Hello My Lovely's, 

I know that the blog is going under a lot of work and changes at the moment, but I wanted to post about this incredible event that I was lucky enough to attend. I understand that this is coming very late considering I went really early, but after a load of train delays and getting caught in the rain which has now made me ill, I am finally blogging about it aha!

So if you follow me on Twitter you will probably know about this already, but for those who don't, I was very lucky to attend the 17th UK Jewish Film Festival 2013 Press Launch! I was a little late to the event, but I managed to not miss anything important and I am happy to now show you all my images from the day and give you a little inside look into some of the films discussed, that will be on show this year.

Upon entering the event, I met Bola who works for Think Jam, the lovely company that sends me all the goodies for the blog. She was very nice and understanding about the trains and handed me the festivals programme, which was very handy as I could make notes for all you lovely people that you can see in the image below, during the talks and clips.

Led by Judy Ironside MBE, who founded the festival in 1997, the Press launch was a huge success. She was an incredibly nice lady and was very informative throughout the launch who stated that this year’s message is "Comedy and new voices". I was unable to speak to her about the festival, but I did manage to speak to Keren Misgav Ristvedt, who joined the festival in 2013 as the business development director. She was also lovely and managed to fill me on some things that I missed, which apparently wasn't that much just some drinks aha!

Held at the MPC in Soho, the event was also attended by filmmaker/comedian Jes Benstock and comedian Arnold Brown, warming up the audience before the festival's big comedy event. This special presentation is being hosted alongside the 80 films, the festival is housing, in London, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and Glasgow, from the 30th of October to the 17th of November.With 53 out of the 80 being UK Premieres, it is being hinted as the film festival of the year!

The festival has also managed to get the best possible sponsors, including the magazine Little White Lies, Think Jam, JW3, BFI, Sky, Pears Foundation and many others.

Not only does it have brilliant sponsors but the festival is going to be housing some amazing guests, to make sure that audiences get the best experience for their money, which after seeing how much hard work the festival is doing for this year, I can definitely guarantee that they will!

So lets discuss some of the films that the festival is presenting this year...

  • 'Lets Dance' - UK PREMIERE - 3RD NOVEMBER - A film which is having its UK Premiere at the festival, it focuses on the world of Israeli Dance. This documentary from director Gavriel Bibliowicz will definitely have you up and moving, as it looks into the background to many popular Israeli dances, from sources, such as choreographer, Martha Graham. Graham also shares her techniques within the film, but a key highlight is the performance from Israeli choreographers, Ohad Naharin, Rami Be'er and Yasmeen Godder. If you are lucky enough to attend the premiere for this film at the JW3 in London, then you will be part of the audience for the giant Hora, a dance in which the performers form a ring, which sounds like so much fun!  
  • Hava Nagila (The Movie) - UK PREMIERE - 6TH NOVEMBER, LONDON - 20TH NOVEMBER, LEEDS -  Again this film will premiere at this year’s festival, but in two places. You lucky people in London and Leeds will be able to see the film at the Odeon Swiss Cottage (London) and the Mazcc (Leeds). This film is also a dance documentary, but with a twist. Everybody knows about the song Hava Nagila, but this new outlook of the famous dance from director Roberta Grossman, seems like a whole load of fun! With interviews from Regina Spektor, Leonard Nemoy and Connie Francis, it may just be revealed what the song actually means. It presents a film that is using its music to help represent its culture, which only certain places could succeed in doing so.
  • Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy - UK PREMIERE - 10TH NOVEMBER, MANCHESTER - 13TH NOVEMBER, LONDON -  During the event we were shown a clip of this and this one really stood out! It was mentioning aspects of the theatre industry that you just never think about, but mixed it with comedy and musical aspects as well. Director Michael Kantor presents a film overlooking the last 50 years of Broadway musicals which were created by Jewish Americans. It is one of those films that seems like it will have your toe tapping throughout, but also making you laugh from the funny interviews with Irving Berlin, Richard Rogers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Leonard Bernstein and many others. The event is also followed by a conversation between Lord Michael Grade and Mark Lawson on the 13th only, so you better get your tickets fast if you want to attend this event!
  • Blumenthal - UK PREMIERE -  31ST OCTOBER AND 6TH NOVEMBER, LONDON - 3RD NOVEMBER, LEEDS - 14TH NOVEMBER, LIVERPOOL - We were also shown the trailer for this film and to be honest I was very confused by it! The film is directed by up and coming director Seth Fisher, who has been tipped to be the new Woody Allen, but I honestly can't see anyone taking Woody Allen's 'Annie Hall' fame. Starring Brian Cox CBE, I am sure the film will appeal to many people but this one didn't seem to appeal to me too much. A comedy about a family in motion, the film explores how each of them handles being in each other’s lives. However this does seem to have the coolest events afterwards with a Jazz party on the 30th and then a discussion with the director and Brian Cox on the 6th of November.
  • "And Why Not?" - 12TH NOVEMBER, LONDON - As I stated above Scottish Jewish comedian Arnold Brown was at the Press Launch and he had many people laughing at his legendary stand up skills. However the main reason he was there was to make everybody aware of the film, he is presenting at the festival. Looking into his Scottish Jewish roots, Arnold is presenting a sit-down chat show style performance, with guests including Miriam Margolyes, Bill Paterson and Helen Lederer. Brown was so sweet at the event and I hope everybody goes and sees his film, to make it a huge success for him, as it was so easy to see on his face how much he had worked on the film. I managed to get a snap of the Arnold Brown and Jes Benstock at the festival.

  • Afternoon Delight - 12TH NOVEMBER, LONDON - Presented with the trailer for this film at the event, it definitely looks like a huge hit is upon their hands. I can see this being very controversial, as it is full of sexual content, but I think if you can look past this, it is going to be hilarious. Directed by Jill Soloway, the winner of Best Director at the Sundance Film Festival, for this film, it focuses on a wife who has just lost all purpose. Rachel, played by Kathryn Hahn, has lost all sense of self, purpose and libido. To try and gain it back, her and her husband decide to visit a strip club, which upon attending meet sex worker Mckenna, played by Juno Temple. Rachel believes that she can save the poor female, by making her, her live in nanny. However it is not long before havoc is placed upon the family.  This was stand out film at the Press Launch, so I would keep my eye on it, if I were you :)
  • Joe Papp In Five Acts - UK PREMIERE - 14TH NOVEMBER, LONDON - There was only a very quick clip of this at the launch, so I cannot describe much about it, but it will definitely be the film that I think shock you the most. Focusing on the New York theatre scene, this film allows you to see into the world of Joe Papp. A poor Jewish kid from Brooklyn, who created the free Shakespeare In The Park festival, which created careers for so many on screen legends, including Meryl Streep, Martin Sheen and Christopher Walken. The film has already been selected for the Tribeca Film Festival, so it is very exciting that it is going to be shown here as well. As well after the film, the event will be followed up with a discussion between actor Zoe Wanamaker CBE & director Tracie Holder. 
  • Cupcake - CLOSING NIGHT GALA - 17TH NOVEMBER, LONDON - A film from Award winning director Eytan Fox, this musical comedy has been selected as the closing night gala film. With guests being treated to cupcakes from Roni's Bagel Bakery & Cafe, it is going to make you all smile. Based on the world of Eurovision, the film focuses on Tel Aviv and his friends, a gang who are so caught up on the catchy tunes that their own one ends up as Israel's entry. But will the fame ruin their good natured friendship. The film's presents music from Scissor Sister, Babydaddy and styles similar to Almodovar and 'Friends'. This event is also followed up with a discussion from the director, so if you want a light hearted comedy this is the one for you! I want to see this one a lot! 
  • The Congress - IMAX GALA - EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW - 10TH NOVEMBER, LONDON - This is the new 'Spirited Away', honestly! It was chosen as the opening film at this year’s Cannes Directors fortnight; Ari Folman presents the follow up to his previous film 'Waltz with Bashir'. Starring Robin Wright, the film focuses on the funnily named Miramount Studios (Get It?) as they scan high profile actors in an attempt to get their careers under control and to make them remain forever young. Wright plays the heroine figure in the film, alongside Danny Huston and Harvey Keitel who play the studio head and troubled agent. The animation for this film looks incredible and just from the little clip that we saw, it seems to beat that of 'Spirited Away'. Speaking with Bola after, we both said that we thought it was going to be all in animation; however the film's reality world works so well with the animation.
Other guests and films attending and being presented at the festival will include award-winning French director Ilan Duran Cohen who will be opening the festival with his gripping historical drama The Jewish Cardinal; Czech writer/director David Ondricek presenting his debut feature In the Shadow and the UK Premiere of thriller Wakolda; award-winning Israeli drama Room 514.

For the full festival programme, go to for more information on the films above and the others at the festival.

Ironside also announced that the festival has also partnered up with Think Jam to create a new Video On Demand channel for the festival. These videos can be found at this link

Once all the films had been discussed and all the clips had been shown, one of the patrons of the festival Michael Grabiner spoke a few words on behalf of everyone at the festival. He had some very inspiring thoughts about the film industry and his own hopes for the festival. I was unable to write down any of his quotes but I did manage to capture a snap of him with Ironside. 

After Grabiner had finished his speech the event was closed up and left up to us lovely people to write up about it to all of you lovely people. I hope I did a good job as I have never covered a film festival before, so I don't really have that much experience. 

I hope to bring you more about the festival over the net coming months, so watch this space!

Until Next Time...
Joey xxx

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