Busy year for the Jewish Film Foundation

July 24, 2012 by  
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The Jewish Film Foundation of Australia is gearing up for its most ambitious year yet.
For 23 years the Foundation has concentrated on putting on a world-class film festival, showcasing some of the best films from around the world that validate and celebrate Jewish culture in all its rich diversity. For over two decades the JFFA has been instrumental in putting Jewish film on the map in Australian cinema’s, so much so that they have attracted and increasing amount of interest from commercial operators, eager to be part of the vibrant action that is world Jewish film.

Leon Gorr

Chairman Leon Gorr says the Foundation is poised to dramatically broaden its scope. “This year sees us evolving in directions that we had always hoped for the Foundation.  We are delighted to announce that we are supporting cinema owner and distributor Eddie Tamir, who will independently operate the Jewish International Film Festival (JIFF)
In Melbourne and  Sydney. We’re happy to support Eddie and lend our name and endorsement to his festival. His efforts give us a really terrific opportunity to fulfil our charter. We believe this co-operative arrangement is a logical progression which validates the hard work we spearheaded; whilst at the same time allows the Foundation to bring its core values to a wider Jewish and secular audience.”

Eddie Tamir commented, “JIFF will showcase 30 new features and documentaries from Israel and around the globe at the Classic Cinemas in Elsternwick, Melbourne and Event Cinemas in Bondi Junction Sydney in November. We are looking forward to a fruitful association with JFFA.”

With the recent appointment of film historian, writer and broadcaster Steve Saragossi to direct the broader aims of the Foundation, Leon Gorr sees a bright future for the JFFA. “We’re now committed to fulfil our charter to promote and advance an appreciation of the Jewish contribution to the art of the cinema for the benefit of as wide an Australian audience as possible. This includes undertaking a comprehensive range of programs including thematic seasons across the country, commemorative screenings, seminars and symposiums to support a variety of film education. In addition to this we will act as a focal point for established and aspiring Jewish film makers and to promote the production of Australian films and television programs with a Jewish theme.”

Eddie Tamir

He also welcomed Eddie Tamir’s initiative, “Eddie brings with him a wealth of experience and we wish him the best of luck with his festival. We’ll be here to assist him in any way possible to make this year the most dynamic and engaging yet. We are working together to ensure the continued success of the Festival in a competitive marketplace.  With a wonderful slate of films and documentaries hand-picked by Eddie we are certain this will ensure the Festival’s longevity at the same time as we move into other vital areas. ”

Steve Saragossi

Under the direction of Steve Saragossi, the main focus the Foundation is committed to developing is raising awareness of Jewish culture across Australia, providing a point of cultural continuity for the tens of thousands of Jewish people across the country, maintaining a high profile for Tamir’s festival year-round, promoting interfaith discussion, raising continued awareness of the Holocaust, its repercussions and resonance with other cultural and historical events past and present.  Saragossi, who is a writer and author, and has studied and worked in film in the UK and Australia said, “I am tremendously excited about the work ahead of us, the Jewish Film Foundation has a wonderful mandate which I am proud to be involved with.”

He says this work will be achieved with a comprehensive program of smaller festivals around the country, school and university Holocaust awareness talks and screenings, cultural engagement work, interfaith discussions and screenings and short film competitions.

“The Jewish Film Foundation of Australia will this year become a year-round, nationwide media organisation promoting pride and awareness and celebrating the entire spectrum of Jewish culture.”

“By using the universal language of film, our aim is to stimulate discussion, engage with our audience and provide a dynamic and inclusive forum for the exploration of and dialogue about Jewish experiences around the world.”

Leon Gorr concluded, “Our patrons have been incredibly supportive for 23 years, and now we are poised to take the Foundation to an exciting new level where we can engage with Jewish communities right across the country and stimulate awareness and dialogue with the wider Australian population. We are certain that this exciting development will be welcomed by our patrons, supporters and the wider Jewish community in Australia.”


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