Running a film festival illuminatinng the Jewish diaspora across far flung corners of the world is no easy task. Running such a festival during a global pandemic, when most of these corners have been closed off from the world, is even harder.
Luckily, this year the Jewish International Film Festival (JIFF) is utilising the power of cinema to transport and inspire film goers who are stuck at home.
We spoke to Festival Director Lindy Tamir about the unique challenges and opportunities that JIFF 2021 presented:
Hi Lindy, lovely to be speaking with you. Could you please explain to our audience your role in the Jewish International Film Festival (JIFF)?
I am Lindy Tamir, the director of the Jewish International Film Festival (JIFF). Alongside Eddie, the artistic director, I view the 300 films a year to select 50 films for JIFF.
Serving as a director of a film festival amidst a global pandemic must have been a daunting task. What were the key challenges to bringing the festival to life under such unpredictable circumstances?
We managed a trip to the Berlinale 2020, where we secured many titles. Cannes and Toronto were online film festival,s and film makers and sales agents sent us films to view on secure links. We are excited to be proceeding as an in-cinema film festival.
Covid-19 certainly has brought some unique challenges this year. As the Coronavirus continues to take a heavy toll on the cinema industry, in what ways do you hope JIFF will help support and preserve the cinema-going experience?
We are proud to be supporting the film makers and the industry by paying generous screening fees.
This year’s festival features films premiering from Australia and across the world. What were your main considerations when curating this year’s program?
We stuck to our philosophy of playing Australian premieres. We split our selection evenly between documentaries and features. We always include new series with whole binge Sundays. This year we represent films with Jewish themes or characters from 19 countries.
How important was it to represent the Jewish diaspora through the film’s selected?
It is exciting to run JIFF as Jewish stories come from many countries. Israel has a robust film industry. We have a high proportion of French, German, Russian and Italian films.
What is something unique that audiences can expect from this year’s Jewish International Film Festival?
Unique this year is the Israeli film Incitement, which is our opening night feature. It is so relevant to the politics of the world currently.
Do you have any personal recommendations or hidden gems you’d like to share from this year’s Fest?
A hidden gem is the Alan Pakula documentary: Alan Pakula: Going for Truth. An excellent documentary about the filmmaker of some of the greatest films; To Kill a Mocking Bird, All the President’s Men, Sophie’s Choice.
In what promises to be another exciting year for Jewish cinema, JIFF 2021 is running in Perth from February 18 - March 3 2021 at Luna Palace Leederville.
Here at Perth Underground, we can’t wait to check out Here We Are, which was part of the Official Selection at Cannes Film Festival, and Asia, which won the Ophir Award in 2020. Also keep a lookout for the documentary film Soros about billionaire investor and activist George Soros -it’s sure to be a rivetig and probing look at a complicated genius.
For session times and tickets, please visit: https://www.jiff.com.au/. See you at the movies!