Movie lovers rejoice as the sixth annual Jewish Eye World Film Festival takes place in Ashkelon (at the Cinematheque of the International Conference Centre of the Ashkelon College, to be exact) for the third time.
Monday night sees the festival's gala opening and in attendance will be: Limor Livnat (Minister for Culture and Sports), Benny Vaknin (Mayor of Ashkelon), Luigi Mattiolo (Italian Ambassador to Israel) as well as directors, producers and actors from both Israel and abroad. This year's guest of honor is the well-known Italian film director Liliana Cavani, who will present her film on Albert Einstein, aptly titled Einstein. A number of films will be using Einstein as their subject; particularly as the Jewish Eye World Film Festival is using this as a platform to celebrate the 130th anniversary of his birth.
During the nine days of the festival, 84 Jewish films from 24 countries will be shown - and there will be a competition in three film categories: movies/full length feature films, full length documentary films and documentary films/short dramas.
This year the festival focuses on presentations that mark important events in the history of the Jewish people and of the State of Israel. In addition to the 130th anniversary of the birth of Einstein, there are other milestones acknowledged by productions at the festival: 150 years since the birth of Sholom Aleichem, 80 years since the establishment of the Jewish Agency, 80 years since the emigration from Libya to Israel, the Jewish heritage of Morocco in memory of Jo Amar and also films celebrating the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Tel Aviv. The festival will conclude with a marathon of 22 Israeli films.
Promoters Oded Guy and Gadi Kastel feel that the Jewish Eye festival is concerned with collecting the best Jewish films from Israel and the wider world and their screening before the Israeli public, as well as guests from outside. "The films," say the producers, "were chosen out of literally hundreds of films on Jewish subjects." They point out that in comparison with other film festivals, the criteria for receipt of films to this festival or the competition is not the weightiness or artistry, rather their intrinsic Jewish value. Guy and Castel explain that "the festival deals with neither the Israeli-Palestinian dispute in particular, nor the wider Israeli-Arab conflict. A more important idea of a 'Jewish film' is that it deals with Jewish identity, history, culture, Israeli community, humor, music, art and more."
The Jewish Eye festival is also important for Ashkelon itself. It helps to put this coastal town on the map, in terms of hosting a big and important film festival. So, if you want to share in Ashkelon's pride, take a visit to the Jewish Eye World Film Festival and enjoy a wide variety of films from Israel and across the globe.
The Jewish Eye World Film Festival runs through till October 27. For more info visit www.jewisheye.org.il