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Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival AWARDS

The third annual Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival (LAJFF)
is pleased to announce the audience award winners for Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary and Best Short Film.

Lynn Roth’s The Little Traitor won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature. Based on Panther in the Basement by world-renowned novelist, Amos Oz, the movie takes place a few months before Israel becomes a state. Proffy, a spirited 11 year old militant wants the occupying imperialists off his land. What starts as a confrontation with British officer Sergeant Dunlop, builds into a friendship between these two foes that changes their lives forever.

The Little Traitor opened the festival on May 8th with a commemoration of the 60th anniversary of Israel and an award ceremony honoring the work of Theodore Bikel who starred in the film. The director Lynn Roth attended the Opening Night along with the stars of the film Alfred Molina and Theodore Bikel. Consul General of Israel Jacob Dayan also attended, in addition to the film’s Executive Producer, Marilyn Hall and husband Monty Hall, Joan Hyler and Army Archerd.

Laura Bialis’s Refusenik won the Audience Award for Best Documentary. Refusenik is the first retrospective to chronicle the thirty-year international movement to free Soviet Jews - the film is a tapestry of first person accounts of heroism, sacrifice, and ultimately, liberation told by activists on both sides of the Iron Curtain - many whom survived punishment in Soviet Gulag labor camps. Director Laura Bialis and film subjects Zev Yaroslavsky and Si Frumkin attended the festival screening of the film and answered audience questions after the film. Attending the film as well, was Dennis Prager.

Jochen Alexander Freydank’s Spielzeugland (Toyland) won the Audience Award for Best Short Film. To protect her son from the horrors of 1942 Germany, Marianne tells him that his Jewish best friend and his parents are packing for a journey to ‘Toyland’. He begs to go along until one morning her son and the neighbors have disappeared. George Aguilar’s Diary of Niclas Gheiler took second place. A cinematic diary, the film chronicles the journey of a German WWI veteran who served with Hitler in the war. Niclas Gheiler shares his experiences from the war and the events that affected his life and forced him to leave his homeland and family behind.

The Festival ended on Thursday May 15th with a Closing Night screening of Paul Weiland’s (Made of Honor) Sixty Six starring Helena Bonham-Carter. England in the summer of 1966 is about to be consumed by World Cup Fever, just as 12 year-old Bernie enthusiastically prepares for his Bar Mitzvah. When England makes it through the qualifying rounds, Bernie’s longed-for Bar Mitzvah looks headed for disaster.

LAJFF and the MorningStar Commission honored Joan Rivers on Tuesday May 13th with the Marlene Adler Marks Woman of Inspiration Award. Following the ceremony, the Festival held the Los Angeles premiere of Making Trouble produced by the Jewish Women’s Archive. Rachel Talbot’s documentary tells the story of six of the greatest female comic performers of the last century who broke new ground and delighted audiences for over three generations.

The Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival is a week of events celebrating the diversity of the Jewish experience through film. Most screenings are co-produced with local partners and enhanced by panel discussions with the filmmakers, cast and special guests. By featuring films that highlight Jewish culture, traditions and challenges, the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival seeks to promote tolerance and encourages dialogue within the Greater Los Angeles community.
photo credit: Amy Graves.
LA Jewish Film Festival Director Hilary Helstein and Honoree Joan Rivers


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