If you want to get to know about a country, and I mean really get to know a country, what lies beneath the surface, what makes its people tick, what really are its pleasure and pains; maybe even what makes the general psyche tick? Then we suggest you don’t watch the news, far far better is to go and see a film festival from the place. Because a good film festival will give you the comedy of the country, its pain, its drama, the family and friendship and dynamics, in fact the whole of a country without having to take out a history book, map or news programme.
Seret Israeli film and TV festival is exactly that sort of festival. Because if you think you know Israel by watching the news then think again. Here is a wonderful way to get under the skin of this dynamic yet often misunderstood country. From comedy to drama via documentary to art-house. The festival has it all. And as the country is a democracy there are no holes barred here. The range of film-makers cross the board from Palestinians to Israelis all giving their own perspective on their day to day lives. The films are not political but are an intensely personal and deeply insight, moving even when the films are funny. The Israeli industry is very much outward-looking one , and an industry that creates cinema and TV which reflects themes that resonate for all, and does not limit itself to the conflict which so often colours peoples perception of the country
SERET 2016 is the International Israeli Film & TV Festival which is now in its 5th year and had dates in the UK , in cinemas and cultural centres in London, Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool.
A lot of this must be credited to the team behind the festival;
Anat Koren – Co-Founder & Operational Director is Israeli born, yet based in London. Passionate about both Israeli and British lifestyle and culture therefore she is well aware of how to show the best of each.
Odelia Haroush – Co-Founder & Managing Director – Shares her time between London and Amsterdam, who holds a Master’s Degree in Communications and has worked for many years at top advertising and marketing agencies, alongside having extensive experience in marketing and production.
Patty Hochmann – Co-Founder & Artistic Director
Based in Israel, a member of the Israeli Film Academy, Patty is extremely knowledge on Israeli film and TV. Patty’s passion for the industry ensures that each year, SERET is abundant with cutting edge and top quality Israeli productions.
Iris Zaki – Coordinator and Social Media manager – A talented documentary filmmaker herself, Iris has been involved with SERET since its first year. With a love and understanding for Israeli film and TV as well as being a part of London’s young cultural enthusiasts, she has used her talents to reach out to new audiences. Her film Women in sink is really worth watching.
Ruth Lev Ari – Head of Industry Events
Ruth is the curator and moderator for SERET 2015’s Industry Day and runs the day as as a round table event. An independent film maker herself she is well placed to be part of the team.
There is a large selection of films to watch but below are a few we enjoyed yet give an idea of how varied the selection on offer is.
THE KIND WORDS Shemi Zarhin
Three siblings joined by the death of their mother, and a revelation about the identity of their “real” father, who to their shock and chagrin may have been an Algerian Muslim. They set off on a quirky journey from Israel through Paris and Marseille, but ultimately into the past, and their own confusing selves.
WEDING DOLL Nitzan Gilady
Hagit, a young woman with mild mental deficiency, works in a toilet-paper factory. She lives with her mother Sarah, a divorcée who gave up her life for her daughter. Hagit strives for independence and Sarah is torn between her desire to protect her, and her own will to live. When a relationship develops between her and the son of the factory owner, Hagit hides it from her mother. The announcement of the closing of the factory shakes Hagit and Sarah’s life and jeopardizes Hagit’s love story.
WOMEN IN SINK Iris Zaki
In a little hair salon owned by a Christian-Arab in Haifa, Israel, the director installs a camera over the washing-basin, where she chats with the clients she is shampooing. She thus paints an unexpected choral portrait of this space that provides temporary freedom, where Arab and Jewish women share their differences and a community of views on politics, history and love.
ORIENTED Jake witzenfeld
Oriented follows the lives of three Palestinian friends exploring their national and sexual identity in Tel-Aviv during the Israel-Gaza conflict of 2014. Khader is a Tel Aviv “darling” from a prominent Muslim mafia family living with his Jewish boyfriend, David, a local LGBT nightlife impresario, and their Dalmatian, Otis, in Tel Aviv. Khader is conflicted by his desire for change in the face of a seemingly hopeless situation. Fadi is an ardent Palestinian nationalist confronted by guilt-ridden Jewish love and Naeem must confront his family with the truth about his sexuality. Meanwhile, a war is brewing… Determined to make a change, these three best friends form a non-violent, cultural resistance group (“Qambuta”) making viral content for gender and national equality. While their work may not change the world, it certainly helps them deal with the frustration of living with multi-faceted identities.
THE FAREWELL PARTY Tal Granit & Sharon Maymon
The comedy is set in a Jerusalem retirement home in which a group a friends together build a self-euthanasia machine to help their terminally ill friend. When rumors of the machine begin to spread, more and more people begin to ask for their help, putting the group in an emotional dilemma
Maybe the idea of going to see a selection of Israeli films and TV programmes may not be an obvious choice or you may even think you shouldn’t go, however it may well be worth baring in mind that several of the last few hits in the world of TV series originated from here, like say Homeland which was originally Israeli TV production.
SERET International 2016
The Israeli Film & TV Festival
London, Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool
June 19 – 27