The Hong Kong Jewish Film Festival is Asia’s first festival showcasing the best Jewish-themed films from around the world. Founded in 1999 by Howard Elias, the Festival has screened over 300 features, documentaries and short films from 34 countries in 34 languages and dialects. The Festival has hosted directors, producers, film critics and curators, who have attended the event to showcase their films, educate and offer their opinions to audience members. Among the topics the Festival has dealt with are Jewish identity, Yiddish classics, the Holocaust, Israel, food, holidays, music, and religious rituals and customs. One of the Festival’s unique qualities is that it attracts many non-Jewish people, with more than one-third of the audience falling into that demographic. It is a special and much loved event on Hong Kong's cultural calendar.
Newly appointed to the Board of Directors of the Hong Kong Jewish Film Festival in early 2018, Slavica Habjanović will present the festival. She has always had a passion for film and the creative industries and has played an active role in the arts and culture scene in Hong Kong ever since moving to the city. Originally from Australia, she set up the first Croatian Film Festival in Melbourne and subsequently helped with programming various other film-related events there. With a background in publishing, media and communications, she works across the design, literature and arts industries to help promote and raise profile for various organisations and events.
In addition to Mrs. Habjanović's lecture, a documentary film „Above the Drowning Sea“, directed by Rene Balcer and Nicola Zavaglia will be screened.
This moving documentary tells the epic story of their dramatic escape to Shanghai, at a time when all other doors were closed to them. Sanctuary was provided thanks to the intervention of Chinese diplomat Ho Feng Shan, Chinese consul in Vienna, who defied the Nazis and his own government by issuing travel visas to the desperate refugees. This riveting film, narrated by „Scandal“ star Tony Goldwyn and Julianna Margulies, tells the story from both the point of view of the refugees and the Chinese people who sheltered them. An inspiring and poetic tale about two people who found common cause and dignity in a world in chaos; especially poignant in light of today’s refugee crisis.