When I returned to London in 2011, I moved into a shared flat with a lovely Israeli girl. I’ll be honest with you, when she told me that she was from Tel Aviv, I’m not sure I even knew a place called Tel Aviv existed, let alone that it was in Israel. I had certainly never knowingly had a Jewish friend. Shameful, I know. However, since striking up a strong friendship with my housemate, I have immersed myself in Jewish culture, both home and away: holidaying in TLV for the past two summers, lighting the Menorah during Hanukkah (next to the Christmas tree), reading from the Hagada during the Passover Seder, and partying all night in the karahana of a Jewish wedding in Jaffa. And so, when my friend asked me if I wanted to get involved in the UK Jewish Film Festival this year, how could I say no?!
I recently attended the Press Launch for this year’s UK JF Festival. Beginning with a gourmet feast of hummus, falafels, pitta breads and fresh fruit juices, I was transported back to those dreamy summer days where I was dining out by the beach in TLV. But, UK Jewish Film is not just about life in Israel; it is about the films that have been written, or produced, or directed, or cast by Jewish people; or films that give an insight into Jewish history, or Jewish culture of past times and the modern day.
This year, the UKJF Festival will be screening more than 70 films throughout London, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and Glasgow; films that will grip you, films that will make you laugh, films that will educate you, films that will captivate you, films that will transport you.
The festival launches tonight in London and Manchester with what is sure to be a star-studded gala reception and the UK premiere of ‘The Jewish Cardinal’. Over the next few weeks, I shall be attending a selection of festival screenings in London and writing about them here on BATC, as well as raising a glass or two, to join in with the national celebration of Jewish film.
To take a look at this year’s festival programme, please click here.