The Camera of Doctor Morris leads the winners for the 2023 Toronto Jewish Film Festival (TJFF). The film directed by Itamar Alcalay and Meital Zvieli won TJFF’s documentary prize, The David A. Stein Memorial Award. The Camera of Doctor Morris tells the story of the titular doctor who fled post-war Europe and kept memories alive through home movies. The Israeli production had its Canadian premiere at TJFF.
“Every now and again, we come across a film that is able to do things differently and showcase daily life through a lens that offers an unusual and creative gaze. Such is the case with The Camera of Doctor Morris,” remarked the jury in a statement. “This is a film that takes us on a journey delving into the personal story of a family’s arrival in Israel from England using a rich treasure trove of 8mm film with drama and poignancy. Not only does the film provide an outsider’s take on a new and developing community, but it also delivers a highly creative statement about filmmaking, storytelling, and original use of archival footage.”
Overall, the big winner at TJFF was the comedy-musical Less than Kosher. The film was named “The Chosen Film” and scooped the prize as the favourite film of the festival as voted by the audience. The Canadian film directed by Daniel Am Rosenberg had its world premiere as one of TJFF’s centrepiece spotlights. Less than Kosher stars Shaina Silver-Baird in a Toronto-set portrait of a young woman’s unexpected journey from aspiring singer to Cantor.
Other TJFF winners included The Crossing, directed by Florence Miailhe. The film won the Micki Moore Award, which spotlights a narrative feature in the festival directed by a woman. Sean Wainsteim’s drama Demon Box, meanwhile, won the NextGen Award for Best Short Film. TJFF wrapped its 2023 edition on June 11 after ten days of theatrical screenings with many film premieres followed by online encores.