Monday, June 05, 2023

Fill the Void, the award-winning Israeli drama written and directed by Rama Burshtein, has been delighting audiences in the USA since its premiere in May. Film fans and supporters of the Teaneck International Film Festival are urged to wait until the weekend of November 15-17, 2013, to see it as part of the eighth annual Teaneck International Film Festival (TIFF).

Described in the Village Voice (May 29, 2013), after it was released by Sony Pictures, as a “sensitive, gorgeous debut,” the 90-minute drama is about a matrimonial dilemma among the haredim in Israel. An 18-year old daughter is urged by her mother to marry her brother-in-law when his wife—her older sister—dies in her ninth month of pregnancy, leaving a baby boy whom the grandmother is afraid she will lose to a marriage arranged with someone in Belgium. The story “has nothing whatsoever to do with the religious-secular dialogue” according to Ms. Burshtein, “but opens a peephole into . . . a very special and complex world.”

Rama Burshtein was born in New York in 1967. She graduated from the Sam Spiegel Film and Television School in Jerusalem in 1994. During those years, Rama became deeply religious and upon her graduation, dedicated herself to promoting film as a tool for self-expression in the Orthodox community. Some of them are for women only. She was also teaching directing and scriptwriting in various film and television institutions within that community, including Ma’ale Film School, the source of a program of shorts that was shown by TIFF in 2011. Fill the Void is her first feature film.

According to TIFF executive director, Jeremy Lentz, “the treatment of this subject is perfect for our theme, Activism: Making Change, in that its approach to a difficult subject will encourage dialogue and promote understanding of a culture that is frequently misunderstood and judged by the secular world.” According to Lentz, a talk-back after the screening will provide an opportunity for questions and discussion.

Information about this and other films, as well as details about tickets and a growing list of TIFF sponsors may be found on the TIFF website: www.teaneckfilmfestival.org. Major benefactors are the Puffin Foundation; Benzel-Busch Motor Car Corp; Teaneck Suburbanite; Davis, Saperstein & Salomon; Crowne Plaza Englewood; NJ TV; Ace Media Corp.; and New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, through grant funds administered by the Bergen County Department of Parks, Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs.

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