Every film festival has a mix of ingredients, which means every film festival has a distinctive flavour.
Hence, the 2012 edition of the Winnipeg Jewish Film Festival tastes like... prestige.
The 10th edition of the annual festival features no less than three Oscar-nominated 2011 films -- In Darkness and Footnote were nominated in the best foreign language feature category and the short film Strangers No More won in the best documentary short subject category. The latter film is about a public school in Tel Aviv where children from 48 different countries come together to learn.
It's an example of how, cumulatively, all 14 festival films represent "not only the Jewish experience, but the human experience," says festival director Tamar Barr. "The films are about intergenerational conflict, coming of age and love lost and found."
Two of the festival's feature films -- In Darkness (May 5 at 8 p.m.) and In Heaven Underground (Monday, at 7:30 p.m.) have already shown in Winnipeg theatres, but Barr says that the festival has become so popular -- attendance numbers came in at 1,700 last year -- cinema lovers often wait for the festival to see films that may show up in mainstream release.
"Some of the films are already sold out and we haven't even started," Barr says, referring to tonight's opening-night film Restoration, the story of the tumultuous relationship between a master carpenter, his son and an eccentric new apprentice, and Sunday night's screening of Footnote (7:30 p.m.), another father-son tale of the epic rivalry between two Talmudic scholars.
Of course, sometimes the less prestigious movies might be the ones most enjoyed. Asked to choose a film with sleeper potential, Barr picks My Australia (Tuesday, May 8 at 7:30 p.m.), a Polish drama about a 10-year-old anti-Semitic boy who learns his mother was a survivor of the Warsaw ghetto.
The festival offers single ticket, packages of five movies ($35 for JCC members and $45 for non-members) and festival passes for all films ($80 for members and $100 for non-members).
For festival information, visit online at www.radyjcc.com or call 477-7510.
Other films at the festival
My Lovely Sister (Achoti Hayafa) Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.
A modern Moroccan-Jewish legend about a love triangle between a woman, her ghostly sister and her rude husband.
Strangers No More, Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.
The Oscar-winning documentary short about a unique public school in Tel Aviv is on a double bill with Teacher Irena (Ha’Morah Irena), another doc about a charismatic school teacher who encourages love, compassion and the power of positive action.
Eichmann’s End: Love, Betrayal, Death (Eichmanns Ende), Thursday, 7:30 p.m.
A combination of documentary and dramatization telling the incredible true story of the love affair between Adolf Eichmann’s son and the daughter of Lothar Hermann, a Holocaust survivor.
Mabul (The Flood), Sunday, May 6, 7:30 p.m.
Just before his bar mitzvah, a young man learns his long-institutionalized autistic brother will be returning home, an event that has the potential to shatter his unstable family.
Nicky’s Family, Monday, May 7, 7:30 p.m.
A documentary on Nicholas Winton, an Englishman who organized the rescue of 669 Czech and Slovak children just before the outbreak of the Second World War.
The Flat (Ha-dira) Wednesday, May 9, 7:30 p.m.
A documentary follows a seemingly innocent event, the emptying of a flat on the third floor of a Bauhaus building in Tel Aviv, and uncovers secrets both personal and political.
Remembrance (Die Verlorene Zeit), Thursday, May 10, 7:30 p.m.
A drama inspired by a true story about an unlikely romance that blossoms between a young Jewish woman and a Polish political prisoner in a German concentration camp in Poland in 1944.