Two Israeli films headed to the Locarno film festival
An Israeli feature film by a director with no cinematic experience or training will be competing this summer in one of the world's most veteran film festivals.
Nony Geffen's "Not in Tel Aviv" is one of two Israeli films that will be screened at the Locarno International Film Festival competition in August. The other is Itamar Lapid's "The Pit," which will vie for a prize in the short film category.
Geffen, who has no formal film training, wrote, directed and stars in "Not in Tel Aviv" - a low-budget film that centers on a young teacher who is laid-off due to budget cuts and reacts by kidnapping one of his students. An off-kilter love story develops, and after initially resisting her abduction, the student falls for Geffen's character and ultimately helps him win over his childhood sweetheart.
"Not in Tel Aviv" was produced by Itai Tamir with funding from the Israel Film Fund. It premiered at the Cinema South festival in Sderot, where it clinched first place in the category devoted to low-budget independent feature films. The cast includes Romi Aboulafia, Yaara Pelzig, Tal Friedman, and Anat Atzmon in a small cameo role.
Lapid's "The Pit" focuses on two radical youths who develop relationships with two migrant workers and confront their boss, who has confiscated some of his employees' passports.
Lapid's brother, Nadav, clinched the Special Jury Prize at last year's Locarno film festival with his film "Policeman."
Held annually, the Locarno festival is the longest-running film fest in Europe after those in Cannes and Venice.