First it was Beaufort, then came Waltz with Bashir, now, for the third year in a row, another Israeli film has been nominated for the Oscars.
While the prize may well end up on someone else’s mantelpiece, the nominations reflect a growing maturity and professionalism in Israel’s film industry. As industry experts worldwide have now recognized, the Israeli film industry has come of age.
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While Israeli film critic Hannah Brown doesn’t foresee an Academy Award in Israel’s near future, she’s convinced that Ajami’s nomination is prize enough.
A career in music gave way to a career in animation for Israeli Shahar Levavi, who was part of the team that created the groundbreaking movie Avatar.
Once, Israeli films were rarely shown at international film festivals, now it’s rare when they don’t win a prize there.
For Israeli director Samuel Maoz, the making of his first feature film Lebanon was both a labor of love and an exorcism of demons – the love being cinema and the demons being the images of the Lebanon War he fought back in 1982.
In a historic achievement for Israeli cinema, director Samuel Maoz’s film Lebanon won the Golden Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival on Saturday, September 12. It’s the first time an Israeli film has won the prestigious prize.
It is a story of disaster that works out in the end: An Egyptian brass band on a concert trip to Israel accidentally finds itself stuck in a small desert town and touches the lives of the people who live there.
A sullen looking animated soldier is Israel’s best chance for the central prize, the Palme d’Or, at this year’s Cannes International Film Festival. Waltz with Bashir will compete against 19 other films made by some of the world’s most accomplished directors, including Hollywood heavyweights Clint Eastwood and Steven Soderbergh.
Crushing high hopes that Israel might take home its first Academy Award, The Counterfeiters, an Austrian film about a master forger forced to work for Nazis in a concentration camp, won the foreign-language Oscar last Sunday.
For Ron Leshem, co-author of the film Beaufort, which has just been nominated for an Oscar for best Foreign Language Film by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles, the prospective award comes as something as a shock.
The latest films aren’t flukes but the product of a talented new generation of filmmakers. New York, 1990: An Israeli friend and I study the program for the Israel Film Festival. “What’s going on?” asks my friend. “They’re all about Holocaust survivors who move to a kibbutz and become incest victims.” We decide to see Goodfellas instead.