Israeli film festival set for this weekend

Thursday August 19, 2010

BRATTLEBORO-- The Israeli Film Festival is back for its fourth year with films that include, among other things, Israeli sumo wrestlers.

"’A Matter of Size’ is a comedy, one that I think people are just gong to have a smile on their face after they see it," said Martin Cohn, president of the Brattleboro Area Jewish Community, which organizes and hosts the event.

The festival will take place this weekend. On Saturday, "A Matter of Size" will be shown at the Hooker Dunham Theater on Main Street at 7 p.m.

This will be the premier showing of the film in Vermont. It’s a movie about a group of friends who are tired of being ostracized for being overweight and form a sumo wrestling team.

"Even though it’s a comedy, it has a really important message about overweight people learning to accept themselves," Cohn said.

The film has won three Israeli "Oscars," called Ophir Awards, in 2010.

"A Matter of Size" will be followed by the movie "Ruth," which tells the story of an adolescent girl who lives in the most dangerous place in Israel, where she must fight to interpret her faith in her own way.

Raffle tickets for prizes from local merchants will be offered, and a light fare of traditional Israeli and Middle Eastern desserts and snacks will be served during the intermission.

The festival will continue at 1 p.m. on Sunday with the screening of "Mrs. Moskovitz and the Cats" and "Bruriah" at the Mountain Park Cinema in West Dover.

At both venues, doors will open a half-hour before the films begin.

The process for selecting the films was not taken lightly, said Cohn. A committee of BAJC members watched more than 30 Israeli films, he said. They went through several rounds of voting before coming up with the four winners.

Now that they are in their fourth year of the festival, the committee pretty much has the process down to a science, Cohn said.

With support from the community, he added, the festival has grown each year.

"The reason the idea came about originally was that we wanted to have a fundraiser, number one, and number 2 we were looking for something different," Cohn said.

They thought about doing a Jewish festival, he said, but then it occurred to them that they could do a film festival where the only stipulation was that the film had to be created in Israel.

"What we wanted to show is that there is this vibrant industry in Israel," Cohn said.

The event sold out last year, Cohn said, so he encourages people to purchase their tickets early.

Ordered in advance, tickets are $18 for each day. Tickets purchased at the door are $25 if there are seats available. You can order tickets for either or both days by calling 257-1959. Checks made out to BAJC can be mailed to P.O. Box 2353, Brattleboro. Tickets will either be mailed when payment is received or held at the door.

Information about the festival and summaries of the films can be found at the congregation’s website:

The annual Israeli Film and Food Festival is supported in part by a grant from the Jewish Arts & Culture Initiative of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation.

Jaime Cone can be reached at or 802-254-2311, ext. 277.


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