So big, it has two venues this year

Now in its 25th year, the Israel Film Festival has become one of the oldest and longest running ones around. And to celebrate this momentous stepping stone, they've upsized their offerings, screening more than 15 films, documentaries, classics and a 10-episode TV series over 10 days and across two venues this year.

While the festival sheds light on the issues that plague the citizens of Israel every day in a visually captivating fashion with strangely endearing and all-encompassing plots that gets you fully absorbed, the most exciting part is that year after year, they've curated a roster of films that is very inclusive. This year is no different, showcasing a host of woman-centric films as well as documentaries that unearth Israel’s bustling gay scene.

The festival kicks off on Aug 24 and goes on till Sep 3 at The Projector, opening with A Quiet Heart, which follows a young female concert pianist who finds herself persecuted by religious extremism and intolerance.

Along the same thread of women empowerment and their daily struggles are highlights like Past Life, a suspense thriller where two sisters who are daughters of Holocaust survivors go deep into finding out what their father went through in Poland during the second World War; the award-winning dramedy In Between, which follows three strong, modern and independent Palestinian-Israeli women in Tel Aviv who struggle to maintain their identity while being confronted with a patriarchal Palestinian society’s expectations and traditions; and Sand storm, the highly acclaimed debut feature by director Elite Zexer that depicts a multi-layered relationship between a mother and daughter who, bound by religious customs and traditions, are divided because of their struggles to adapt to a changing world.

There’s also the sobering documentary, Undressing Israel: Gay Men in the Promised Land, which puts a side of Israel too often overlooked under a microscope, showcasing interviews with a gay member of Israel’s parliament, an openly gay army personnel and a pair of dads raising their kids, to put to bed the world’s misconception of its thriving and very forward gay scene. But if all that is too hard-hitting for you, you can always catch the light-hearted documentary, Hummus! The Movie, where you’ll get to look into the lives of three characters—a hardworking Muslim woman, a jovial Jew and a young Christian Arab—who, despite having very different historical and cultural backgrounds, share their love for the delicious dip made by mashing chickpeas, hummus.

Part two of the festival takes place on Sep 8-10 at The Arts House, where they’ll be screening four classic films that’ll give you a fascinating peek into the early days of Israeli culture and society to an intimate audience of 75 people, so make sure you grab those tickets quickly. Films like the Israeli Academy Award-winning Desperado Square, which depicts two brothers who go on a mission to reopen an old neighborhood cinema to screen a neighborhood favorite, only to find out that their uncle holds the only copy; as well as The Seven Days, which puts the spotlight on the Jewish tradition of a week-long mourning after a family member has died; are sure to sell like hotcakes.

For more info and ticketing for films at The Projector, click here. For films at The Arts House, click here.