November 18, 2002

Director Nir Bergman (top) posed with members of the Broken Wings cast at the Tokyo International Film Festival.”Broken Wings,” a drama by rookie Israeli director Nir Bergman about a middle-class Haifa family coping with the emotional and financial fallout following the death of the father, recently received top prize at the prestigious Tokyo International Film Festival and could be in line for an Oscar at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles next year.

“Broken Wings” also swept Israel’s version of the academy awards Nov. 17 by winning in nine of the twelve categories in which it was nominated. Bergman won for Best Movie, Best Director and Best Script, while cast members Orly Zilbershatz-Banai won for Best Actress and Maya Maron took the Best Supporting Actress award.

The win for Best Movie qualifies “Broken Wings” as the Israeli candidate in the competition to be included as one of five films to be nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards.

The film first gained critical acclaim when it won the coveted Wolgin Award at the Jerusalem Film Festival last summer. Earlier this month “Broken Wings” was awarded the Tokyo Grand Prix – Governor of Tokyo Award at the Tokyo festival, which is regarded highly in the international film arena. The contest targets new directors who have made three films or less. The panel of judges at the festival that awarded Bergman the honor included French director Luc Besson (The Fifth Element) and cinematographer Jack Cardiff (Sons and Lovers).

Bergman’s film describes the lives of the Ulman family in the aftermath of a freak accident that claimed the life of their father. Seventeen-year-old Maya, who is obligated to take on a more active role in raising her younger brother and sister, is in constant conflict with her mother, Dafna, who is always tired because of her long hours working as an obstetric nurse to support her family.

The other children include a troubled teenage son who wears a mouse costume at night to give out advertisements in train stations; an eight-year-old boy who jumps from high places; and a five-year-old girl who demands lots of attention.

The long-struggling Israeli film industry has seen recent growth and development mostly because of government programs and financial incentives aimed at promoting local production. Outgoing Minister of Science, Culture and Sport Matan Vilnai was awarded a prize at the Israeli Oscars for the personal commitment he has made to boosting the Israeli film industry.

Israeli cinema fans are hoping that “Broken Wings” will follow in the footsteps of last year’s Israeli success story – “Late Wedding,” directed by Dover Kosashvilli, which swept the Israeli awards and enjoyed great commercial success and critical acclaim in Israel and abroad.

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Jason Harris

Jason Harris

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