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Jerusalem Film Festival Announces Winners,
Celebrates Strong Attendance and Growing Industry Presence
The Wilf Family Foundation Award (20,000 USD) for best International film was presented to THE DEATH OF LOUIS XIV by Albert Serra
The Haggiag award for best Israeli Feature Film (120,000 ILS) was presented toONE WEEK AND A DAY by Asaph Polonsky
The Van Leer award for Best Israeli Documentary Film (35,000 ILS) was presented toDIMONA TWIST by Michal Aviad
Heading into its final weekend, the Jerusalem Film Festival is pleased to announce this year's award winners for the 33rd edition. The awards were announced last night (Thursday 14th) and the Jerusalem Film Festival runs through July 17th.
Along with its Israeli competition line-up, which presents over ten awards to local features, documentaries and shorts, this year's edition bowed Jerusalem's new International Competitionwith a $20,000 USD cash prize supported by the Wilf Family Foundation attached.
The winner of the inaugural edition of the international competition is THE DEATH OF LOUIS XIV by Catalan director Albert Serra. The film world premiered in Cannes' official selection and stars the legendary French actor Jean-Pierre Léaud, who plays the Sun King as he struggles with the reality of his own mortality in his final days.
The jury was comprised of Cornerstone Films' Alison Thompson, the Icelandic director Grímur Hákonarson (RAMS), and the Israeli director Talya Lavie (ZERO MOTIVATION), who praised Serra "For creating a bold and distinctive chamber piece in a beautifully detailed world. For its stunning set design and cinematography that captures its period brilliantly. For creating an intimate and moving look at the sunset of a great figure in history."
The Danish Oscar nominated A WAR by Tobias Lindholm also received an honorable mention from the international jury.
Artistic Director of the Jerusalem Film Festival Elad Samorzik stated:
"Along with making sure these essential films get seen here, we want to open up a larger space for these works and filmmakers in terms of distribution and overall exposure in Israel. It's been a great launch for the section and we are looking forward to another rich line-up next year."
Other titles screening in the International Competition's inaugural line-up included Cannes competition entries THE HANDMAIDEN by Park Chan-Wook and SIERANEVADA by Cristi Puiu, Berlinale winners THINGS TO COME by Mia Hansen Love and DEATH IN SARAJEVO by Danis Tanovic, as well as titles from Sundance such as documentary Grand Jury Prize Winner WEINER by Josh Kriegman and Elise Steinberg or CERTAIN WOMEN by Kelly Reichardt.
ONE WEEK AND A DAY by Asaph Polonsky, the US born-Israeli raised AFI graduate whose debut feature film launched at Cannes Critics' Week this year, won the Haggiag award for best Israeli Feature Film and its prize of 120,000 Israeli Shekels, equivalent to approximately $ 32,000 USD, and also picked up two further awards for Best First Film and Best Script.
The jury comprised of Andreas Sinanos, Azize Tan, Boyd van Hoeij, Esther Hoffenberg and Asi Levi distinguished the film: "For a constant and impressive command of tone and his fine work with a small cast, this young director displays a surprising maturity."
Polonsky's comedy additionally won the FIPRESCI award for Best Israeli Debut.
Along with prominent auteurs including Quentin Tarantino, Laurie Anderson and Whit Stillman, who all traveled to Jerusalem to present films, the festival also welcomed a growing group of key industry executives this year.
Among the international guests who made the trip to Jerusalem to participate in workshops and master classes, or serve as jury members at one of the festival's two pitch events and co-production platforms: Sony Pictures Classics' EVP Dylan Leiner, Celluloid Dreams president Hengameh Panahi, Protagonist Pictures Head of Sales Vanessa Saal, Rémi Burah, Chief Operating Officer of ARTE France Cinéma, Venice Days head Giorgio Gosetti and Cornerstone Films' Alison Thompson.
Audiences have been showing increasing support for the festival too, and with screenings scheduled to run through Sunday, it appears more than likely that this 33rd edition of the Jerusalem Film Festival will break all previous JFF attendance records.
"Seeing the sold out theaters day after day and hearing the Jerusalem Cinematheque's hallways buzzing with conversations - that's the biggest reward we can ask for," said festival director Noa Regev.
The full list of awards and accompanying jury statements are included below.
The Wilf Family Foundation Award for Best International Film - The Death of Louis XIV by Albert Serra
"For creating a bold and distinctive chamber piece in a beautifully detailed world. For its stunning set design and cinematography that captures its period brilliantly. For creating an intimate and moving look at the sunset of a great figure in history."
Honorable Mention – A War by Tobias Lindholm
"For this powerful morality tale that raises questions of responsibility and loyalty in times of war and conflict. For its superb crafting and performance."
The jury was comprised of Alison Thompson, Grímur Hákonarson and Talya Lavie.
The FIPRESCI Award for Best International First Film – Album by Mehmet Can Mertoğlu
"An original, unique and eclectic look at contemporary Turkish society, Album combines bizarre humor, a confident tone and a cohesive artistic vision to address subjects as conformity, bureaucracy and adoption."
The FIPRESCI Award for Best Israeli Debut - One Week and a Day by Asaph Polonsky
"Offering a lighthearted take on a traumatic situation, and anchored by great performances in the leading roles, the film deals with an incredibly painful situation in an unconventional, unexpected and witty manner."
The jury was comprised of Pierre-Simon Gutman, Yishai Kiczales and Nino Kovacic.
In the Spirit of Freedom Competition in Memory of Wim van Leer
The Cummings Award for Best Feature Film - The Chosen Ones by David Pablos
"A breathtaking film by a very passionate director, who combines his unique voice with a great ensemble of actors, providing a gripping cinematic experience."
The Ostrovsky Award for Best Documentary Film - Hooligan Sparrow by Nanfu Wang
"A courageous and moving film which embodies the essence of documentary filmmaking, revealing on the screen some of the most disturbing parts of our reality."
Honorable Mention – Exile by Rithy Panh
"A brilliant film that cannot be classified into fiction or documentary, which is at once both a moral lesson and a visual statement."
The Jury was comprised of Giorgio Gosetti, Suha Arraf and Doron Tsabari.
Israeli Film Competition
The Haggiag Award for Best Israeli Feature Film - One Week and a Day, directed by Asaph Polonsky and produced by Saar Yogev and Naomi Levari
"For a constant and impressive command of tone and his fine work with a small cast, this young director displays a surprising maturity."
The Van Leer Award for Best Documentary Film - Dimona Twist, directed by Michal Aviad, produced by Ayelet Kait and Amir Harel
"A touching and emotional film, richly illustrated with choice archive footage, with a unique female perspective, which describes the challenges of trying to build a life in a new state."
The Anat Pirchi Award for Best First Film - One Week and a Day, directed by Asaph Polonsky and produced by Saar Yogev and Naomi Levari
The Van Leer Award for Best Director of a Documentary - Maya Zinshtein for Forever Pure
"By placing it in a wider socio-political and historical context, the film transcends its nominal subject, football and explores issues such as racism, mob mentality and abuse of power."
The Anat Pirchi Award for Best Script - One Week and a Day, written by Asaph Polonsky
"For combining death and comedy in ways that are unexpected and touching as well as funny."
The Haggiag Award for Best Actress - Shiree Nadav-Naor for her performance in Beyond the Mountains and Hills
"For a performance that unmasks the complex being that hides behind an ideal mother and teacher."
The Haggiag Award for Best Actor - Moris Cohen for his performance in Our Father
"On his broad shoulders, this actor carried the whole film, going from macho tough guy to caring husband and family man and back."
The Van Leer Award for Best Cinematography - Yaron Scharf for Harmonia
"The cinematographer’s ease with framing and the use of light is always eye-catching."
The Haggiag Award for Best Editing - Justine Wright and Noam Amit for editing Forever Pure
The Haggiag Award for Best Music - Ruth Dolores Weiss forWe Had a Forest
The Audience Favorite Award – Saving Neta directed by Nir Bergman, produced by Chilik Michaeli, Tami Leon, Avraham Pirchi
The jury was comprised of Andreas Sinanos, Azize Tan, Boyd van Hoeij, Esther Hoffenberg and Asi Levi.
The Israeli Short Film Competition
The Van Leer award for Best Short Film - Facing the Wall by Alamork Davidian
The Van Leer Award for Best Director of a Short Film - Moshe Rosenthal for Leave of Absence
The Van Leer award for Best Short Documentary - The Mute’s House by Tamar Kay
The Van Leer Award for Best Short Animation Film – Head by Stav Levi
The jury was comprised of Magnus von Horn, Eitan Mansuri and Yaelle Kayam.
The Experimental Cinema and Video Art Competition
The Lia Van Leer Award, donated by Rivka Saker– Ishmael by Nira Pereg
In this film, the director uses three cameras to follow the routine of the Moazzin callers in the cave of Machpella using a screen split into four parts which resembles the style of security cameras. This technique uncovers the absurdity of the attempt to operate a mutual space.
The Ostrovsky Family Foundation Award– Naamah: A Tribute to Nahum Benari by Hila Ben Ari
Using a rich and confident visual language combined with theatrical features, the director creates a hypnotising poetic piece inspired by different milestones in western society and jewish culture.
Honorable Mention – The Wedding by Elham Rokni
In her work, the director gives a fascinating interpretation of the way in which memory is constructed through the examination of events from the history of the jewish community during the Islamist revolution in Iran.
The Jewish Experience Awards
The Avner Shalev – Yad Vashem Chairman’s Award for Holocaust-Related Films - No Home Movie by Chantal Ackerman
The Lia Van Leer Award for Films about Jewish Heritage - Harmonia by Ori Sivan
Honorable Mention – Forever Pure by Maya Zinshtein