Film festival in Belgium


04 May 2006 ORT Belgium kicks off outreach with film festival ORT Belgium has staged a film festival in Brussels, the first event in its campaign to raise local peoples awareness of ORTs work around the world. Despite the lure of sunny spring weather, more than 100 people visited the one-day festival at the National Botanical Gardens including some former ORT students. Not only did the event raise money for ORT and co-organiser IMAJ (Institut de la Memoire Adiovisuelle Juive) but visitors also viewed vintage photographs of ORT projects in Belgium and were provided with material about contemporary ORT activities. My strategy is to raise awareness and this event did that people have woken up about ORT, said ORT Belgium President Charlotte Gutman-Fischgrund. And were not stopping there; were arranging a meeting here between [World ORT Director General] Robert Singer and community leaders later this month, in June we plan to hold a book signing event with some prominent authors, and we also hope to repeat the film festival in Antwerp later in the year. ORT Belgium President Charlotte Gutman-Fischgrund (left) IMAJ President Viviane Teitelbaum also Depute at the Brussels Region Capitale Parliament. To emphasise ORTs status as one of the worlds largest educational non-government organisations, the four films selected by IMAJ focused to a greater or lesser extent on education: Those who Believe arent Deaf is a French documentary about a school in Israel that caters to deaf students from Arab and Jewish backgrounds; In Another Language is a documentary in which Israeli writers, singers and poets of various backgrounds explain how they learned to express themselves in Hebrew rather than their mother tongues; Five Love Stories, by Israeli director David Ofek, features a story about young school students honouring their elderly teacher; and Hello Mr Shlomi is an Israeli-made feature film about a working class boy who is discovered to be gifted by his school principal. We wanted to show the humanity in Israel and the way people live their daily lives there to get away from the image of Israeli life that most people get from the news, Ms Gutman-Fischgrund said. IMAJ Director Beatrice Godlewicz said she was delighted by the idea of a joint event with ORT Belgium, not least because her organisations Honorary President, Baron Georges Schnek, taught at ORT schools in Brussels and Antwerp after the war. World ORT Representative in France, Guy Seniak, attended the event. It provided a good opportunity to give people a different view of what ORT is today, Mr Seniak said. ORT Belgium is creating the basis on which to build the publics knowledge about, and sympathy for, ORT that, in turn, will open the door to greater fundraising opportunities. ORT Belgium was established in 1946, one of its primary objectives being the education of Jewish children who had missed out on school because of the Shoah. ORT Belgium also provided training for adult Holocaust survivors. At its peak, ORT Belgium boasted seven vocational schools and 20 training workshops as well as a training farm for people planning to make aliyah. The programmes came to an end in the mid-1960s. World ORT, founded in 1880, is the worlds largest Jewish educational and vocational training non-government organisation with some 270,000 students Jewish and non-Jewish in 58 countries.