Meet JIFF’s Eddie Tamir

November 2, 2015 by Roz Tarszisz
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J-Wire’s Roz Tarszisz talks with Eddie Tamir, Director of the Jewish International Film Festival (JIFF).

RT: Is the festival getting bigger every year?

Eddie Tamir

Eddie Tamir

ET: Yes it is and this year is the biggest yet with over 60 films.

RT: As ever, there is an eclectic choice. Did you have fun choosing them?

ET: We watched over 300 films for JIFF.  There are also 20 films chosen for the Holocaust Film Festival.

The real fun is the in competition landscape.  To get a film for our festival we are competing against 48 other festivals around the world from countries such as Germany France, Israel and Italy. We are all competing to have a world premier.

RT: Why is the noise so loud about Son of Saul?

ET: Son of Saul is one of the great films this year. It won four awards in Cannes including The Grand Prix and there is buzz that it might lead to an Oscar, not just for Best Foreign Language Film, but for Best Picture and Best Director for László Nemes.

It is the kind of film that other Australian film festivals would have loved to include and it is a great honour that we were able to showcase it.  It will be released here in a few months time for those who missed it.

RT: Do you allow yourself personal favourites?

ET:  There is a list of my top 10 picks. (See below ) So many different films are included in the festival, some which might attract a wider audience than others.    There are four foreign language films which are Oscar contenders and the star power of Natalie Portman in A Tale of Love and Darkness. It is significant that there are over 10 French films.

RT: Is there a difference in audience participation between Melbourne and Sydney?

ET: There are nuances between all communities, and Melbourne-Sydney is no exception.

We sell more tickets in Melbourne but support from Sydney is growing. Sydney is more spread out and, arguably, not as connected geographically as Melbourne.  Perhaps having the JIFF at our own Classic Cinema makes a difference.  It’s a home for the festival and becomes a quasi community centre where we are able to offer things like a felafel pop-up stand.

RT:  What’s participation like in Auckland, Brisbane and Perth?

ET: We only started showing in there last year to connect with these communities.  Perth is going well as are Auckland and Brisbane and we are optimistic that growth will strengthen every year.

*Eddie’s Top 10 Picks – The Physician, Sabena Hijacking: My Version, By Sidney Lumet, Twilight of a Life, JeruZalem, Experimenter, Censored Voices, 77:78: On the Map, Arabic Movie and Hagiga,The Story of Israeli Cinema.

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