Film Festival Program

Saturday, October 16 to October 23

Viewing window opens at 7:30pm Saturday, October 16. After the film becomes available you. have 7 days to start watching. Once you begin watching, you have 24 hours to finish watching.

Here We Are | Israel & Italy
Sponsored by: Israel Consulate General Toronto & Western Canada

Aharon has devoted his life to raising his autistic son, Uri, with gentle routines, away from the real world.  But now, with Uri becoming a young adult, it might be time for him to live in a specialized home.  While on their way to the institution, Aharon decides to run away with his son—feeling that Uri is not ready for the separation. Or is it, in fact, his father Aharon who is not ready?

Winter Journey | Germany
Sponsored by: Frances Rosenberg

Stellar German actor Bruno Ganz, in his last performance onscreen, stars as Georg Goldsmith, a Jewish German father, who spends a weekend recollecting his past to his son—recounting, with poignant emotions, his memories of love, music, and the horrors of the Holocaust.

They Ain’t Ready for Me | USA
Sponsored by: Ruthi Wicks

A powerful documentary about a female African-American rabbinical student and her tireless efforts to make her South-side Chicago neighbourhood a safer place. The film follows Tamar Manasseh in her daily work—organizing lunches, celebrating holidays, and working with residents to keep the neighbourhood clean. Tamar, a unique Jewish woman, is a local force of to be reckoned with—leading others effectively, powerfully and optimistically, modelling hope through a multitude of challenges.

Whispers of Silence | Mexico
Sponsored by: Victoria Shoah Project

When World War Two ended and the concentration camps were liberated, thousands of Holocaust survivors were rescued. Some immigrated to Mexico. Gradually, they attempted the long and painful journey of rebuilding their lives and adapting to a new culture, a new language and a new climate.  The trauma of the Holocaust was always present in their lives. All too often, this trauma also passed on to their children with secrets, fears, guilt, sadness and nightmares.  The film explores the varied manifestations of such trauma.

Short Film Program | Canada, Russia & USA
The Seder | Canada
When openly gay Leo decides to bring his boyfriend home for the first time to his parent’s Seder, the boundaries of love and understanding become a tad strained.
PUR | Russia
Rare archival film footage shows underground Purim plays staged by Jewish dissidents in the Soviet Union, when all expression of Jewish culture was strictly forbidden.  
Thousand Kisses | USA
The actual correspondence of a young Jewish couple separated by the fear of persecution in Nazi Germany is recovered by their grandchildren 80 years later.  

Sunday, October 17 In-Person & Online

Online viewing window opens at 8:00am Sunday, October 17. After the film becomes available you have 12 hours to start watching. Once you begin watching, you have 24 hours to finish watching.
In-Person screening begins at 1:00pm at the Vic Theatre, 808 Douglas Street

The Crossing | Norway
Sponsored by: PJ Library

Set in Norway in World War Two, The Crossing is based on “Over Grensen”, a children’s thriller by Norwegian author Maja Lunde. The film follows four Norwegian children, two Jewish and their two Christian helpers, as they attempt to cross the border into neutral Sweden. Narrated by the protagonist, Gerda, and framed within her 10-year-old vantage point, the film’s feel is reminiscent of Roberto Benini’s “Life Is Beautiful”—but even more fairy tale-like through its focus on the experiences of and relationship among the four children as they make their way to Sweden.

Sunday, October 17

Screening begins at 4:00pm at the Vic Theatre, 808 Douglas Street
3:30pm pre-show featuring live jazz by Elliot Freedman (guitar) and Ashlin Richardson (bass) 

Neighbours | Switzerland and France
Sponsored by: Decter & Poole, Victoria Real Estate Professionals

Sero and his uncle act as the “sabbath goy’im” for their Jewish next-door neighbours: an old couple and their spinster daughter, Hannah, who has feelings for Sero’s uncle. In its uplifting humanism and funny moments, Mano Khalil’s film elicits superb performances from its cast, with some drawn from refugee camps in Iraqi Kurdistan.  The quiet dignity of the villagers in the face of oppressive tyranny and corrupt Syrian government officials and Turkish border guards is especially wonderfully portrayed.

Tuesday, October 19 from 7:00-8:00pm

Beyond labels: talking about intergenerational impacts of the Shoah 
Discussion organized by the Victoria Shoah Project featuring directors Aarón and Esther Cohen, plus Thomas Laboucan-Avirom, Nathan Kelerstein, Charlotte Schallié & Richard Kool (moderator)
Director Aarón Cohen has a degree in Journalism and Communication from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. For more than 40 years he has been dedicated to the production of photography, multimedia shows, videos and documentaries.
Director Esther has a degree in Communication from the Universidad Iberoamericana with a specialty in Communication Research. For more than 40 years she has worked alongside her husband Aaron Cohen in the companies they both founded.
Panelist Thomas Laboucan-Avirom is currently the In-House Legal Counsel for his First Nation, the Woodland Cree First Nation located in northern Alberta.  He graduated from UVic Law and Osgoode Hall in Toronto.
Panelist Nathan Kelerstein was born and raised in Mexico City, and he moved to Canada 23 years ago.  His father, Isaac, was a holocaust survivor from Poland, who emigrated to Mexico after the war to be reunited with his father. He is an engineer by profession.
Panelist Charlotte Schallié is a Professor and Chair of Germanic and Slavic Studies at the University of Victoria. 
Moderator Richard Kool is a member of the second generation, and a professor in the School of Environment and Sustainability at Royal Roads University.  

Thursday, October 21 from 7:00-8:00pm

Interview with director of They Ain’t Ready for Me Brad Rothschild
Director/Producer Brad Rothschild is an award-winning filmmaker whose work focuses on the role of the individual in society. He received a Master’s in International Affairs and an MBA, both from Columbia University.

Closing Event
Sunday, October 24

Screening begins at 4:00pm at the Vic Theatre, 808 Douglas Street
3:30pm pre-show featuring live jazz by the Eryne Sharpe Trio

Breaking Bread | Israel & USA
Sponsored by: My International Table

This mouth-watering documentary follows the Jewish and Palestinian chefs who gather in Haifa for an incredible, one-of-a-kind celebration of food and culture. The magical festival pairs Arab and Jewish chefs together, allowing them to collaborate on a diverse array of exotic dishes while opening the door to an intimate exchange of culture.  After the bread is literally broken, these chefs share something beyond the perfect mussakhan or kishek, and build a connection uninhibited by politics or religion.