The Toronto Jewish Film Festival has teamed up with No Silence on Race to curate a selection of films. From India to Ghana, Uganda to Iraq, Israel to North America, the films reflect Jewish life from around the world. The list also includes films that delve into the complexities of race, the politics of recognition and social unrest faced by Jews and non-Jews within the Jewish Diaspora and in Israel.
No Silence on Race is a movement born out of the necessity for racial equity and inclusivity within Canadian Jewish spaces. Dedicated to building a Jewish community reflective of its immense diversity, the movement is committed to advocacy, education, and change.
J-Flix is an initiative of the Toronto Jewish Film Foundation showcasing the rich legacy of films from Canada’s leading presenter of Jewish-content film for 27+ years. Currently, over 135+ curated titles are available for streaming (for free!) including documentaries, feature length narratives, shorts, along with beloved archival films, all of which represent the global flavour of TJFF programming.
Register for J-Flix for free on j-flix.com
85 mins | Canada | 2016
Director: Gabrielle Zilkha
While working on Ghana, Gabrielle Zilkha discovers the vibrant Sefwi Jewish community. She brings us along on her journey to better understand what it means to belong to the Jewish people and why some people’s Judaism is questioned while that of others is taken at face value.
Watch the film now and then join us for a live Zoom panel discussion
on Sunday, February 7 at 1:00PM.
34 mins | Canada | 2007
Director: Joe Balass
Languages: English, Arabic
Featuring a unique collection of archival images, home movies and family photographs from Iraq, Baghdad Twist is a short film that pulls back the curtain on Iraq’s once-thriving Jewish community. Baghdad-born filmmaker Joe Balass takes us on a journey through the fragmented memories of an Arab exile. This powerful collage forms a portrait of a time and place that no longer exists.
28 mins | United States | 2015
Director: Hal Rifkin
The recipient of a Fulbright scholarship for a project about Indian-Jewish narratives, Siona Benjamin has had her work featured in numerous publications including The New York Times and Art in America. Filmmaker Hal Rifkin captures her transfixing artwork, resplendent with jaw-dropping imagery painted in a riot of colour. Born in Mumbai to a Jewish family, Benjamin synthesizes her Jewish roots with Hindu, Catholic, Muslim and Zoroastrian iconography of India. In blending these disparate sources, she produces something wholly original and utterly mesmerizing. A visually stunning portrait of this Indian-American artist.
49 mins | Israel | 2015Director: Tal Haim Yoffe
Director Tal Haim Yoffe (The Green Dumpster Mystery) joins asylum seekers from Eritrea and Sudan, along with their supporters, as they set out for an orderly march through Tel Aviv. Along the way, Yoffe looks at how the city’s streets and monuments reflect the diverse cultures that were welcomed by the ‘White City.’ As the demonstration grows, the call builds for the city to welcome its newest residents. An expertly-crafted documentary that looks at how a demonstration for tolerance of Tel Aviv’s most recent arrivals fits with the history of the city, as shaped by Jewish immigrants from around the world.
74 mins | Israel | 2012
Director: Ran Tal
Languages: Arabic, Hebrew, Russian
“An increasingly rare meditation on the possibility of co-existence” (Ha’aretz). Winner of the Best Director of a Documentary Film Award at the 2012 Jerusalem Film Festival, The Garden of Eden follows a year in the life of Gan HaShlosha (better known as the “Sakhne”) one of the largest and most visited parks in Israel, and reveals the interaction among the diverse cross-section of Jews, Arabs, ultra-Orthodox, and various immigrant groups that swim, bathe, eat and play within this stunning stretch of nature. Filmmaker Ran Tal (Children of the Sun, The Museum) finds the visual beauty not just of the location, but also of the diverse people—their faces as well as their stories—and compassionately taps into the humour, sadness and dreams of this collective portrait.
143 mins | France, Italy, Israel | 2005
Director: Radu Mihaileanu
Languages: French, Hebrew, Amharic
A heartwarming story of a young Ethiopian boy whose mother realizes he can only survive if he poses as one of the Ethiopian Jews being secretly airlifted to Israel from a refugee camp in the Sudan. The film follows this young boy’s life, growing up in a new and strange society, while yearning to see his mother again.
57 mins | United States | 2013
Directors: Rachel Pasternak, Rachel Fisher
An invaluable portrait of Rabbi Joachim Prinz, a leading figure in the American civil rights movement. As a young rabbi in 1930s Berlin, he endured repeated arrests after openly preaching against the Nazi regime and encouraging Jews to emigrate. Expelled from Germany in 1937, Prinz arrived in the United States where he was dismayed to see racism against African Americans. As rabbi of Temple B’nai Abraham in Newark and as President of the American Jewish Congress, his passionate civil rights activism culminated in his 1963 March on Washington speech.
12 mins | Germany | 1993
Director: Pepe Danquart
Everybody knows this kind of situation, it’s happened to all of us in some form or another – on the subway or the bus, in a bar – someone is abused and everyone just stands around, refusing to get involved.