The Israel Film Center STREAM, one of the most comprehensive streaming sites for high-quality Israeli and Jewish-interest films in the US, has added new and varied titles and is planning several upcoming online and in-person events, including a film festival for Passover.
Israel Film Center STREAM is part of the Israel Film Center (IFC) at the Marlene Meyerson JCC on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, which features a huge number of innovative film programs and festivals, much of which are now available to stream.
IFC director Isaac Zablocki, who is also the director of the Carole Zabar Center for Film at the JCC (yes, she’s Carole Zabar of Zabar’s, the legendary New York gourmet food emporium), has created a streaming service available in the US that is “very curated. It offers diverse films, both rare movies and more mainstream ones, but the key is high-quality films.”
It is Zablocki who does the curating and he is an expert in Israeli and Jewish-themed films. Pre-pandemic, he attended almost every film festival held in Israel, to find the best movies for the IFC, as did Zabar.
IFC STREAM features hundreds of Israeli and Jewish-interest films, both recent movies and classics. Viewers can simply pay and watch each film that they wish to see without a monthly membership fee, so it can be a very economical way to keep up with the Israeli/Jewish film scene. There is also a subscription option available for $18 per month.
IFC STREAM has just added several interesting titles to the over 100 titles it offered previously. Among the new Israeli titles are two films by Eytan Fox, Yossi (2012), the sequel to Yossi & Jagger, which picks up 10 years later when Yossi (Ohad Knoller) is a doctor still living a closeted life in Tel Aviv; and Cupcakes (2013), about a group of friends who collaborate on a song that becomes Israel’s entry to a Eurovision-like song contest.
Turn Left at the End of the World, Avi Nesher’s 2004 story about Indians and Moroccans in a Negev town, is one of the perennial favorites on the site, and Nesher’s 2018 movie The Other Story, about divorced parents who are concerned when their adult daughter becomes ultra-Orthodox, has just been added.
Other new Israeli titles include Ofir Raul Graizer’s The Cakemaker, about a complex love triangle set in Jerusalem and Berlin, which won the Ophir Award for Best Picture in 2018; Nadav Lapid’s Synonyms, the story of an alienated young Israeli in Paris, which won the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2019; Michal Aviad’s Ophir Award-winning 2018 film Working Woman, which is one of the first movies to address the issues raised by the #MeToo movement; Eran Riklis’s A Borrowed Identity, the story of a Palestinian who struggles to fit in at an Israeli boarding school; and One Day After Peace, a film by Erez Laufer and Miri Laufer about South African-born Israeli peace activist Robi Damelin, who embarks on a journey to South Africa after her son is killed while serving in the Israeli military, to understand the efforts of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Committee.
Several new Jewish-interest titles spotlight the diversity of IFC STREAM’s carefully curated approach. They include The Last Resort, by Dennis Scholl and Kareem Tabsch, a look at the old, unchic community of Jewish retirees in the South Beach neighborhood of Miami, before it became a hot spot; and the very entertaining documentary Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, about the Austrian-Jewish movie star who also invented a system for remotely controlling torpedoes, which was a precursor to today’s Wi-Fi.
IF YOU enjoyed As We See It, the recent Amazon series about young adults on the autism spectrum, you will want to see the newly added Keep the Change, a movie by Rachel Israel, which is a bittersweet rom-com about the challenges of finding love for people with autism.
It features amazing performances by two performers who are on the spectrum, Samantha Elisofon and Brandon Polansky, and several scenes are actually set at the JCC.
Keep the Change is a natural choice for Zablocki, who is the director and founder of the Reel Abilities Festival at the JCC, an international film festival dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories, and artistic expressions of people with disabilities. Reel Abilities will be held this year starting on April 7.
The IFC holds many screenings with question and answer sessions with creators and other film experts that can be streamed (and which also take place in person, when possible).
It is also the home of the Other Israel Film Festival, which features movies that present human stories of Israelis and Palestinians, as well as other underrepresented populations in Israel, and the Israel Film Center Film Festival, which features the best of recent mainstream Israeli movies.
In addition, IFC and the IFC STREAM offer innovative holiday programming. The Forgive-Me-a-Thon, for Yom Kippur, which focuses on movies that explore issues of forgiveness, is a popular choice for Jews looking to observe the holiday in a nontraditional way. IFC STREAM will hold a Passover Film Festival this year, with films that will examine the concepts of freedom and slavery.
And Zablocki promised that IFC STREAM will continue releasing new films, with several high-profile titles to be announced soon.
For more information: https://israelfilmcenterstream.org