Written by: FFT Webmaster | June 1st, 2009
24th ISRAEL FILM FESTIVAL IN LOS ANGELES ANNOUNCES DOCUMENTARY AND TV DRAMA SLATE
June 3 – 18, 2009
Winners of IFF Student Scholarships Announced Today;
Eight Award Winning Student Films Will Premiere
Docs/TV Dramas Include Four World Premieres, Four US Premieres and Five West Coast Premieres
Films Will Screen at Fine Arts ( Beverly Hills) and Laemmle’s Fallbrook 7 ( San Fernando Valley)
The 24th Israel Film Festival announced today the remainder of its unparalleled schedule of Israeli films, including acclaimed documentaries, television dramas and student films, which underscores why it has become the largest showcase of Israeli films in the United States. These new titles incorporate a host of premieres, including Israel’s next generation of filmmakers. The Festival runs from June 3rd – June 18th, 2009 in Los Angeles. A full listing of all films being shown and their schedules, including all previously announced narrative titles, can be viewed at www.israelfilmfestival.com
“Never before has the Israel Film Festival been honored with premiering and presenting such a diverse, rich and engaging slate of documentaries and TV dramas while continuing to encourage a new generation of young Israeli filmmakers,” proclaimed Meir Fenigstein, the Founder/Executive Director. “We are thrilled to celebrate the students who are poised to become Israel’s leading filmmakers of tomorrow. Working in conjunction with the Israel Lottery for the Arts and Cellcom as sponsors, we’ve invited the winning students from the six major film schools in Israel to the Festival to accept production scholarships to begin planning their next movie.”
The Festival is playing host to over 20 attending filmmakers and actors from all over the world, encompassing over 30 movies, including award winning features, documentaries, TV dramas and student films.
The 24th Israel Film Festival begins with the West Coast premiere of Lost Islands, the highest grossing and most honored film in Israel last year, and the 2009 IFF Awards which will be bestowed on John Fishel (President of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles), Robert Lantos (prolific Hollywood producer), Branko Lustig (two time Academy Award winning producer) and Diane Warren (Grammy Award winning songwriter), at the legendary Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood on Wednesday, June 3rd.
A portion of funds raised from the Opening Night and Awards Gala will support film production scholarships for Israeli students encouraging these young filmmakers to make their next film in Israel. From 33 films submitted for consideration for this year’s film scholarships, seven filmmakers were selected and each will be awarded cash and prizes valued up to $2,500. The student filmmaker awards will be presented at the Opening Night Gala and at the upcoming New York Israel Film Festival. Winners are invited to attend the opening night festivities and accept their award. IFF’s goal is to award the cash prize to filmmakers as an incentive to make their next feature film in Israel thus continuing the long heritage and enrichment of Israeli Cinema.
All other films in the Festival will screen at two locations: Fine Arts Theatre ( 8556 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills) and Laemmle’s Fallbrook 7 ( 5731 Fallbrook Avenue, San Fernando Valley). The films are in Hebrew with English subtitles.
To purchase tickets for screenings or for further information, please call 1-877-966-5566 or visit www.israelfilmfestival.com. Tickets are available for advance purchase online and at theatre box offices. Ticket prices are: $12 for general admission, $10 for senior citizens (62 and older), children (under 12) and students with proper ID. Weekday matinees (shows before 6:00 p.m.) are $9 for all filmgoers. A Festival Pass (buy five, get one free) is available for $60.00 (restrictions apply – vouchers must be exchanged at the box office a half-hour prior to showtime and are not available for sold-out screenings). Tickets for Opening Night Screening and Awards Presentation are $125. Tickets can also be purchased at the Fine Arts Theatre box office and the Laemmle Fallbrook box office.
Under the expert supervision of Fenigstein, The Israel Film Festival is presented by IsraFest Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) created in 1982, in association with the Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles. The Festival, celebrating its 24th anniversary, is one of the oldest film festival in Southern California, and the only film festival that will visit three American cities: Los Angeles, June 3 – 18; New York, October 21 – November 5; Miami, December 8 – 17, 2009. The Festival has made it its mission to introduce Israeli life and culture to American audiences through the powerful medium of film, providing a comprehensive intercultural exchange and has brought more than 350 Israeli filmmakers to the United States to share their art over the years. Through the years, more than 900,000 filmgoers have experienced the best of Israeli cinema by showcasing more than 800 feature films, documentaries, television dramas, short films and student shorts.
This year’s Sponsors include The Ant Farm, Clear Channel, Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles, The Hollywood Reporter, Israel Film Fund, Israel Ministry of Finance, Israel Ministry of Tourism, EL AL Israel Airlines, Israel National Lottery Council for the Arts and Culture, JDate, Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Jewish Journal, The LeRoy, Mani Brothers Real Estate Group and Shoshana Schecter Foundation, Maurice Marciano Family Foundation, Modern VideoFilm, Nu Image/Millennium Films, Panavision, Rabinovich Film Fund Cinema Project, Residence Inn Beverly Hills, Security Couriers, Time Warner Cable, Triange Financial Services, and Ynet among others.
The following is a complete listing of the Festival’s film slate, including newly announced documentaries, television dramas and student films. The full list of all titles and film schedule is available online at www.israelfilmfestival.com:
LEGEND IN THE SANDS WORLD PREMIERE (2009, 90 minutes)
Director: Yaakov Gross
In honor of the centennial celebrations of the founding of Tel Aviv, Yaakov Gross presents a new documentary that follows the development of the building of the new city across from the ancient city of Yaffo. Its founders, builders and bohemia who settled there installed a new spirit in the awakening Land of Israel, in times when it was hard to believe the Zionist dream would be fulfilled.
Attending on behalf of the film: Yaakov Gross, Director
THE MYSTERY OF ARIS SAN WORLD PREMIERE (2008, 75 minutes)
Directors: Dasia Mevorach & Dani Dothan
A journey into the mysterious life of Aris San, the Greek singer who became a megastar in Israel, close friend of generals and politicians, until rumors spread that he was a spy. Aris left for New York. He opened a night club where Hollywood stars, politicians, and Mafiosos mingled. His friends included Anthony Quinn, Telly Savalas, Harry Belafonte, as well as the Gallo crime family. His rise ended with a drug addiction, jail and a mysterious disappearance in Budapest.
Attending on behalf of the film: Dani Dotan & Dalia Mevorach, Directors
THE SHAKSHUKA SYSTEM WORLD PREMIERE (2008, 93 minutes)
Director: Miki Rosenthal
Israeli journalist, Miki Rosenthal, attempt to understand the “behind the scenes relationship between money and government” in Israel. He chooses to track down several complicated multi-billion sheqel deals between the Ofer family and the government. Three years of documentation uncover the frightening image of a country which sold its assets cheaply to its wealthiest families, allowing them to pollute the air and take advantage of expensive natural resources.
Attending on behalf of the film: Miki Rosenthanl, Director
ON THE MOVE US PREMERE (2008, 75 minutes)
Director: Avida Livny
The Refugees was a rock band formed of unsuccessful outsiders who had not found their niche in Israeli culture or society. From provincial Ramat Gan of the 1960s, via Amsterdam and London, in private houses in Karkur and Rosh Pina, from depression in New York and delirious concerts played to tiny audiences in Eilat, to the West Coast of the US, a unique friendship formed among a group of artists that only death could separate.
THE GREEN DUMPSTER MYSTERY US PREMIERE (2008, 5 0 minutes)
Director: Tal Haim Yoffe
Traveling on his scooter through Tel Aviv, filmmaker Tal Yoffe finds a discarded box of old photographs in a green dumpster. This docu-detective film slowly unwinds a family history, beginning in Lodz, Poland, and traveling through the Siberian Gulag, a Samarkand sugar plant, a Ha’apala ship and the battlefields of the Sinai Peninsula. This tightly-paced tour de force vividly evokes the now-extinguished lives of an anonymous—but typical—Israeli family.
VOICES FROM EL SAYED US PREMIERE(2008, 52 minutes)
Director: Oded Adomi Leshem
In the picturesque Israeli Negev desert lays the Bedouin village of El-Sayed. It has the largest percentage of deaf people in the world. Still, no hearing aids can be seen because in El-Sayed deafness is not a handicap. Through the generations a unique sign language has evolved making it the most popular language in this rare society that accepts deafness as natural as life itself. The village’s tranquility is interrupted by Salim’s decision to change his deaf son’s fate and make him a hearing person using the Cochlear Implant Operation.
THE BEETLE WEST COAST PREMIERE (2008, 70 minutes)
Director: Yishai Orian
Yishai Orian is married to Eliraz, but is also in love with his old Volkswagon Beetle. Eliraz is about to give birth to their first child. As the argument heats up whether to junk or invest in rehabilitating the Beetle, Yishai’s reluctance to let go of the past leads him on an exciting, funny and touching road trip. The emotional and enlightening encounters blend with Yishai’s personal journey toward fatherhood and his attempt to save his two loves.
DESERT BRIDES WEST COAST PREMIERE (2008, 90 minutes)
Director: Ada Ushpiz
About 40% of Bedouin women in the Negev live in polygamist families. The story of three such women is exposed through the lens of a Bedouin wedding photographer, who also lives in fear of her husband marrying another woman. Even independent, educated women find themselves “unwillingly choosing” to marry as second, third or fourth wives. The stories of successful women show the how the power of any system can survives due to its victims’ cooperation.
THE IDEALIST WEST COAST PREMIERE (2008, 77 minutes)
Director: Alon Aboutboul
A very personal, poetic look at Lova Eliav, one of the giants who pioneered the state of Israel. In 1967 Eliav seemed a sure candidate for Prime minister. Yet his decision to call upon a two states solution for both Israelis and Palestinians was made at a time when such an idea was considered heresy. While Arik Sharon and Shimon Peres were shaping the face of the country, Eliav remained in political exile in his own back yard.
Attending on behalf of the film: Alon Aboutboul, Director
LADY KUL EL ARAB WEST COAST PREMIERE (2008, 56 minutes)
Angelina, the first Druze woman to attempt significant steps in the Israeli fashion world, finds herself in the middle of a societal conflict when the tradition and values of her village clash with her aspirations to be the first Druze Miss Israel. Her brave choices put her life and dreams in danger as she attempts to defy her community’s ways.
REBIRTH WORLD PREMIERE (2008, part 1, 184 minutes; part 2, 160 minutes)
Director: Haim Bouzaglo
The birth of Israel as seen through the destinies of Jewish families from different backgrounds. How will these families from Poland, France, Morocco and Algeria rebuild their lives after the horrors they have endured? How will these families learn to live together on this land, Israel? A two part series treating the story of Jewish people coming to Israel via Cypres before 1948.
Attending on behalf of the film: Haim Bouzaglo, Director; Nadia Fares, Screenplay; Lisa Mamou, Screenplay
RUTH US PREMIERE (2008, 55 minutes)
Director: Keren Abitan
During the days of the Israeli withdrawal from the settlements in the Gaza strip, when the residents of the Katif Bloc are uniting to fight for its existence, Ruth, a young teenager from the settlement, is searching for excitement. Ruth meets Erez, a photojournalist sent to cover the events of the disengagement, and realizes that she doesn’t belong anywhere. In a society demanding a united front and common beliefs, Ruth fights to interpret her faith in her own way.
Attending on behalf of the film: Keren Abitan
SRUGIM WEST COAST PREMIERE (2008, 105 minutes)
Director: Eliezer (Laizy) Shapiro
A new social class of well-educated singles in their thirties is rising up in Jerusalem. They haven’t found their place in the existing religious framework and what was supposed to be a temporary pre-marriage existence has become rather permanent. With a religious upbringing that did not prepare them for single adulthood, these young adults work to create normal lives within the constraints of religion and tradition while seeking warmth and love.
Attending on behalf of the film: Hava Divon, Screenplay
Hamidrasha Biat – Berl Collage
Tarzan is 80 years old, and he’s in a psychiatric ward. The years that passed had mixed reality with fiction and old Mr. Weissmuller no longer distinguishes between the character he played on the big screen and who he was. His famous Tarzan call reverberates in the ward on a daily basis. Tired and humiliated, the once King of the Jungle feels that his time is up. He decides to return to his roots. (2008, 15 minutes)
Attending on behalf of the film: Avi Belkin, Director
Ma’ale School of TV, Films & Arts
AND THOU SHALT LOVE
Director: Chaim Elbaum
Ohad, who is studying in the special “Hesder” program for orthodox soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces, experiences profound loneliness while he conceals from others that he is gay. After calling a religious hotline for advice, Ohad is convinced that he is “cured”. Then Ohad’s study partner Nir returns from the army. Ohad finds he can no longer evade the difficult questions, both within himself, and between himself and God. (2007, 15 minutes)
Minshar Art School and Center
6.5 MINUTES IN TEL AVIV
Lovers parting, families traveling, businessmen commuting. A Tel Aviv bus station is the setting for an unexpected confrontation brought on by fear and panic in this part of the world where it only takes a minute for the landscape to become completely unrecognizable (2007, 7 minutes)
The Sam Spiegel Film& T.V. School Jerusalem
THE REPENTACE OF RAHAM IM HANUKA
Rachamim Hanuka gets out of jail. He returns to his elderly Father who is the scripture copyist of a religious community in Jerusalem. Rachamim’s hope for a new beginning is lost when he finds out his father has committed himself to write a Torah for the Chamisha Family. And you don’t want to mess with the Hamishas (2008, 22 minutes)
Saphir Academic College
Director: Kathy Rivkin
Vika is 12 years old. She dreams of ice skating in the national Russian team. She is rejected for being a Jew, and her father Alexander decides to immigrate to Israel. They arrive in a tiny village, with no ice, jobs or any chance to mix with anybody. Vika is lonely at school. Alexander is feeding the cows. In their quality time together Vika skates in the cow manure. When Alexander is trying to communicate, all people ever tell him is: “Itll is fine” Alexander notes that his daughter misses what was left behind, so he appears in her classs Purim party dressed as Santa Claus. Both of Vikas worlds collide, and she realizes that she doesnt belong anywhere – home is where the dad is. (2008, 25 minutes)
Tel Aviv University – Film and Television Dept.
THE HOME LEAVE
Director: Amikam Kovner
After more than a year in prison, Meir gets his first home leave. Three days outside. He hasn’t seen Ido, his son, since he was sent to prison. This time, however, he must see him. For the last time. (2008, 30 minutes)
Attending on behalf of the film: Amikam Kovner, Director
Director: Pini Tavger
9-year-old Pinchas comes from a Russian family, and lives with his mother, who barely makes living working night shifts as a cashier. Pinchas is drawn to the warmth and unity of the religious family from his building. There he meets a girl his age and her older brother, who slowly introduces him to religion. The trouble begins when the two worlds collide. (2008, 32 minutes)
Tel Hai Communication Center for Cinema
UNTIL WE’LL FIND A PLACE
Director: Ranana Kol
Humans, wherever they are, are born into an endless competition with each other, each age has its goals. A colorful allegory to the well known children’s game of musical chairs until the music stop. (2008, 3 minutes)
LOST ISLANDS, West Coast Premiere, Festival Opening Night Film (2008, 103 minutes)
Director: Reshef Levy
The biggest Box Office success in Israel in 2008, this autobiographic drama set in the 1980s centers around the Levis, a large family with a unique lifestyle. Mr. Levi lectures his children daily on the importance of fulfilling their dreams, while his wife preaches absolute family loyalty. When twin brothers, Erez and Ofer, fall in love with the same girl, they must choose between family loyalty and love. Neither boy finds comfort in their self-inflicted situations and later learns one must pursue his heart’s desire without taking his family into account.
Attending on behalf of the film: Reshef Levy, Director; Michael Moshonov, Actor
7 DAYS (2008, 103 minutes)
Director: Ronit Elkabets, Shlomi Elkabetz
The Ohayon’s, seven brothers and two sisters, lose their brother Moris. They will not leave the house for the seven days of mourning. Against their true will, they are forced to spend these seven days together, when each one of them bears a potential of destructiveness towards the family. The story describes the breakdown of the expanded family for personal independence, through the personal story of each one of the nine family members and their story as a group.
** WINNER – Jerusalem Film Festival 2008: The Wolgin Award for Best Feature Film & Award for Best Actress – Hana Azulay Hasfary Award of the Israeli Film Academy: Best Supporting Actress – Evelin Hagoel & Best Cinematography – Yaron Scharf **
Attending on behalf of the film: Alon Aboutboul, Actor
ADAM RESURRECTED (2008, 106 minutes)
Director: Paul Schrader
Adam Resurrected follows former Berlin magician and circus impresario Adam Stein an enthralling, enigmatic patient at a remote Israeli rehabilitation outpost for Holocaust survivors. Entertainer, clairvoyant, sophisticate and lothario, Stein veers from brilliance to eroticism, horror and madness, with flashbacks to the physical and psychological demoralization he endured under Commandant Klein in the Stellring death camp Stein appears to have everyone stymied and overawed, but an unusual new patient seems to have the magnetic power to break him free of the grip of his relentless torment.
Attending on behalf of the film: Ehud Bliberg, Producer
BRURIAH (2008, 90 minutes)
Director: Avraham Kushnir
This story infiltrates and creates turmoil in the life of a religious, Jerusalem family in 2008. The heroine of the film, who also bears the name Bruriah, struggles with a childhood trauma: a life of excommunication which was forced on her following the publication of her father’s book on the same subject. Bruriah goes in search of the one copy of the book which may have survived. Her husband opposes her quest. Bruriah’s desire to find that copy represents a threat to the way of life that he has created for his family. But Bruriah is unwilling to give up. The search for the book becomes a crusade during which she faces the compromises she has made in her life, her desires, and her limitations. Her husband Yaacov, faced with no alternative, decides to prove to his wife that really “women are light-minded.”
Attending on behalf of the film: Hadar Galron, Actress
ELI & BEN (2008, 89 minutes)
Director: Ori Ravid
Eli is 12-years-old and his world is turned upside down when his father, the City Architect of Herzelya, is charged with taking bribes. The father is taken into custody right before Eli’s eyes and the news makes its way into the newspaper and the school ground alike. Eli is convinced that his father is innocent. He intends to draw on the full reserves of his innocence and mischief to see to it that his father is released. But the path would not be easy. Eli will have to face injustice, corruption and pretense, among both adults and children. He will have to shape his own principles and stick to them. In the process he will re-discover his father and taste the bitter sting of first love.
Attending on behalf of the film: Ori Ravid, Director, Alon Aboutboul, Actor
FATHER’S FOOTSTEPS (2007, 95 minutes)
Director: Marco Carmel
In the early 70s, Felix and Mireille and their children Eric and Michel move from Israel to the working-glass Parisian neighborhood of Belleville. The family has barely settled in when Felix meets Serve, a local gang leader. Serge leads Felix down the path of organized crime, until his arrest when Felix decides to step into Serge’s shoes as the leader of the gang. The shame is too much for Mireille to bear so she tells the children their father has gone back to Israel to join the army. But tensions between rival gangs and the discovery of the truth about his father lead Michel to experiment with violence and follow in his father’s footsteps. It’s up to Mireille to find the strength to hold her family together and protect them from themselves.
Attending on behalf of the film: Marco Camel, Director
FOR MY FATHER (2008, 102 minutes)
Director: Dror Zahavi
Terek, a young Palestinian on a suicide mission in Tel Aviv, is given a second chance when the fuse on his explosive vest fails to detonate. Forced to spend the weekend in Tel Aviv awaiting its repair, Terek befriends several Israelis, including the beautiful Keren, who has cut off contact with her Orthodox family and upbringing. With nothing to lose, Terek and Keren open up to one another, and an unlikely love blooms between two isolated and damaged individuals, raised to be enemies.
** WINNER – Moscow International Film Festival 2008: Audience Award Sofia International Film Festival 2009: Grand Prix Award for best feature film**
IT ALL BEGINS AT SEA (2008, 95 minutes)
Director: Eitan Green
This is the story of the coming of age of the Goldstein family – mother, father and son; an Israeli family coping with a familiar array of life experiences – friendship, love, sex, death. The film comprises three episodes: the first occurs at the seashore, the second unfolds in Ashkelon National Park among the ancient statues and ruins, and the third takes us to the family’s new home where they moved in anticipation of the birth of a new baby. Each of these situations becomes fraught with danger and drama. Taken together, they bind the three family members to each other more strongly and more profoundly than before. Fate plays tricks on the Goldstein’s; sometimes the tricks are amusing, often they are menacing. The Goldstein’s cannot rely on fate, only on each other…
** WINNER – Montreal World Film Festival 2008: Innovation Award **
OUT OF THE BLUE (2008, 92 minutes)
Director: Igal Burstyn
Shabtia and Herzel drive through the streets of Tel Aviv buying and selling used furniture and trash. Now and again, Shabtai takes a nap and in his dreams a seductive and passionate red-haired woman makes love to him. One day, Shabtai discovers her photograph in a face-cream advertisement and realizes that the woman on his dreams really exists. He sets out to find her. But it is Herzel who first wins her attention and then her heart. Herzel, however, loves Batya…. A comedy about abortive loves and about a friendship which survives them.
**WINNER – Jerusalem Film Festival 2008:Award for Best Actors – Alon Aboutbol and Moshe Ivgy **
Attending on behalf of the film: Alon Aboutboul, Actor
SEVEN MINUTES IN HEAVEN (2008, 94 minutes)
Director: Omri Givon
For the past year, Galia has tended not just to her own physical injuries but also to her boyfriend Oren. The event that left him in a coma and her back badly scarred is an enormous blur. Getting on the Jerusalem bus… the explosion… waking up in the hospital… most of Galia’s recollections come from the reports of others. But when Oren finally passes away, never having awoken, and a familiar and treasured necklace is anonymously returned to her, Galia realizes that in order to move forward, she must reconstruct this mysterious past and, in particular, that one horrific day.
** WINNER – Haifa International Film Festival 2008: Best Feature Film **
** Official Selection Tribeca International Film Festival 2009 **
Attending on behalf of the film: Omri Givon, Director
ZRUBAVEL (2008, 70 minutes)
Director: Shmuel Beru
Itzhak is a boy who dreams of becoming a director of successful films; he aspires to be the future Spike Lee of Israel. Itzhak goes around his neighborhood filming everyone and everything. From Itzhak’s point of view, his neighborhood and family stories are revealed on screen. His family, with much optimism, emigrated from Ethiopia to Israel. They make their home in a poor neighborhood, full of crime and drugs, but still Gita, Itzhak’s grandfather, successfully protects and unites the whole family, while providing his children and his children’s children with a good upbringing. A surprising chain of events undermines Gita’s control over his family. The conflict is ignited by the clash of generations, specifically between the Ethiopian customs cherished by Gita and his wife and the younger generation’s desire to assimilate with Israeli culture.
Attending on behalf of the film: Shmuel Beru, Director