U.K. Jewish Film Festival Set to Open With Ilan Duran Cohen's 'The Jewish Cardinal'

The 17th year of the event also will include a gala event for Jill Soloway's "Afternoon Delight," starring Juno Temple.

LONDON – The 17th year of the U.K. Jewish Film Festival opens Oct. 30 with a screening of TV movie The Jewish Cardinal (Le metis de Dieu) with an introduction from its French director, Ilan Duran Cohen.

The screening at the British Film Institute's Southbank Centre in the British capital marks the start of more than two weeks of screenings, events and Q&As across five cities -- London, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester – to herald Jewish movie-making.

Organizers said on the eve of the event that 53 of its movies will mark their U.K. debuts and come from such countries as Argentina, Israel, the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France and the Czech Republic. 

The 17-year-old festival also is aiming to maintain its youth by launching, for the first time, a new VOD channel, sponsored by digital marketing banner Think Jam.

Among the U.S. titles programmed to unspool will be Sundance winner Jill Soloway's Afternoon Delight, starring Juno Temple, and Tracie Holder's documentary Joe Papp in Five Acts, a portrait of the legendary New York theater producer Joe Papp.

The U.K. premiere will be followed by a discussion with Holder alongside actress Zoe Wanamaker and theater director Nicolas Kent, among others.

Other movies programmed include sassy comedy Blumenthal, starring Brian Cox, with New York writer-director Seth Fisher, billed in some quarters as the next Woody Allen, in town for a Q&A following the screening.

New Israeli cinema on offer includes the first IMAX screening in the U.K. of The Congress, Ari Folman’s follow-up to Waltz With Bashir and Yariv Horowitz’s Rock the Casbah, winner of the Art Cinema Award at Berlin this year.

The festival also will present 27 documentaries from around the world, including a retrospective of the work of celebrated London filmmaker Marc Isaacs.

The closing night gala Nov. 17  will feature the U.K. premiere of Eytan Fox’s Cupcakes, a musical comedy about life, love and friendship that some have called the guiltiest pleasure of the year.

Festival founder and executive director Judy Ironside said: "With a powerful lineup of international features and documentaries featuring strong new talent and some world-famous directors, there is a film for everyone in this eclectic program."