Karen Aflalo

President of the CSUQ

One of the great qualities of the Montreal Israeli Film Festival, organized by the Communauté Sépharade unifiée du Québec, is its ability, year after year, to combine tradition and novelty. And the 18th edition of the FCIM, which will take place from December 6th to December 17th 2023, is part of this great tradition.

Indeed, due to the ongoing situation of war in Israel, the FCIM will take place entirely online from December 6th to December 17th, 2023, and it will be completely free of charge. The entire team has worked urgently to ensure the festival’s continuation so that the audience can enjoy high-quality and diverse films.

How can we not underline the phenomenal work of the co-presidents of the FCIM, Chantal and Gérard Buzaglo, who, along with the General Delegate, Élie Castiel, all the members of the selection committee and the professionals of the CSUQ, have concocted an exceptional program.

Over the course of its seven decades of history, Israeli cinema has undergone many changes, from Zionist realism to social protest or criticism of discrimination, through new wave inspirations. In total freedom, it forces reflection on the major societal issues that punctuate the life of this young state to which we are passionately attached.

The history of the FCIM is marked by the quality of the members of the Jury that had the difficult task of choosing those who distinguish themselves in a very high-level pool. The FCIM 2023 jury, chaired by Mr. Guy Fournier, is no exception to the rule. I would like to thank him very warmly.

Finally, I would like to pay tribute to all our sponsors, in particular Israel Bonds, who have enabled the Communauté sépharade unifiée du Québec to offer you, once again this year, the Montreal Israeli Film Festival that is increasingly renowned and important on the Montreal cultural scene.

I wish you an excellent Festival.

Karen Aflalo

Paul Hirschson

Consul General of Israel in Montreal

Since writing my message to you below we in Israel experienced a depraved massacre in southern Israel at the hands of barbarians who seek to derail peace, partnership and better times. A war was imposed on Israel. A war we didn’t want.

Tears. So many tears. But tears are not weakness. 2023 is not 1943. We’ve been there before; we’re not going there again. They have chosen the wrong generation of my People to do this to. As we address the darkness that engulfed us, we will still live, we will still embrace Israeli culture. My original message stands, unedited:

As Montreal’s winter slowly creeps in what could be better than a few evenings of wonderful Israeli film! Israel’s film industry has proved itself and taken a place in the first division of the global film scene.

Provocative, thoughtful, heartbreaking, inspiring. Educational, insightful, new, adventurous.

Israel and Israeli culture at its very best. It is truly a pleasure to welcome you to CSUQ’s Montreal Israel Film Festival, a landmark event on Montreal’s world class cultural scene. I hope you enjoy the film and invite you to visit Israel (again, if you have already!) for a fuller experience and immersion into one of the most exciting ventures of the 21st century – Israel.

Paul Hirschson

Chantal and Gérard Buzaglo

Co-Chairs of the Festival

The year 2023 is a year that will mark the history of Israel. If the first nine months showed a division of its population on the subject of judicial reform, the tragic events of October 7 committed by Hamas reunited the Israeli people who are currently waging, once again, an existential war.

Given the dark days that the Israeli population is experiencing and out of respect for the victims and their families, the Communauté sépharade unifiée du Québec has made the decision to offer, free of charge and online, the festival, from December 6 to 17, 2023, to the entire population in order to promote, through its cinema, a better knowledge of Israel and its society.

This year, the Montreal Israeli Film Festival offers a selection of 10 films that you can watch at any time from the comfort of your home.

The 10th film in the selection is the short film “The Boy”, by young director Yahav Winner, which was added at the last minute to the program. We wanted to honor the memory of Yahav Winner who was killed at Kibbutz Kfar Aza on October 7.

This year’s edition was made possible thanks to our generous sponsors.

We express our deep gratitude to Israel Bonds, our main partner, for its support in the realization of the Montreal Israeli Film Festival this year.

We warmly thank all our sponsors who, year after year, support the festival.

We would like to thank Élie Castiel, General Delegate of the festival and the members of the selection committee, Georgette Bensimon, Élie Castiel, Claire Kramer and Beverly Shaffer for their judicious comments in the choice of films for this year’s program.

A big thank you to Guy Fournier, president of the Jury for this year’s edition and to all the members of the Jury for the time spent viewing the films in competition and for deliberating for the awards les Lys d’Or. The Jury award ceremony will take place during the festival’s closing ceremony on December 17.

We extend our sincere thanks to the president of the CSUQ, Karen Aflalo and its director, Benjamin Bitton, for their constant support. We express our sincere appreciation to Sabine Malka, director of cultural affairs and the entire CSUQ team for their professionalism during the preparation of the festival.

Finally, a warm thank you to you, spectators, who come year after year to this annual event and who, with your enthusiasm, encourage the Communauté sépharade unifiée du Québec to maintain this essential celebration of Montreal cultural life.

Chantal and Gérard Buzaglo

Elie Castiel

General Delegate of the Festival

Dear movie fans,

A difficult period for the State of Israel, which, since the beginning of the year, has been caught in the turmoil of its most solid institution, unique compared to the neighboring countries: democracy and which, a few weeks ago , suffered a tragedy, followed by a new existential war. Out of respect for the victims, the festival organizers will present this year’s edition online from December 6 to 17, 2023.

Handpicked films: Karaoke, programmed in several international festivals, confirms the extent to which Israeli cinema continues its cinematic journey with a prolific sense of creativity.

Despite everything, Israel is the only democracy in this region of the world. Between individualism and solidarity, the Israeli soul projects the contradictions and agreements that every democratic nation cherishes.

Even among the Orthodox, especially among young couples, things are changing. You will have the opportunity to realize this with Mordechai Vardi’s film, Barren, a powerful intimate drama on a very current subject, sterility. Protagonists played by exceptional actors.

Without forgetting two captivating documentaries: Savoy, by Zohar Wagner, between documentary and fiction, a questioning of moving images and their repercussions on the gaze; and Sabotage, by Noa Aharoni, between the art of animation and committed documentary, a look at the resistance of women at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

A big thank you to our Co-Presidents, Chantal, and Gérard Buzaglo, who, as usual, continue to carry out their task with great and necessary tenacity so that Israeli cinema remains visible wherever it can.

Happy festival to all.

Elie Castiel

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