2014 WJFF BIG NIGHTS


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Opening Night :: Centerpiece Evening :: Closing Night :: WJFF Visionary Award Presentation :: Snuggle With the Stars 

 

THE WONDERS
Washington DCJCC
Thursday, February 27, 6:30 pm and 9:30 pm, opening night party 8:45 pm

Sponsored by The Jacob & Charlotte Lehrman Foundation

A modern day film-noir, Avi Nesher’s latest centers on a bartender who doubles as a graffiti artist in Jerusalem. Arnav enjoys whiling away the days with simple pleasures until he becomes enwrapped in a mystery taking place in his own apartment building. Spying a man seemingly held captive a few units over from his, he investigates, and is soon taken down a rabbit hole into the seedy underbelly of Jerusalem’s criminal underworld. Along the way, he’s aided, abetted and sometimes stifled by a pseudo-religious femme fatale and a deeply cynical private eye.

The film’s stunningly original artistic vision has drawn rave comparisons to everyone from the Coen Brothers and Tim Burton to Lewis Carroll and Carol Reed. Couple that with a sophisticated soundtrack by composer Avner Dorman and select tracks from Israeli mega-stars Hadag Nahash, and you’re ready to kick off the 24th WJFF in style.

Join us for our Opening Night Party with Director Avi Nesher and Original Music Composer Avner Dorman in between the two screenings.


Thursday, February 27, 6:30 pm
Thursday, February 27, 9:30 pm

 

FADING GIGOLO
AFI Silver Theatre
Saturday, March 8, 7:15 pm


Sponsored by Louie and Ralph Dweck

Facing the imminent closure of his business, a New York City bookstore owner (Woody Allen) teams up with his florist friend (John Turturro) on an outlandish scheme. Surveying the landscape, they realize that a city full of lonely, wealthy older women is the perfect place to ply the world’s most ancient profession.

Shedding their commonplace identities, and dubbing themselves “Virgil Howard” and “Dan Bongo,” the pair tear through Gotham, along the way bedding the legendary sexual icons Sharon Stone and Sofia Vergara. The surprisingly mature climax (if you will) is wrapped around Turturro’s newfound romance with an orthodox Jewish widow (Vanessa Paradis), who is forced to slyly deceive Liev Schreiber – an overzealous member of the Jewish neighborhood police force – at every turn.

Sidesplittingly funny and cleverly insightful, this may well be John Turturro’s crowning achievement.

Director and Actor John Turturro in conversation with WJLA-TV/ABC7 film reviewer Arch Campbell after the screening.


 

 

CUPCAKES
Washington DCJCC
Sunday, March 9, 7:30 pm

Beloved Israeli auteur Eytan Fox (Yossi and Jagger, Walk on Water, The Bubble) returns with a sweet, bubbly and downright delicious concoction.

When a group of tightknit friends accidentally (!) enter a Eurovision-style musical contest, their endearing tune – originally written to console a heartbroken buddy – is picked to represent Israel. Thrust into a world of glamour and high expectations, the friends struggle to navigate around the sharp elbows of the pop music business, along the way getting into plenty of hilarious hijinks.

Join us after the screening for the Closing Night reception (we’ll have much more than just cupcakes!). We’ll announce and fete the Audience Award Winners for WJFF’s Best Feature, Documentary and Short.

 

 

WJFF VISIONARY AWARD PRESENTATION
Washington DCJCC
Sunday, March 2, 3:00 pm


The annual WJFF Visionary Award recognizes and pays tribute to courage, creativity and insight in presenting the full diversity of the Jewish experience through the moving image.

For the 24th Festival, we are honoring Israeli filmmaking pioneer Avi Nesher, an accomplished producer, director, screenwriter and actor. Nesher was born in Israel but spent much of his adolescence in New York, before leaving Columbia University at 18 to serve in the Special Forces branch of the Israeli army. This experience clearly informed his first film, The Troupe which prodded the Israeli establishment by ridiculing the “sacred cow” Israeli military; the film is now considered an Israeli cult classic.

Producer Dino De Laurentis convinced Nesher to come to Hollywood after seeing his critically acclaimed Rage and Glory. Nesher’s initial work came as a writer, penning studio assignments for such filmmakers as Ron Howard and James Cameron. As part of this “Hollywood period”, Nesher wrote, produced and directed The Taxman which opened to extraordinary reviews: The New York Times called the film “A delight...a charmer of a mystery” and Jeffrey Lyons of NBC hailed it as “A cinematic gem...not to be missed!”

In 2001, Nesher honored his father’s memory by writing and directing Turn Left at the End of the World – a surreal deconstruction of Israel’s immigration mythology. The movie became Israel’s greatest box office success in the last twenty years, as well as becoming one of the best-reviewed films of the era.

Since then, nearly all of his films have been Israeli blockbusters: The Secrets, The Matchmaker, and most recently our Opening Night film, The Wonders. Avi Nesher will accept the WJFF Visionary award after a retrospective screening of Turn Left at the End of the World, and will also be on hand for the late-night showing of The Taxman, and to present the screenings of The Wonders.

Turn Left at the End of the World
In one of WJFF Visionary Award winner Avi Nesher’s most beloved films, a few Indian families descend on a small Israeli desert town, mostly inhabited by Moroccan immigrants. A culture war ensues: the Morrocans look down on the dark-skinned Indians, while the Indians consider the Moroccans a bunch of uncouth troublemakers.

Eventually the two sides grudgingly come together over an unlikely cricket team they decide to field, and much hilarity follows. In the process, old enemies cross cultural mine fields and two teenage girls, a Moroccan and an Indian, discover the sexual revolution of the Sixties.

Avi Nesher will accept the WJFF Visionary award before a retrospective screening of Turn Left at the End of the World, and will also be on hand for the late-night showing of The Taxman, and to present the screenings of The Wonders.

 

 

SNUGGLE WITH THE STARS
United States Navy Memorial
Sunday, March 2, 6:00 pm

Watch the Oscars® in a fun, new way – a modern Pajama Party!

Lounge in your favorite pajamas in the Navy Memorial's comfortable underground theater. Experience the broadcast on a giant 2-story HD screen, while sipping the champagne and cocktails and munching on snack food and pizza.

This event supports DC Shorts and Washington Jewish Film Festival.

This event is not sponsored by or affiliated with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Ages 21+