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This bride’s arranged marriage could fall apart if she is pressured to marry her newly-widowed brother-in-law. Photo courtesy of the Brooklyn Israel Film Festival

The Brooklyn Israel Film Festival at Kane Street Synagogue marks its 10th anniversary, presenting some of the most exciting new films coming out of Israel. The 2014 festival features three nights of award-winning, thought-provoking films, discussions with film experts, plus a 10th anniversary opening night reception. The festival starts on Thursday, Jan. 23, and continues Saturday night, Jan. 25 and Sunday, Jan. 26. No films are shown on Friday night for Shabbat.

Relationships are the core theme of the 2014 films. There’s a grandson and his 96-year-old grandmother, a closeted Palestinian student and his openly gay Israeli lover and a young ultra-Orthodox woman and her widowed brother-in-law.

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96-year-old Miriam bonds with her grandson to rescue the legendary Photo House. Photo courtesy of the Brooklyn Israel Film Festival

The 2014 festival kicks off on Thursday, Jan.  23 at 8 p.m. with Life In Stills, a funny and touching documentary about the bonding of Miriam Weissenstein (age 96) and her grandson Ben as they join forces under the cloud of a family tragedy to save the legendary Photo House studio and its nearly one million negatives documenting Israel’s defining moments. This film won the 2012 Israeli Oscar (Ophir) for Best Documentary. An opening night reception at 7:15 precedes the film. After the showing, a Skype interview and Q&A session with director Tamar Tal will be offered.

The festival continues on Saturday, Jan.  25 at 8 p.m., with Out in the Dark, a riveting thriller about Roy, a well-connected Israeli lawyer who falls in love with Nimer, an ambitious Palestinian student whose life depends on hiding his sexual identity from his family and community. When their love is tested by socio-political forces beyond their control, their lives are altered in ways they never imagined. This film, suited for mature audiences, won Best Film category at the Haifa International Film Festival, 2012. Producer Lihu Roter will take part in a post-film Q&A.

The Brooklyn Israel Film Festival concludes on Sunday, Jan.  26 at 7 p.m. with Fill the Void, an emotional drama offering an intimate glimpse into the cloistered world of an ultra-Orthodox family. Eighteen-year-old Shira Mendelman is looking forward to an arranged marriage with a man her own age, but when her sister dies in childbirth, she is pressured to marry her widowed brother-in-law. Fill the Void is the winner of seven 2012 Israeli Academy (Ophir) Awards including Best Film, Best Director and Best Screenplay.

Tickets are $12 per film or $30 for the entire series of three films, and can be purchasedm at at the door. For more information about the festival, go to



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