220px-Late_Marriage.jpgIsrael has developed a flourishing film industry, with movies competing in international film festivals and winning numerous awards. In Israel, a country of just eight million people, there are ten film schools and seven international film festivals.

    In recent years the Israeli film industry has grown tremendously, with annually more than 2.5 million people worldwide watching Israeli films. Such growth is an achievement of the Israeli Film Fund, which works to engender a sustainable, creative and a vibrant Israeli film industry. In 2000, the Israeli government passed a New Cinema Law to ensure and secure more funding for 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, “late Marriage” directed by Dover Koshashvili). 

    Others reflect a more predominant trend towards the present Israeli reality, whether dealing with the Israel-Arab and the Jews-Arabs confrontations (Eran Riklis’s “The Lemon Tree”, Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani’s “Ajami”), the military aspects in the Israelis life (Joseph Cedar’s “Beaufort”, Samuel Maoz’s “Lebanon”, Eytan Fox ‘s “Yossi and Jagger”) or set in the context of universalist, somewhat alienated and hedonistic society (Eytan Fox’s “A Siren’s Song” and “The Bubble”, Ayelet Menahemi and Nirit Yaron’s “Tel Aviv Stories”). The Israeli film industry continues to gain worldwide recognition through International awards and nominations.

  • Did you know?

    • ​In the past decade more than 10 Israeli films have been nominated for The Oscar or in the Cannes Festival, among them are “Beaufort” (2008), “Waltz with Bashir” (2009) and “Ajami” (2010).

    • The Israel war movie, “Lebanon”, directed by Samuel Maoz, won the Golden Lion Award in 2009. It ​is based on Moaz’s experience as a young Israeli conscript during the war in Lebanon in 1982.

    • Footnote is a 2011 Israeli drama film written and directed by Joseph Cedar. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film and won the best screenplay award at the Cannes Festival and ten awards at the 2011 Ophir Awards (The Israeli Oscars).
  • ​​
    • ​​The Cinematheque in Tel Aviv is an important cultural center for the screening of independent films. 

    • 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 programs.

    • 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.

    • The International Student Film Festival in Tel Aviv takes place every two years. The festival was first initiated in 1986 by film students from the Tel-Aviv University. Hundreds of students’ films participate in the international competition each festival.

    • 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.

    • In 2008, Ari Folman’s animated film "Waltz with Bashir" reaped international acclaim for its portrayal of the director’s experiences in the 1982 Lebanon War.

  • ​​​
  • ​In 2007 "Beaufort," a movie portraying the experiences of a group of Israeli soldiers in Lebanon, won 12 awards at the Berlin Film Festival, including best director for Joseph Cedar.

  • 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.​

For more information: