On May 18th 2016, at the Steve Tisch Cinema Center at the Saban Theatre, Beverly Hills, headed by Hilary Helstein, LAJFF Director, sponsored by the Laemmle Theatres and with many longtime supporters, the 11th LAJFF opening night took place honoring the Laemmle Family of the Laemmle Theatres for bringing the best in Jewish cinema and arthouse films to neighborhoods throughout the Los Angeles area for more than 75 years.
LAJFF’s mission is to bring to the audience the most compelling Jewish stories that concern us, as Jews and citizens. This year the Festival includes Israeli films, meaning bringing closer together the Diaspora and Israel through the art.
At the Festival opening night, a premier in North America, in partnership with Keshet International and Tender Productions, with two of the series’ actors, Ania Bukstein and Angel Bonanni attending, sponsored by Temple of the Arts and the Consulate General of Israel, featured two episodes of the Israeli series “False Flag” (Kfulim). The series’ story is rooted in the assassination of Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh that took place on January 19th, 2010, in a Dubai hotel room. Al-Mabhouh—a co-founder of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Islamist Arab-Palestinian Hamas—was wanted by the Israeli government for the kidnapping and murder of two Israeli soldiers in 1989, as well as the purchasing arms from Iran for use in the terrorists’ enclave, Gaza; though Al-Mabhouh assassination attracted international attention, in part due to the allegations that it was ordered by the government of Israel and was carried out by Mossad agents holding fake or fraudulently obtained passports from several European countries and Australia, this terrorist also had other enemies, including Fatah. In 2003 he had spent in prison in Egypt and was being sought by Jordanian intelligence.
The series, riveting spy thriller that gets your imagination going, has been created by Amit Cohen and Maria Feldman. It follows five Israeli citizens who, overnight, find themselves plunged into a gripping international espionage affair. These five ordinary people who were going about their daily business, wake up one morning to discover that they are implicated in a ruthless kidnapping operation following the disappearance of the Iranian Defense Minister while he was on a secret visit to Moscow. News bulletins repeatedly flash their names and passport photos on screen, linking them to the kidnapping.
The LAJFF has become a landmark of Jewish expression. It brings innovative and compelling artistic expression of related to and Jewish stories that move the audience. From its inception is has been leaving for us a remarkable legacy.
The Laemmle Theatres, a 3rd generation family business since in 1938, is the home for the LAJFF. This unique theatres’ chain takes on showing unique, of great quality, independent, ground breaking and important films no one wants to show and the ones you cannot watch elsewhere. These films are American as well as international, many with subtitles, what one calls “educating” films.
Legacy means obligation. From year to year LAJFF leaves for future generations’ genuine artistic legacy that enriches Jewish culture, helps expand the Jewish art of films and introduces Jewish culture and artistic film talent to the entire world.