have come true – Naomi has a lover – he is unable to control himself. He confronts the lover and commits a horrible act, the consequences of which will weigh heavily on his conscience.

NEW VOICES: YELLOW MUMS (US Premiere) Firas Khoury / 2010 / Drama / 35 min
Nizar (9) is a young Palestinian introverted altar boy and a social outcast. During this years' Easter, Nizar decides to compete with the village children in the traditional "breaking eggs" games. He is cheating his way to win, all for the sake of Jesus. It would be the first time Nizar questions his faith.

DUSTY ROAD (US Premiere) Rukaya Sabbah / 2010 / Drama / 25 min
An unexpected meeting between 13 year old Tamer and Khalil, an old man who suffers post traumatic stress disorder, leads to a special friendship. A kid in Tamer's class does everything to ruin this friendship. And a sneak preview of a new film starring Mohammad Bakri.

THE OFFICE (US Premiere) Eitan Tzur / 2010 / TV Satire / 50 min
New episodes from the Israeli adaptation of the world famous comedy. The office is a microcosm of Israeli society, where an orthodox woman, Arab man, Russian immigrant, and gay man work under one roof with a useless, non-pc boss. Based upon the original series produced for the BBC, and created, written and devised by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant.

THE PROMISE (US Premiere) Peter Kosminsky / 2011 / Narrative / 81 min Episode 1
In this groundbreaking Channel 4 Production, we follow the period leading up to Israel's establishment, mirrored in the ramifications in Israel today. Told through a young woman visiting Israel for the fist time, reading her grandfather's diary detailing his life as a soldier serving in British Mandate Palestine.

SHOUT (US Premiere) Sabine Lubbe Bakker, Ester Gould / 2010 / Documentary / 75 min
Young ‘Golanis’ – Druze born on the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights – are given an opportunity to study in their parents’ homeland: Syria. Full of self-confidence, best friends Ezat and Bayan leave their village to discover their Arab roots. But Damascus proves to be a colorless metropolis where they often feel far from home. Shout is a film about friendship in one of the world’s forgotten conflict zones; a documentary about growing up and the search for identity and a sense of belonging.

TORN (NY Premiere) Ronit Kertsner / 2011 / Documentary / 52 min
Only twelve years after being ordained as Catholic priest Romuald Waszkinel learned that he was born to Jewish parents. The film follows Waszkinel from his church in Poland to a religious kibbutz in Israel. Waszkinel does not reject his Catholicism in favor of Judaism—instead he struggles with two identities, unable to renounce either. But though Waszkinel embraces both Judaism and Catholicism, the religions and the state of Israel refuse him. Can Waszkinel remain a Catholic priest and be an observant Jew at the same time?


OPENING NIGHT GALA Thu. Nov. 10, 7:30pm @ The JCC in Manhattan


DOLPHIN BOY (NYC Premiere) Dani Menkin & Yonatan Nir / 2011 / Documentary / 72 min Followed by an exclusive reception with guest filmmakers and honorees.

NEW GENERATIONS DINNER Fri. Nov. 11, 7pm @ The JCC in Manhattan
Join the New Israel Fund's New Generations and other young leadership groups for a Shabbat dinner and intimate discussion with festival guests. Co-presented by New Israel Fund

Join Other Israel and The Taub Center for Israel Studies at NYU in special presentation of two festival favorites and in-depth conversation with the filmmakers, protagonists, and renowned scholars.

77 STEPS (see films listing for description) Sunday, Nov. 13, 3pm @ First Floor Screening Room, NYU King Juan Carlos Center (53 Washington Square South) Followed by panel discussion of the recently published book Israel's Palestinians, The Conflict Within with the co-authors, Ilan Peleg and Dov Waxman, and director of 77 STEPS Ibtisam Mara'ana and other participants.

DOLPHIN BOY (see films listing for description) Tuesday, Nov. 15, 7pm @ Jurow Lecture Hall, NYU Silver Center (100 Washington Square East, entrance on Waverly Place) Followed by panel discussion with producer Judith Manassen Ramon and protagonist Dr. Ilan Kutz.

Saturday, Nov. 12

Snow in Jerusalem
2pm at the JCC in Manhattan

Story-telling from Deborah Da Costa's book, telling the story of Avi and Hamudi, two boys who live in Jerusalem's Old City, unknowingly caring for the same beautiful white stray cat.

FREE. Recommended for ages 5-10.

David and Kamal
4pm at the JCC in Manhattan
A screening of Kikuo Kawasaki’s feature drama. See films listing (above) for the description.

FREE. Recommended for ages 10+.


ABOUT THE OTHER ISRAEL FILM FESTIVAL Founded in 2007, The Other Israel Film Festival uses film to foster social awareness and cultural understanding. The Festival presents dramatic and documentary films, as well as engaging panels about history, culture, and identity on the topic of minority populations in Israel with a focus on Arab/Palestinian citizens of Israel, who make up twenty percent of Israel’s population. Our goal is to promote awareness and appreciation of the diversity of the state of Israel, provide a dynamic and inclusive forum for exploration of, and dialog about populations in margins of Israeli society, and encourage cinematic expression and creativity dealing with these themes. Our programming is guided by our mission to showcase quality cinema that brings to the big screen the human stories and daily lives of Arab Citizens and other minorities groups in Israel, often overlooked by mainstream Israeli society and culture.

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