Israel Film Festival of Los Angeles’ Opening Night Gala

The 29th Israel Film Festival Opening Night Gala is on October 28th at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills.

Legendary actress Helen Mirren will be honored with the  2015 Israel Film Festival Career Achievement Award.  Mirren, internationally recognized for her work on stage, screen and television, recently starred in WOMAN IN GOLD.  She received an Academy Award, Golden Globe, SAG Award and BAFTA Award for portraying Queen Elizabeth II in THE QUEEN and a Tony Award for THE AUDIENCE.  Upcoming films include TRUMBO and EYE IN THE SKY.

Israel Film Festival poster
Israel Film Festival poster

Academy Award nominated actress Diane Lane will present Helen Mirren with the IFF Career Achievement Award. Lane co-stars with Mirren in the upcoming film TRUMBO. Her other credits include: MAN OF STEEL, SECRETARIAT, UNFAITHFUL and THE PERFECT STORM.

Aaron Sorkin will be bestowed the 2015 Israel Film Festival Achievement in Film & Television Award. Sorkin is one of Hollywood’s most successful film and television screenwriters. An Academy Award, Golden Globe, Primetime Emmy Award and BAFTA winner, his film credits include A FEW GOOD MEN, THE SOCIAL NETWORK, MONEYBALL and recently STEVE JOBS, and for television SPORTS NIGHT, THE WEST WING and THE NEWSROOM.

Dr. Sharon S. Nazarian will receive the 2015 Israel Film Festival Humanitarian Award. She is president of the Y&S Nazarian Family Foundation and founder of the Younes & Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies at UCLA and Chair of its Advisory Board.

David Fariborz Diaan will be the Master of Ceremonies. Diaan’s many acting credits include:  BABA JOON, THE BRINK, HOMELAND, THE STONING OF SORAYA M.

The Opening Night Film is BABA JOON with Filmmakers – Yuval Delshad– Writer/Director; David Silber – Producer;  Navid Negahban –  Actor/Producer; David Diaan – Actor; David Siegel – Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles and Meir Fenigstein – Director/Founder of ISRAEL FILM FESTIVAL

Still of Baba Joon with actors Navid Negahban and Asher Avrahami
Still of Baba Joon with actors Navid Negahban and Asher Avrahami

Baba Joon is a very touching story and it’s a very multi-cultural story about an Iranian immigrant family in Israel.  Yitzhak (Navid Negahban) runs the turkey farm his father built with his own two hands after they emigrated from Iran to Israel. When his son Moti (Asher Avrahami) turns thirteen, Yitzhak teaches him the trade, hoping that he will continue the proud family tradition. But Moti doesn’t like working in the turkey barn; his passion is fixing up junkyard cars and bringing them back to life.

Moti’s mother Sarah  (Viss Elliot Safavi) tries to reconcile between the two, while his grandfather pushes Yitzhak to take a firm hand with his son.

Yitzhak takes Moti’s refusal to work in the turkey barn as a personal rejection. Though he loves his son dearly, he makes it his mission to impose the family farm on Moti.  

The arrival of Darius (Fariborz David Diaan) , the uncle from America, sets off a chain of events that will undermine the familial harmony. Soon enough Yitzhak will learn that his son is just as stubborn as he is. The conflict is inevitable. Baba means father in Farsi and is a term of endearment and respect in Persian culture. So indeed it’s an appropriate title. 

For nearly three decades, the Festival has presented over 900 feature films, documentaries, television dramas and short films to 950,000 filmgoers and brought hundreds of Israeli filmmakers to the U.S. to share their art.  The ISRAEL FILM FESTIVAL is produced by IsraFest Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization created in 1982.  Among the Sponsors of the 29th ISRAEL FILM FESTIVAL are long-time partners Israel Film Fund, The Hollywood Reporter, Rabinovitch Film Fund, Variety, The Jerusalem Film and TV Fund, Eclipse, Millennium Films, The IAC (Israeli American Council), The ATLS World Wide, Maurice Marciano Family Foundation, Diane & Guilford Glazer Foundation, Bank Leumi USA, Four Seasons Hotel, The Orlando, Clear Channel, New Regency Productions, Yvel, Menchie’s and the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles, to name a few.

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Dustin Brown

I am the Senior Editor at

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