Cinema

CULTURE: Cinema

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    Filmmaking in Israel has undergone major developments since its inception in the 1950s.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
  • Courtesy Ma'aleh School of Television Film and the Arts
     
    Israeli cinema
    Photos courtesy Ma'aleh School of Television Film and the Arts
    Israeli cinema


    Filmmaking in Israel has undergone major developments since its inception in the 1950s. The first features produced and directed by Israelis such as "Hill 24 Does Not Answer," and "They Were Ten," tended, like Israeli literature of the period, to be cast in the heroic mold.

     

    Some recent films remain deeply rooted in the Israeli experience, dealing with such subjects as Holocaust survivors and their children (Gila Almagor's "The Summer of Aviya"and its sequel, "Under the Domim Tree") and the travails of new immigrants ("Sh'hur", directed by Hannah Azoulai and Shmuel Hasfari, "Coffee with Lemon," directed by Leonid Gorivets). Others reflect a more predominant trend towards the present Israeli reality, whether dealing with the Israel-Arab confrontation (Uri Barbash's "Beyond the Walls") or set in the context of universalist, somewhat alienated and hedonistic society ("A Siren's Song," "Life According to Agfa," "Tel Aviv Stories").

     

    Even in the past five years, Israeli cinema has leapt forward, producing movies like Joseph (Yossi) Cedar's "Campfire," about a religious-Zionist Jerusalemite family in the 80s who struggle to re- establish a family dynamic after the death of their father, and "Broken Wings", Nir Bergman's award-winning film that also deals with the aftermath of familial loss and the need for acceptance. "Turn Left At The End of The World" deals with unlikely cross-cultural friendships in an immigrant desert town, and "Aviva, My Love," garnered 10 awards in Israel, Shanghai, and Tokyo.

     

    In 2009, the Arab-Israeli film "Ajami," set in an impoverished Arab neighborhood in Yafo, won a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It was the first predominantly Arab-language film that Israel submitted for the award and the third year in a row that an Israeli film won an Oscar nomination.

     

    A year earlier, Ari Folman’s animated "Waltz with Bashir" reaped international acclaim for its portrayal of the director’s experiences in the 1982 Lebanon War. Awards for the film included the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film and an Academy Award nomination.

     

    Other notable films of the last few years are Joseph (Yossi) Cedar's "Campfire," about a religious-Zionist Jerusalemite family in the 80s who struggle to re-establish a family dynamic after the death of their father, and "Broken Wings", Nir Bergman's award-winning film that also deals with the aftermath of familial loss and the need for acceptance. "Turn Left At The End of The World" deals with unlikely cross-cultural friendships in an immigrant desert town, and "Aviva, My Love," garnered 10 awards in Israel, Shanghai, and Tokyo.

     

    Eytan Fox is another noteworthy and popular director. Fox's movies include "The Bubble," which explores contemporary urban life in Tel Aviv against the backdrop of the Arab-Israeli conflict, "Yossi and Jagger" about homosexual love and desire in the IDF, and "Walk on Water." Fox was also the director of the classic "Florentine" TV series (1997), about disillusioned young Israelis living in a shabby-chic Tel Aviv neighborhood.

     

    Poster of the film "Beaufort", Nominated for an Academy Award as the best foreign-language film
    Poster of the film "Beaufort", Nominated for an Academy Award as the best foreign-language film (Courtesy of the producers of "Beaufort")


    Israeli films garnered many awards in 2007. Joseph Cedar won best director and 11 other prizes at the Berlin Film Festival for his movie about the first Lebanon war, "Beaufort." The movie was also one of five international entries nominated for an Oscar in the foreign-language film category, by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles.

     

    Director Dror Shaul's "Sweet Mud" took the top prize at Sundance for international features. David Volach's "My Father, My Lord", a film about an ultra-Orthodox family on holiday, won the top prize for  foreign features at Tribeca, and "Jellyfish", directed by novelist Etgar Keret and Shira Geffen, received the Camera d'Or award at Cannes.

     

    Among other surprise wins was "The Band's Visit", Eran Kolirin's film about an Egyptian police band visiting Israel whose members get lost and see an unexpected side of the country. The film won three prizes at Cannes: the International Critics Prize, the Youth Prize, and the Prix Coup de Couer / Uncertain Regard. Israeli actress Hanna Laslo won the Best Actress award for her role in Israeli director Amos Gitai's film "Free Zone" at the 58th Cannes Film Festival in 2005. Other Israeli films and filmmakers have also won international awards in recent years.

     

    Cinema exports are growing as more Israeli-made films become successful abroad and more dollar-earning foreign and co-productions are filmed on location in the country. The Israel Film Center, a division of the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Labor, promotes filmmaking in Israel by both local and foreign producers and provides services, from arranging professional contacts to offering financial incentives.

     

    Such major events as the Israel Film Festival at the Jerusalem Cinematheque, along with similar events in Haifa and Sderot, combined with Israeli film festivals abroad, all help to promote awareness about Israeli film.

     

    Israeli cinema
    Photos courtesy Ma'aleh School of Television Film and the Arts
    Israeli cinema


    The recently renovated Jerusalem Cinematheque consists of an archive of thousands of films, a research library, viewing halls, and exhibition space. It presents regular screenings, often in thematic cycles in cooperation with embassies, cultural institutions, or civic organizations and, when possible, with the participation of the scriptwriter, director, or performers. Since 1984, it has mounted a yearly, non-competitive film festival which has brought many quality films and video productions to the country. Educational courses offered for adults are well attended, and programs with Jerusalem schoolchildren encourage critical analysis of a popular medium. There are branches of the Cinematheque in Tel Aviv and the northern town of Rosh Pina. Art house cinemas remain popular in Israel, and the Lev chain offers movies in intimate settings throughout the country.

     

    The Spielberg Film Archive at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is the world's largest repository of film material on Jewish themes as well as on Jewish and Israeli life. Run by the university together with the Central Zionist Archives, its main activity is collecting, preserving and cataloguing Jewish films, and making the material available to researchers, film and television writers and producers throughout the world.?

     

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    Cinematheque Tel-Aviv: Cinematheque in Tel Aviv is an important cultural centre for the screening of independent films. Films are screened throughout the year and the cinema stages regular unique theme nights. The Cinematheque also runs workshops in production techniques for young filmmakers. Many youngsters, crowd this cinema, watching either recent films or timeless classics on the big screen. There are many cultural events in the building and outside on the entrance square, comics festival and D&D fiestas alongside important political and social rallies. Major annual events include DocAviv, the Tel Aviv International Documentary Film Festival held in March, and the Israeli Academy Awards in late summer.

    Visit Cinematheque Tel-Aviv’s website


     
    The Haifa Cinematheque: The Haifa Cinematheque is one of the oldest and most important centres of the arts in Haifa. Its role since 1975 has been to educate, advance, nurture and explain all the secrets of the art of cinema. The daily task of the Cinematheque, is to go into schools with educational activities which teach about the cinematic genre. The Cinematheque also offers a variety of series of education classes and lectures on the cinema to adult audiences. The Cinematheque is the key location for the Haifa International Film Festival, which takes place during Chol-ha-Moed Succot (i.e., the week between Succot and Simhat Torah).

     
    Jerusalem Cinematheque:Israel’s Film Archive Arguably Jerusalem’s finest cinematic experience, the Cinematheque boasts a large screen, great sound and plush seating. This is the place to catch underground and non-Hollywood movies, as well as classics, old favorites and themed presentations. The venue hosts major annual events such as the Jerusalem Film Festival every summer, Jerusalem International Festival for Children and Youth and the Jewish Film Festival.

     
    The Herzliya cinematheque: The Herzliya cinematheque is a new art house cinema exhibiting independent, foreign, classic, documentary, cult and mainstream films, that operates in the renovated city center of Herzliya as of August 2008. Its location, offers the population of Herzliya, Raa’nana, Kfar Saba and the Sharon a place of their own to experience and learn the seventh art. Like fellow institutions in Israel, the Herzliya cinematheque also offers special events, international film weeks, lectures and courses; and hosts various guests from the international and local film industry.
     

     
    Holon Cinematheque
    Since 2008, Holon Cinematheque exposes its audience to the world’s cinematic abundance, from diverse eras and genres, in collaboration with production companies and distributors from all over the world. The cinematheque is part of the Mediatheque, a cultural centre and interacts with the surrounding arts and cultures the centre provides. Interacting with the Israeli Cartoon Museum in the centre, it has assumed the role of exposing audiences of all ages to animation as a cinematic genre and technique, and is introducing short animated films at the beginning of many of its screenings. Additionally, the Cinematheque promotes short animated films in an annual competition called MaraToon.
     

     
    The Sderot Cinematheque: Following the vision of the former head of the school for cinema communications at the Sapir Academic College, Prop. Bereshit, and Eli Moyal the former Mayor of Sderot, the Sderot Cinematheque was founded in 1999. The Sderot Cinematheque is the first educational and cultural institution dedicated to the cinema in Southern Israel. Its vision from the start was to bring public attention to the cultural life for the population in the southern part of the country and also to help close the cultural gap between the central and peripheral areas of Israel. Among many cinema related activities, the Cinematheque hosts The Cinema South International Film Festival.

     
    The Haifa International Film Festival: The Haifa International Film Festival is held each year during the holiday of Succoth on the ridge of Mount Carmel overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The Festival was founded in 1983 and was the first of its kind in Israel. Over the years, the Festival became the biggest and most important film celebration in Israel. The Haifa International Film Festival brings together each year an ever-growing audience of 60,000 spectators along with hundreds of Israeli and foreign professionals from the film and television industries. 180,000 people in total take part in the activities of the festival, including the outdoor events, screenings, workshops and more.
     

     
    Docaviv Festival: The International Documentary Film Festival
    Internationally Highly sought-after and respected film festival, Docaviv was founded in 1998 aiming to promote the Israeli documentary film in Israel and around the world and to develop culture, art and quality of life in Israel. The festival hosts filmmakers and prestigious visitors from overseas, offers an extensive program that encompasses multiple fields of interest appealing to a diverse audience. Opening windows to other cultures, traditions and conflicts it encourages dialog and constitutes an authentic mosaic of all shades of Israeli society.
     

     
    The Jerusalem Film Festival: In 1984 Lia van Leer, the founder of the Haifa Cinematheque, the Jerusalem Cinematheque and the Israeli Film Archive, founded the Jerusalem Film Festival that has become Israel’s most prestigious cinematic event, showcasing international talent. The festival is ten days long, screening between 150-200 films in a number of programmes: Panorama, showcasing the best of international feature films; Documentary Films, dedicated to international documentary film-making, The Jewish Experience, dealing with issues of Jewish identity and history, In the Spirit of Freedom, concerned with questions of freedom and human rights, Television Dramas, New Directors, and of course, Israeli Film. Beyond its contribution to Israeli film, the Jerusalem International Film Festival remains one of the few platforms that present the world’s finest contemporary cinematic trends to its local audiences.
     

     
    TLVFEST: The Tel-Aviv international LGBT Film Festival
    TLVfest, Tel Aviv’s International LGBT Film Festival is a unique annual event taking place each June at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque. The festival offers public screenings of films that have not been distributed in Israel, as well as workshops, lectures and panel discussions with local and foreign filmmakers. In addition the festival emphasizes the Israeli film creation by awarding Best Israeli Short Film award and giving the opportunity for filmmakers from the LGBT community to present their works. Alongside to the annual events, the festival maintains TLVFEST Movie Club, a monthly screening and other film-related events throughout the year.
     
     

     

     
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