Degrade, Dégradé, Tarzan and Arab Nasser

The 9th Other Israel Film Festival to run from November 5 to 12, 2015 at the JCC Manhattan on 76th St and Amsterdam Ave, as well as at Cinema Village and other locations in NYC, announced its complete line-up of feature and short films.

Censored Voices, recently recognized with the award for Best Documentary at the Ophir Awards (Israel’s equivalent of the Academy Awards), was previously announced as the festival’s opening night film, with acclaimed documentary Women in Sink closing the festival on November 12. Following screenings at the Cannes and Toronto Film Festivals, Dégradé, directed by twin brothers Tarzan and Arab Nasser, (pictured above) will also have a Special Feature screening on closing night, marking the film’s New York premiere.

“From the candid conversations of Arab/Israeli women in a Haifa beauty shop, to the refugee crisis in Tel Aviv and the hopeful business collaboration of an Israeli and a Palestinian woman, this year’s slate ranges from provocative genre films to surprising documentaries and everything in between.” commented festival founder Carol Zabar. “These extraordinary films reveal the fullest spectrum of Israeli and Palestinian life and culture and will spark a frank, vital dialog.”

The complete line-up for this year’s festival includes:

New York Premiere
Dir. Eyal Sagui Bizawe & Sara Tsifroni
(60 min, Documentary, Israel, Hebrew & Arabic w/ English subtitles)

A nostalgic look back at that old Friday afternoon ritual, when Israeli families of all backgrounds would gather to watch the week’s “Egyptian Movie” on Israel’s official TV station. Arab Movie takes us back to that fleeting moment when Israelis shared the same cultural heroes as everyone else in the Middle East, even as it raises disturbing questions about their relationship to their neighbors across the border.

East Coast Premiere
Dir. Mor Lushi
(84 min, Documentary, Israel, Hebrew & English w/ English subtitles)

One week after the Six Day War, a group of soldiers, led by renowned author Amos Oz, recorded intimate conversations with fellow soldiers returning from war. In these recordings, the men wrestled with their fears, taking an honest look at the moment Israel turned occupier. These recordings, censored by the Israeli army until now, are played back to the men 50 years later, revealing their confessions for the first time. Censored Voices opens in theaters on November 20, via Music Box Films

Special Sneak Preview
Dir. Oren Rudavsky & Joseph Dorman
(135 min, Documentary, US, English, Hebrew, Arabic w/English subtitles)

A feature-length exploration of one of the most influential, controversial, and urgently relevant political ideologies of the modern era. With origins in Europe in the late 19th century, Zionism was born out of the Jewish confrontation with modernity and persecution. Yet early on, Zionism faced opposition from Palestine’s Arab inhabitants, who saw it depriving them of their own national rights in a land they had inhabited for centuries. Now, amid unceasing religious conflict and tragic bloodshed, it is more crucial than ever for Americans to better understand the meaning, history and future of the movement.
Colliding Dreams will open in New York at Lincoln Plaza in January 2016.

Dir. Tarzan & Arab Nasser
83 min, Narrative, France / Palestine, Arabic w/English subtitles

In this Cannes film festival favorite, we take a look into the lives of a diverse group of women visiting a beauty salon on a hot summer’s day in the Gaza Strip. A bride-to-be, a pregnant woman, a bitter divorcée, a devout woman and a pill-popping addict all meet for some leisure time and pampering. But all is disrupted when a gang war erupts between Hamas and a local group, right in front of the salon, trapping the woman and raising the temperature and anxiety. Starring Hiam Abbass, Maisa Abdelhadi, and Manal Award.

United States Premiere
Dir. Helen Yanovsky
(65 min, Documentary, Israel, Hebrew, Russian, & Arabic w/ English subtitles)

The Jerusalem Boxing Club, which operates out of a bomb shelter in Jerusalem’s Katamon neighborhood, is a meeting point for teens from all around the city. For many of these young people, the desire to excel and to win is nourished by the tough training and boundless love of Gershon Luxemburg, the club’s manager and trainer, for whom boxing is not just another sport, but a way of life.
Jerusalem Boxing Club was supported by the Other Israel Film Fund.

New York Premiere
Dir. Doron & Yoav Paz
(81 min, Narrative, Israel, English)

A horror film that takes us to Jerusalem, where two vacationing American teenagers decide to follow a mysterious archaeologist to the Old City. Their party is cut short when Jerusalem’s ancient gate to hell is opened, releasing a biblical apocalypse. Trapped between the city’s walls, the three travelers must survive long enough to find a way out, as the fury of hell is unleashed upon them.

New York Premiere
Dir. Anat Goren
(65 min, Documentary, Israel, Hebrew, Amharic, Arabic, & English w/ English subtitles)

A moving documentary that tells the story of Mussa, a 12-year-old African refugee living in one of Tel Aviv’s worst neighborhoods. Every day, Mussa is bussed to an upscale private school, where he silently navigates a privileged world, connecting with friends but refusing to speak. When Mussa’s mother is threatened with deportation, Mussa is left devastated, compelled to leave his father and friends behind.:

Dir. Jake Witzenfeld
(81 min, Documentary, UK, Hebrew, Arabic, & English w/ English subtitles)

The story of three gay Palestinian friends confronting their national and sexual identity in Tel Aviv. Khader is a “darling” from a prominent Muslim family living with David, his Jewish boyfriend. Fadi is an ardent Palestinian nationalist, in love with a Zionist. Naim yearns to confront his family with the truth about his sexuality. Determined to make a change, the three best friends form a group to fight for gender and national equality.

New York Premiere
Dir. Duki Dror, Chen Shelach
(56 min, Documentary, Israel, Hebrew, Arabic, & English w/ English subtitles)

In the midst of an ever-fraught political landscape, two women, one Israeli and one Palestinian, attempt the seemingly impossible: to build a business together. Fighting against anti-normalization currents and a male-dominated industry, the two combine forces to create a logistics company which helps Palestinian businessmen navigate the Israeli occupation. But while they help their clients, the divisions between the two threaten to tear their partnership apart. Can the bond between them overcome the impossible? Partner With The Enemy was supported by the Other Israel Film Fund.

New York Premiere
Dir. Laura Bialis
(90 min, Documentary, Israel, Hebrew w/ English subtitles)

An intimate portrayal of life on the edge in the war-torn city of Sderot. Known for its prolific rock scene that revolutionized Israeli music, Sderot has been the target of ongoing rocket fire from the Gaza Strip for the past thirteen years. Through the personal lives of Sderot’s diverse musicians and a personal love story, this film chronicles the town’s enduring spirit.

United States Premiere
Dir. Tamara Erde
(52 min, Documentary, Israel, Hebrew & Arabic w/ English subtitles)

This powerful film follows several Israeli and Palestinian teachers and asks: How do the Palestinian and Israeli (Arab and Jewish) education systems teach the history of their peoples and the other? Through observing these teachers’ exchanges and confrontations with students, as well as their debates with the official curriculum, viewers are granted an intimate glimpse into the profound effects that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict transmits to the next generation.

United States Premiere
Dir. Eric Friedler
(90 min, Documentary, Germany, English, Hebrew w/English subtitles)

A radical dreamer and a rebellious visionary, the Israeli peace activist Abie Nathan was the man behind “The Voice of Peace,” a pirate radio station broadcasting from a ship off the coast of Tel Aviv. During the 70’s, the station had more than 20 million enthusiastic listeners from all over the Middle East. This fascinating documentary follows Nathan’s humanitarian work over 4 decades, combining rarely-seen archival footage with interviews with former Israeli President Shimon Peres, Yoko Ono, Sir Michael Caine and other world-renowned individuals who believed in Nathan’s vision of a more peaceful Middle East.

New York City Premiere
Dir. Iris Zaki
(36 min, Documentary, Israel, Hebrew w/ English subtitles)

At “Fifi’s”, a hair salon in the heart of Haifa’s Arab community, Iris Zaki installs a mini film set over the washbasin. While she washes their hair, Zaki speaks candidly and freely with the salon’s Arab and Jewish clients, who share their views on politics, history, and love. What emerges from these conversations is an honest and nuanced portrait of contemporary Israel. Women In Sink was supported by the Other Israel Film Fund.

New Voices – Short Film Selection
THE ARREST (Dir. Yair Agmon, 10 min, Narrative)
BOYS OF NITZANA (Dir. Tamir Elterman, 9 min, Documentary)
DIRTY BUSINESS (Dir. Vadim Dumesh, 15 min, Documentary)
TILL DAY’S END) (Dir. Amitai Ashkenazi, 19 min, Narrative)

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