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29th Toronto Jewish Film Festival June 3 - 13, 2021

There are No Lions in Tel Aviv Encore Screening


Screening Information

November 22 - November 23

Film Details

Country Israel
Year 2019
Running Time 63 MIN
Language Hebrew
Subtitles English
Director Duki Dror

Tagged In The Following Film Lists



Meet “Rabbi Doolittle,” as Max Shorenstein was known. The chief Rabbi of Copenhagen, Shorenstein moved to Israel in 1935 to fulfill his lifelong dream of building a zoo to teach children to love animals. Starting with a makeshift shop in his home consisting of birds and monkeys, his collection expanded to include lions and bears. Three years later, Tel Aviv Zoo was opened, becoming a major attraction. But, as the city expanded, greed and bureaucracy signalled the zoo’s demise. Charming animation and archival footage bring this bittersweet story to life, offering insight into Israel’s growth.

Jury statement:
The jury was extremely pleased by the quantity and creative breadth of great productions that qualified for the David A. Stein Award at this year’s Toronto Jewish Film Festival. One film in particular, THERE ARE NO LIONS IN TEL AVIV, distinguished itself as being a true and reflective fit with both the spirit of the David A. Stein Award and David himself. Director Duki Dror brilliantly conveys the importance, imagination and whimsy of the historical story of Max Shorenstein‘s obsession to build a zoo in Tel Aviv in the 1930s after the Danish rabbi emigrated there with two birdcages and a desire to bring the city’s children closer to nature. Dror expertly weaves Max's unconventional, lifelong quest through a backdrop of intolerance, greed and corruption, making for a compelling, playful narrative peppered with subtle undertones of conflict all the while giving the viewer a glimpse of the early building blocks of how Tel Aviv came to be. With this in mind, we are excited to honour this film and its filmmakers with this award.

Presented in memory of a gifted Toronto filmmaker who passed away in 2004 at age 34, The David A. Stein Memorial Award is an annual $5,000 prize given to the Best Documentary making its Canadian Premiere at our Festival.

Winner of Israeli Competition, Doc Aviv Film Festival

Presentation Details

Review 'A curious heart-warming tale.' - The Times of Israel
Household Ticket $12