Jewish comedy not just a punchline

Friday, May 2, 2008
Michael Posner

If comedy is your poison of choice, you're in luck: There's a nine-day supply available at this year's Toronto Jewish Film Festival.

Although the lineup includes the usual assortment of dramas (including last year's Oscar-nominated Beaufort), history lessons (Everything is Personal, about the long-time feud between Israeli leaders Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres) and offbeat Holocaust films (The House on August Street), festival organizers seem to have laboured especially hard to inject the schedule with cinematic and televised comedy.

"It's part of what we call our sidebar programming," festival curator Ellie Skrow says. "We did Jews and black music two years ago, and blacklisted screenwriters last year. This year, it's comedy. Some of these films were quite hard to get. That's what I try to do: find material not readily available."


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