Israeli Film Depicting Life of Bedouin Family Takes Honors at Jerusalem Film Festival
"Sharqiya," Ami Livne's film, won the Jerusalem Film Festival's Haggiag Award for best full-length feature film on Friday. In addition to the NIS 100,000 ($25,000) award the film prizes for cinematography (Boaz Yehonathan Ya'acov) and editing (Zohar Sela). Livne's film premiered at the last Berlin International Film Festival. It follows a Bedouin (Adnan Abu Vadi) living in an unrecognized village in the Negev who is informed that the authorities plan to demolish his home.
The film was produced by Eyal Shiray, Elie Meirovitz, Itai Tamir, with the support of the Israel Film Fund. The screenplay was written by Guy Afran.
"This film began from nothing, was filmed with an almost nonexistent budget, and it's amazing that it made it to here," Livne said after receiving the award. "I hope it will get enough exposure, perhaps bring about a change in attitudes concerning the Bedouin living here and help make Israel a better place to live in, for everyone," he said.
"Alice," Dana Goldberg's debut film, got honorable mention in the Haggiag competition, named for late Italian film producer Robert Nissim Haggiag. Director Meni Yaish's film, "God's Neighbors," won the NIS 50,000 Pirchi Family Award for Best First or Second Israeli feature. Screened in the most recent Cannes Film Festival, "God's Neighbors" tells the story of a group of newly religious Jews who try to violently enforce their beliefs in their Bat Yam neighborhood.
In his acceptance speech, Yaish said that "as artists, we have the great privilege of telling a story to an audience, and ultimately use of a vehicle to try and change perceptions - to religious people, Bat Yam residents, Sephardi Jews or anything else. I hope the film will succeed in changing the way others look at each and all of these groups. "
Veteran actor Yosef Carmon was chosen as Best Actor for his role in Amir Manor's "Epilogue," which depicts the last day in the life of an elderly couple who are suffering from the way society treats them. "We were imbued with the idea that were doing something important for Israeli cinema and society," Carmon said after accepting the prize. Roy Assaf got special mention for his role in "God's Neighbors."
Rivka Gur, Carmon's partner in "Epilogue," shared the Best Actress award with "Alice" star Ilanit Ben Yaakov. Dana Goldberg won the screenplay award for "Alice," while Mark Eliyahu won the music award for "The Ballad of the Weeping Spring."
"Five Broken Cameras," already the recipient of several prizes in international festivals, won the award for best documentary film. The film, directed by Palestinian Emad Burnat and Israeli Gut Davidi, tells the story of Burnat, a resident of Bilin, who documented five years of his family life and the struggle against the separation barrier erected on village lands.
"It was really important to me to screen the film here, of all places," Burnat said. "The film had already been shown all over the world, but this is where we live. I hope many Israelis will see it, so we can create a better life for all." Davidi added that he was inspired by Bilin resident's choice of non-violent protest: "It's an opportunity for Israelis to understand that putting things right is the only sane possibility left," he said.
Ran Tal received the award for best director of a documentary film for "The Garden of Eden."
Members of the feature film jury included producer Eilon Ratzkovsky, Variety film critic Justin Chang, British producer Kate Ogborn and Israeli actress and producer Yael Abecassis. The panel of the documentary jury included Israeli director Danae Elon, Turkish producer Gulin Ustun, Israeli producer Liran Atzmor and Israeli-Swiss actress Sascha Lara Bleuler.
Shahar Fredy Kislev won the award for experimental films and video works for "The Brain." Second place went to Shai Ratner for "Good to Die." Director Pini Tavger's "Drops" was chosen as the best independent Israeli short film, with "Staring Match" by Orit Fouks receiving honorable mention in the same category. Director Yaniv Linton won the best student short narrative film award for "Tateh."