The Donald M. Ephraim Palm Beach Film Festival©

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The Donald M. Ephraim Palm Beach Film Festival©

Presented by MorseLife

To Offer 16 Feature Films and Documentaries Directed by Women

January 26 through February 16, 2023

(West Palm Beach, FL – December 27, 2022) “Experience the Magic of Cinema” is the slogan of a major new cultural event: The Donald M. Ephraim Palm Beach Film Festival© Presented by MorseLife. Offering dozens of unique features, documentaries, and short films from 20 different countries, the inaugural festival will have a truly international focus, celebrating cinematic excellence and reflecting a commitment to global diversity.

Sixteen of the 37 feature films and documentaries in the Festival, which runs January 26 through February 16, were either directed or co-directed by women, including:

Ali & Ava

ALI & AVA

Director: Clio Barnard

(Feature—UK—2021)                                                                                                                  This romance is a bundle of good humor and nervous energy. Ali is a British Pakistani working-class landlord who forges close bonds with his tenants. One day, while picking up one of his tenants’ children from school, he offers a lift to Ava, an Irish-born teacher and single mother of five. They bond almost instantly through their love of music. Their story serves as a reminder that it is sometimes the least likely connections that are the ones most worth pursuing. (Toronto International Film Festival, BAFTA Nominee Best British Film)

+ February 1, 3:45 pm – Movies of Lake Worth

+ February 14, 1:00 pm – Paragon Theatres of Delray Beach

+ February 14, 4:00 pm – CMX Wellington

Palm Beach Premiere   

BALABAN

Director: Aysulu Onarani 

(Feature—Kazakhstan—2022)                                                                                                

On the verge of adulthood, Ardak, a reserved 16-year-old schoolgirl who was diagnosed with HIV as a child, lives a sheltered life with her mother in a plush house in a part of Kazakhstan known for its dramatic mountains and vast nomadic steppe. Ardak dreams on moving to Paris and becoming the next big thing in fashion. After a chance meeting with an adventurous teen, Zhanna, at a local charity for HIV adolescents, they forge a plan to steal a prized falcon from Zhanna’s cousin to finance their trip—which proves to be the ultimate test of their relationship. (International Peace Film Festival)

+ January 30, 1:00 pm – Movies of Lake Worth

+ February 9, 1:00 pm – Paragon Theaters of Delray Beach

Palm Beach Premiere   

BREAKING THE ICE

Director: Clara Stern

(Feature—Austria—2022)

What happens when someone with a rigid approach to life meets their freewheeling opposite? Mira is the heir to an Austrian vineyard whose existence is defined by stress: the family business is barely staying afloat, her grandfather’s dementia is getting worse, and her brother Paul recently went missing. Mira’s sole outlet for all this anxiety is serving as the captain of a women’s ice hockey team. (Tribeca Film Festival)

+ January 27, 1:00 pm – Movies of Lake Worth

+ February 11, 1:30 pm – Paragon Theaters of Delray Beach

+ February 14, 1:00 pm – CMX Wellington

Calendar Girls

Palm Beach Premiere   

CALENDAR GIRLS

Director: Maria Loohufvud & Love Martinsen

(Documentary—Sweden—2022)

This “coming-of-golden-age” film follows senior volunteer dancers in Southwest Florida, who are determined to prove that age is just a number. The dancers give it all they’ve got: impressive makeup, handmade costumes, elaborate dance routines, unparalleled enthusiasm, and sparkling personalities. (Sundance Film Festival, Hot Docs Film Festival, Bergamo Film Festival Audience Award Best Documentary)

Note: The Calendar Girls will be Special Guests at all three Festival screenings.

+ January 28, 1:45 pm – Movies of Lake Worth

+ February 4, 1:30 pm – CMX at the Gardens

+ February 7, 1:00 pm – Regal Royal Palm

Cinema Sabaya

Palm Beach Premiere   

CINEMA SABAYA

Director: Orit Fouks Rotem

(Feature – Israel—2022)

A group of Arab and Jewish women attend a workshop run by Rona, a young filmmaker from Tel Aviv, to learn to document their lives on video. As each woman shares her raw footage with the others, they are all forced to challenge their preconceived views and beliefs, coming together as mothers, wives, and women. Based on the real-life experiences of the film’s director, with a remarkable cast consisting of professional and non-professional actors alike, Cinema Sabaya is a testament to the power of film and its unique capacity to spark mutual recognition and connection across cultures. (Jerusalem Film Festival Winner Best Israeli Debut & Audience Award, AFI Fest, Warsaw International Film Festival, UK Jewish Film Festival,  nominated for 8 Ophir awards (Israeli Academy) including: Best Film(winner), Best Director (winner), Best), Best Supporting Actress(winner), Israel’s official Oscar entry for Best International Feature Film)

+ February 7, 4:00 pm – CMX at the Gardens

+ February 13, 7:00 pm – CMX Wellington

+ February 13, 4:00 pm – Paragon Theatres in Delray Beach

Palm Beach Premiere   

HAUTE COUTURE

Director: Sylvia Ohayon

(Feature—France—2021)     

Esther is at the end of her career as Head Seamstress at Dior in the famous Avenue Montaigne workshop. When her handbag is stolen in the metro by 20-year-old Jade, Esther decides to help her rather than call the police. In the frenetic world of Haute Couture, Esther will give Jade a way to reach beyond herself and harness her creativity and talent. (Mill Valley Film Festival, Palm Spring International Film Festival)

+ February 2, 7:00 pm – CMX at the Gardens

+ February 7, 7:00 pm – Regal Royal Palm

+ February 14, 7:00 pm – CMX Wellington

Florida Premiere   

LOVE & MATHEMATICS

Director: Claudia Sainte-Luce

(Feature—Mexico—2022)                                                                          

This is a tale of longing, reconnection, and disconnection. Billy, a former boy band quasi–pop star, is now a dutiful stay-at-home dad, frustrated by the lack of fulfillment in his comfortable life. He’s someone who’s out of touch, especially with himself. Mónica a mild-mannered new neighbor, is a former devoted fan. Monica’s adoration reminds Billy of what his life used to be as a performer, with fans feeding his ego. It also reminds him of his passion for music, and he begins to play his guitar again. 

Note: Special Invited Festival Guest Sandro Florin, CEO of FiGa Films, will attend the February 8 screenings.

+ January 31, 1:00 pm – Movies of Lake Worth

+ February 8, 4:00 pm – CMX at the Gardens

+ February 8, 7:00 pm – Regal Royal Palm

Florida Premiere   

MISSION JOY: FINDING HAPPINESS IN TROUBLED TIMES

Directors: Louie Psihoyos & Peggy Callahan   

(Documentary—USA—2021)

Deeply moving and laugh-out-loud funny, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu share science-backed wisdom of how to live with joy in troubled times. With genuine affection, mutual respect and a healthy dose of teasing, these unlikely friends impart lessons gleaned from lived experience, ancient traditions, and the latest cutting-edge science regarding how to live with joy in the face of all of life’s challenges from the extraordinary to the mundane. (Tribeca Film Festival, Palm Springs International Film Festival, Cleveland Film Festival Ad Hoc Docs Winner)

+ January 31, 3:30 pm – Movies of Lake Worth

+ February 13, 1:00 pm – Paragon Theaters of Delray Beach

MY DONKEY, MY LOVER & I

Director: Caroline Vignal

(Feature—France—2020)                                                                                                                    

Schoolteacher Antoinette (Laure Calamy) is looking forward to her long-planned summer holidays with her secret lover Vladimir, the father of one of her pupils. When learning that Vladimir can’t make it because his wife organized a surprise trekking trip in the Cévennes National Park with their daughter and a donkey to carry their load, Antoinette impulsively decides to follow them, with Patrick, a cantankerous, protective donkey. Completely inexperienced in outdoor life, Antoinette forges quick bonds with Patrick, as she poignantly and uproariously stumbles toward self-revelation and independence. (Cannes Film Festival, Best Actress: Laure Calamy César Awards)

+ January 29, 6:00 pm – IPIC Boca Raton (includes 3-course dinner)

+ February 3, 4:00 pm – CMX at the Gardens               

+ February 14, 7:00 pm – Paragon Theaters in Delray Beach

 

Palm Beach Premiere   

NO STRAIGHT LINES: THE RISE OF QUEER COMICS

Director: Vivian Kleiman

(Documentary—USA—2021)

A lively look at five LGBTQ+ comic book artists whose careers go from the underground scene to the cover of Time Magazine and the international stage. This adaptation of Justin Hall’s anthology of the same name invites the artists to share their stories and observations on everything from the AIDS crisis and workplace discrimination to the search for love. It’s a warm-hearted tribute to all the artists among us, those who paint the world so that we can better understand it. (Tribeca Film Festival, AFI Docs Fest, Grand Jury Documentary Prize Outfest)

Note: Profanity, Sexual Content

+ January 28, 4:30 pm – Movies of Lake Worth

+ February 12, 1:30 pm – Paragon Theaters of Delray Beach

Palm Beach Premiere

SYLVIE OF THE SUNSHINE STATE

Director: Sasha Levinson

(Feature—USA—2022)

Palm Beach County filmmaker Sasha Levinson aims the lens at her multigenerational family in an unconventional hybrid documentary offering an honest glimpse into modern motherhood that will make parents everywhere feel a lot less alone. When the world was turning to chaos in the early stages of COVID-19, Sasha decided to make a film with her daughter. It began as a filmmaker’s experiment, but what emerged is a therapeutic exploration of single motherhood, distance co-parenting, and multigenerational trauma which ultimately gives way to healing. During the greatest mental health crisis of our time, this film provides an honest look at parenting and finding peace within the family. (Winner George Starks Spirit of Slamdance Award at Slamdance Film Festival, Sunscreen Film Festival) Note: Festival Special Guests at the screening include director Sasha Levinson and star Sylvie Bellanca.

+ January 28, 11:00 am – Movies of Lake Worth

Palm Beach Premiere

THE BLUE CAFTAN

Director: Maryam Touzani

(Feature—Belgium, Denmark, France, Morocco—2022)                                                      Middle-aged married couple Mina and Halim operate a small garment shop, from which master tailor Halim painstakingly embroiders magnificent caftans for a choosy clientele. Mina and Halim have an unconventional marriage, informed by affection and mutual respect but burdened by a secret that Halim can’t name. The film is an understated, yet immensely powerful exploration of the various forms love can take. (FIPRESCI prize–winning premiere in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section, Toronto International Film Festival, Morocco’s official Oscar entry for Best International Feature)

+ February 2, 7:00 pm – Movies of Lake Worth

+ February 7, 7:30 pm – CMX at the Gardens

+ February 15, 7:00 pm – Paragon Theaters in Delray Beach

Palm Beach Premiere

THE FORGER

Director: Maggie Peren

(Feature—Germany, Luxembourg—2022)

Berlin,1942. 21-year-old Cioma Schönhaus, a Jewish man, won’t let anyone take away his zest for life, especially not the Nazis. Since the best hiding spots are in plain sight, Cioma decides to go out into the light to escape deportation. Throughout the day he forges IDs with just a brush, some ink, and a steady hand – and saves the lives of many. Based on the true story of Cioma Schönhaus. (Berlin International Film Festival, Haifa Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival)

+ February 8, 1:00 pm – CMX at the Gardens

+ February 8, 3:30 pm – Regal Royal Palm

+ February 13, 1:00 pm – CMX Wellington

Florida Premiere

THE WILD ONE

Director: Tessa Louise-Salomé

(Documentary—France—2022)                                                                                     

The documentary traces the life journey of an enigmatic artist, Jack Garfein, his family’s fleeing the Nazis, surviving in Auschwitz, his 1946 arrival at 16 in New York and coming under the wing of Lee Strasberg, Hollywood, and his marriage to actress Carroll Baker. It examines how his experience in the concentration camps shaped his vision of acting as a survival mechanism. Narrated by Willem Defoe, the film explores the importance of his legacy as an artist who confronted censorship and reveals how art can draw on personal memory to better enlighten our present. (Winner Best Cinematography in a Documentary Film Tribeca Film Festival Winner Jury Prize Best Documentary Festival 2 Vincennes)

+ February 6, 1:30 pm – CMX at the Gardens

+ February 6, 1:30 pm – Regal Royal Palm Beach

+ February 15, 1:30 pm – Paragon Theaters in Delray Beach

Florida Premiere

THE WORST ONES

Directors: Romane Gueret & Lise Akoka

(Feature—France—2022)                                                                         

Set in the suburbs of Boulogne-Sur-Mer in northern France, the story captures a film within a film as it follows the production of a movie whose director turns to the local housing project for casting. Eager to capture performances of gritty authenticity, the director selects four working class teenagers to act in the film to the surprise of the local community, who question the director’s choice of “the worst ones”. (Un Certain Regard Grand Prize winner at Cannes, Toronto International Film Festival)

+ January 29, 7:30 pm – Movies of Lake Worth

+ February 12, 1:00 pm – CMX Wellington

Palm Beach Premiere

YOU CAN LIVE FOREVER

Directors: Sarah Watts & Mark Slutsky 

(Feature—Canada—2022)

In the early ’90s, gay teen Jaime is sent to live with her devout Jehovah’s Witness relatives after the death of her father. Jaime makes an unexpected connection with Marike, daughter of a prominent Witness Elder. The two are instantly drawn to each other, and begin a secret, unspoken romance. But when their attraction becomes too obvious to hide, the community moves to separate the two, forcing them each to make a terrible choice between faith and love. (Tribeca Film Festival, Directors Guild of Canada Outstanding Directorial Achievement nomination)

+ February 1, 7:00 pm – Movies of Lake Worth

+ February 3, 1:30 pm – CMX at the Gardens

+ February 10, 4:00 pm – Paragon Theaters in Delray Beach

“In addition to American, British, French, and Mexican movies, the upcoming festival will showcase a global array of audience-wowing and mind-expanding films from Canada, Austria, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Israel, Morocco, Kazakhstan, Kurdistan, New Zealand, Bolivia, Uruguay, and more,” says Festival Founder Donald M. Ephraim. “The films were specifically selected to foster dialogue and interaction among attendees and supporters.”

For a full list of participating theaters and scheduled movies at the upcoming The Donald M. Ephraim Palm Beach Film Festival, request a DMEPBFF brochure, or to become a member of the Festival Film Society, please call 561.867.3109 or visit www.DMEPBFF.org