With cinemas shuttered across Australia, avid moviegoers have been re-directed to their sofas and the plethora of streaming services on offer. But that doesn’t mean that the film festival experience has to grind to a complete halt.
While we cross our fingers and hope for Covid-19 to pass in time for this year’s Jewish International Film Festival (JIFF) planned for October, artistic director Eddie Tamir is taking decisive action now.
The festival has just added a triple bill of top picks from the 2019 program to an exciting collection of previous fest highlights available as video-on-demand treats.
The newbies include director Avi Nesher’s family drama and Israeli box office champion The Other Story, Latvian holocaust thriller The Mover and, if you're after lighter fare, witty Russian satire The Humorist.
The films are available for 72-hour rentals or to buy outright at various prices. Expect to see more festivals joining JIFF in embracing VOD platforms soon.
JIFF artistic director Eddie Tamir says film and storytelling are vital in a time like this.
“This crazy virus era highlights our interconnectedness,” he says. “Quality storytelling has always done the same in the most positive way from the campfire to the cinema. Stories take us on journeys, moving us to empathy with a range of characters from the exotic to the familiar and showing us that, at the most fundamental level, we are all the same.”
Tamir added that the messages of support he had received from patrons and furloughed staff of his Ritz Cinema in Sydney's Randwick and three Melbourne movie palaces – the Classic, Lido and Cameo – has been overwhelming.
“This is the first time we’ve been closed in 23 years,” he said, “More than ever we are aware of the value of shared experience. When we emerge from our bunkers, we will have a heightened appreciation.”
Check out the JIFF VOD collection here.