For its eighth year, the Victoria International Jewish Film Festival (VIJFF) expands its showcasing of cross-cultural films with Jewish and Jewish-adjacent themes, and enhances its reach by making the festival a free event.
Running November 1 to 6, the 2022 VIJFF entails in-person film events at the Vic Theatre (808 Douglas Street) and online screenings via the VIJFF’s virtual cinema portal (watch.eventive.org/vijff2022).
In-person film events, programmed around five feature-length films and one family program, include varied pre-show live music and an in-cinema snack (nosh) that celebrates Jewish, Middle Eastern and related cultural cuisine.
“The 2022 VIJFF and its program of relatable cross-cultural cinema were informed by themes of reconciliation, recovery and repair,” notes festival co-director Deborah Bricks. She adds, “Many of this year’s films, such as the Spanish film Alegría, the German film Wet Dog, and the Israeli film More Than I Deserve are about outsiders—those who are different because of where they came from or because they can no longer connect to the culture they were raised in—and are about navigating one’s sense of self within the societies that one lives in.”
The eighth annual VIJFF opens at 6:15 pm on November 1, running in-person film events every evening through November 6 (except Friday evening):
Alegría, a Spanish film about a Jewish woman reluctantly planning her niece’s Orthodox Jewish wedding. Pre-show by Marley Biranbaum.
The Mind of a Child, a Canadian film about Lorna Wanosts’a7 Williams’ work with Indigenous children and multi-generational trauma, and psychologist Reuven Feuerstein, who worked with immigrant children and children who survived the Holocaust. Pre-show by the Anishinaabe Mitchell Sisters, plus a conversation with Williams and director Gary Marcuse.
A Kaddish for Bernie Madoff, a particularly Jewish, humorously critical musical about the Ponzi schemer. Pre-show by writer/performer Alicia Jo Rabins, plus a conversation with Rabins and director Alicia J. Rose.
Greener Pastures, a charming Israeli film about love and longing and crime and cannabis at a widower’s senior’s home. Pre-show jazz with guitarist Elliot Freedman and bassist Ashlin Richardson.
One More Story, an Israeli film about a writer’s Faustian bargain with her editor and former lover. Pre-show by the Avram McCagherty Trio.
A lively VIJFF family program at 1:15 pm. on November 6 will entertain with the short Irish comedy Hannah Cohen’s Holy Communion, a storyteller, a sing-along duo, a balloon-twister, and crafts!
Online screenings start November 2, dealing with issues of loss of identity, community and family:
Wet Dog, an inter-cultural coming-of-age story about a Jewish Iranian-German youth.
More Than I Deserve, a bittersweet film about a Russian immigrant child and his mother in Israel.
Kindertransports to Sweden, about children saved from Nazi terror (viewable as of October 30, and part of the November 2 program of The Mind of a Child).
Guided by the notion of tikkun olam—Hebrew for “repair of the world” (which is captured wistfully and whimsically in the 2022 festival poster by Victoria-based artist Ken Steacy)—the VIJFF is a non-religious, multicultural program of the Jewish Community Centre of Victoria that builds capacity and connections among communities through cinema about Jewish and Jewish-adjacent themes and their intersections.
Tickets are free. Donations are appreciated. Visit vijff.ca for information.