Israeli Film Festival gets underway in Sydney

August 22, 2014 by Roz Tarszisz
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A crowd of film buffs and members of the Jewish community gathered at the Verona Cinema in Sydney for the opening film at the 11th AICE Israeli Film Festival as small group of pro-Palestinian protesters defied police instructions and demonstrated outside the Paddington theatre.

Outside the Verona

Outside the Verona   Photo: Sabina Baunin

The protest started  at nearby  Taylor Square before  shifting to outside the cinema. A strong police presence ensured the protesters, about 50 people, remained orderly and under control.

Inside, in a brief address to the festival audience, Antonio Zeccola, the Executive Chairman of Palace Cinemas, spoke about the screening of a diverse range of festivals from around the world.

Albert Dadon, chairman of the Australia Israel Cultural Exchange, reminded the audience that in various past years there had been public conflict surrounding this particular event.   The difference now is that the war in Israel has been brought to Australia.

...and inside

…and inside     Photo Sabina Baunin

Michael Danby MHR, said that in any conflict it was important to ensure that we see both sides of an issue and that some of festival films would do just that.  As an aside he warned that when he was in Israel recently and the sirens went off, 40seconds was not quite long enough to get to a safe place.

In officially opening the Festival, Senator Arthur Sinodinos remarked that while he has always been proud of 2000 years of his Greek heritage, Jewish heritage went back even farther.

The opening film was Self Made by writer director Shira Geffen.

J-Wire  talked to moviegoers about why they were there.  Most replied that they were there to support the festival or view a movie they might not get a chance to see.  Most stated that they would not be intimidated by protesters.



2 Responses to “Israeli Film Festival gets underway in Sydney”
  1. Paul Winter says:

    And did the cops arrest anyone for defying a court order? No. Only law abiding citizens like Jews need to respect the law.

    • Rita L. says:

      I am disappointed that this double standard seems to be continuing even under a “conservative” Government.

      At the ABC they promoted very much the “Arabic Film Festival”. I wonder if they did the same for the Israeli Film Festival? A few of us wrote to them, reminding them of that bit in their charter which demands “balance”.

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