As more film festivals are either being postponed or cancelled, many of them are going online and will soon be streaming high-quality movies, many of which are either Jewish- or Israeli-themed.
The program for "We Are One: A Global Film Festival," a digital 10-day festival starting on May 29 that will include programs from virtually all major film festivals, including the Jerusalem Film Festival, has yet to be announced but many other festivals are offering online programming before then.
Docaviv, the Tel Aviv International Documentary Festival that was set to take place this month, just announced it will be hosting Docu Stream (docaviv.co.il/org/docustream), an online documentary streaming series that will run from May 13-23. The online event will be presented in collaboration with HOT 8 and YES Docu. A pass for the entire 20 films costs 80 shekels, and a single film will be 10 shekels.
The organizers of the festival want to emphasize that Docu Stream is meant to complement and not to replace Docaviv, which has been rescheduled for September.
In the Israeli section, Docu Stream will feature Michal Aronzon’s The Little Things, a documentary made in collaboration with its subject, Yehuda “Yudale” Fruman, who was raised ultra-Orthodox and suffers a crisis of faith.
Golda is a 2019 documentary by Sagi Bornstein, Udi Nir and Shani Rozanes that takes a fresh look at Golda Meir’s life and legacy. It will be followed by a talk with the filmmakers and Prof. Shmulik Duvdevani of Tel Aviv University.
Other films in Docu Stream include Crystal Moselle’s The Wolfpack, an acclaimed film about a large family in New York whose members have grown up in isolation and perform elaborate reenactments of popular movies.
Israel’s most prolific and praised documentary filmmakers, brothers Barak Heymann and Tomer Heymann, are making their films available through their website, HeymannFilms.com. Among their most popular films are Mr. Gaga, a portrait of former Batsheva Dance Company artistic director Ohad Naharin, and Jonathan Agassi Saved My Life, the story of a troubled Israeli porn star.
Details of the online screenings, followed by conversations with the filmmakers, can be found on their Facebook page, facebook.com/HeymannBrothersFilms.
Information on the #StayHomeIsraeliFilmFestival, which changes nearly every day, can be found on its Facebook page. Films such as Eran Kolirin’s The Band’s Visit, the basis for the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, have been shown recently.
Israeli film lovers located in North America have several options for streaming Israeli films. The Israel Film Center at the Marlene Meyerson JCC in Manhattan features recent movies, such as Roman Shumunov’s gritty drama of Russian immigrant life, Here and Now, and classics such as Ephraim Kishon’s Sallah Shabbati, at israelfilmcenterstream.org/
The Miami Jewish Film Festival has made a special program of its best short films available free of charge on its YouTube Channel. For more information, visit the festival website at miamijewishfilmfestival.org. In July, it will launch a Festival-At-Home Virtual Cinema Program that will exclusively present Israeli and Jewish interest films from around the world on its own VOD channel.
Menemsha Films (menemshafilms.com), an important distributor of Jewish and Israeli films, is streaming some of its catalog now, including Crescendo, a drama about an Israeli-Palestinian orchestra. It will soon release The Tobacconist, starring Bruno Ganz as Freud in the story of three Austrian Jews deciding how and when to flee. Menemsha recently held a popular festival of Avi Nesher films, and may hold more online festivals in the future.