5th Annual Sonoma County Israeli Film Festival Kicks Off with Trans Drama

The Jewish Community Center (JCC) presents the 5th Annual Sonoma County Israeli Film Festival, March 3-31, at Rialto Cinemas Sebastopol. The festival seeks to nurture an appreciation of Israeli culture in Sonoma County, exploring the human stories and important issues facing Israeli society, and the larger world.

The 2020 films focus on issues of gender identity, love at old age, the pull between secular and orthodox, and the Palestinian and Israeli conflict, and include comedies, dramas, international award winners, and a Bay Area premiere. Israel has a robust and prolific film industry, many films of which never grace our screens – the JCC is proud to present these gems to our Sonoma County communities.

All films are on Tuesdays and screen twice on the day, at 1 pm and 7 pm.

FLAWLESS (Coming of Age) – BAY AREA PREMIERE – Tuesday, March 3, 1 pm & 7 pm Eden has a deeply held secret. An outcast at her new high school, she discovers that her only two friends have been lured into a plot to sell their organs to pay for cosmetic surgery and prom dresses. Believing she has found the answer to her prayers, she joins them on an international adventure. The film’s star, Stav Strashko, was the first transgender woman nominated for the Best Actress Israeli (Ophir) Academy Award.

There will be a special post-show talk following the 7 pm screening.

TEL AVIV ON FIRE (Comedy) – Tuesday, March 17, 1 pm & 7 pm

Young Palestinian Salam is an assistant on the soap opera “Tel Aviv on Fire.” When he is suddenly stopped on his daily commute to work at an Israeli military checkpoint, he pretends to be the screenwriter to get through. But the tough officer Assi – whose wife loves the show – has a few storyline ideas of his own. Salam is trapped in a hilarious and impossible situation in this delicious film that walks the fine comedic line of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Winner of Best Film at the Venice Film Festival and Best Screenplay at the Israeli (Ophir) Academy Awards.

THE OTHER STORY (Drama) – Tuesday, March 24, 1 pm & 7 pm

Anat flees the chaos of her secular upbringing for the discipline and comfort of Hassidic life. Engaged to marry her now-religious, formerly wild-and-crazy pop star boyfriend, her family is determined to stop the marriage and lure her away from orthodoxy. Directed by the legendary Avi Nesher, the film weaves captivating stories about the complex diversity of Israeli Jewish life.

LOVE IN SUSPENDERS (Romantic Comedy) – Tuesday, March 31, 1 pm & 7 pm

When feisty, absent-minded widow Tami hits gruff widower Beno with her car, the last thing on her mind is romance. Warned by her attorney son, Tami tries to ensure Beno will not sue her by inviting him to her luxury apartment in a retirement community. A heartwarming comedy about overcoming loss and celebrates the right to love and be loved at any age.

Important Dates: February 1: season tickets on sale; February 8: individual tickets on sale. Tickets at JCCSOCO.ORG. For more information, contact Irène Hodes, Film Festival Director.

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