The 2014 Jerusalem Film Festival showed grace under pressure, taking place from July 10 – 20, 2014, in the heat of the current conflict. Audiences and film industry professionals came together to view and engage with the excellent program of films and events selected and organized by the festival’s new energetic and innovative team – Festival Director Noa Regev and Artistic Director Elad Samorzik.
Jerusalem Film Festival 2014 Awards
The Haggiag Award for Best Israeli Feature
Directors Ronit Elkabetz and Shlomi Elkabetz for the film Gett, The Trial of Viviane Amsalem
Director Tali Shalom Ezer for the film Princess
Gett, The Trial of Viviane Amsalem
Modern societies take for granted that one loves freely and stops loving freely. Yet, as the remarkable movie by Shlomi & Ronit Elkabetz suggests, that freedom is denied to women in modern Israel by the rabbinical tribunals. If cinematographic tradition has made us used and even tired of seeing love as the sole and ultimate object of desire, Viviane Amsalem, the central character of this story desires the opposite of love: she passionately desires a Gett – or the religious Jewish act of divorcing which can only be granted by a man to a woman. In a very convincingly and beautifully crafted script, Viviane desires to stop being the object of a man’s desire. But this passionate desire for stopping to be the object of desire of a man who will not set her free, meets with the resistance of powerful and invisible social machinery made of the various men who control her life and that of the women who appear in front of the tribunal court. The movie represents a stunning twist on the genre of courtroom drama as it shows the subtle continuity between the court judges and the structure of the patriarchal family. As the emotionally intense and restrained performance of Menashe Noy suggests, this powerful social machinery is defeated not so much by the force of the better argument or by justice but by the relentless attack on a system determined to subdue the feelings and desires of women. With this film, Shlomi & Ronit Elkabetz conclude their superb trilogy on the Israeli-Moroccan community, never romanticizing them, never yielding to any facile political reductionism. This is art at its best.
Princess is an outstanding, breathtaking film; its director Tali Shalom-Ezer a strong unique new voice in World Cinema. When we saw her film, we were totally absorbed by its immense power and at the same time its transparency and sensitiveness. Slowly, the spectator is drawn into the structure of sexual child abuse and is held so close to the protagonist, young Adar (played by a fantastic Shira Haas), that she finds herself imprisoned just like her and feels the strong desperation of repression and of having no way out. By placing a boy by her side, showing Adar’s dissociation as a result of the abuse, where her mind invents a second self – or, as it is, also possible, establishing a first real adolescent love, Shalom-Ezer creates a different level of reality that intertwines with the girl’s real situation and helps her to survive and finally free herself. Shalom-Ezer sticks to the story in an intense and direct way, eliminating anything that could be superfluous, and thus unfolding the mechanism of repression in a disturbing yet almost accidental way, where we would like to escape or wish desperately to put an end to the suffering, but have to go along with Adar all the way. All other characters are strong and unpredictable, extraordinary in their acting, creating a believable dark family life which shines yet bright and phony. The aesthetics are beautiful, creating a painful air of seduction on the surface and on a deeper level showing the incredible pain and torture, her vulnerability by exploring the girls face in close up. The film is like a slow explosion and makes you say, after leaving the cinema – and that is, what we were looking for – “Come on, let’s change the world!” Congratulations, and may this prize encourage you to go on with sincere and profound filmmaking.
The Anat Pirchi Award for Best First Film
Director Bazi Gete for the film Red Leaves
The Anat Pirchi Award for Best Script
Shira Gefen for her film Self Made
Audience Favorite Award
Gett, The Trial of Viviane Amsalem
The Haggiag Award for Acting
Shira Haas for her role in the film Princess
Menashe Noy for his role in the film Gett, The Trial of Viviane Amsalem
The Haggiag Award for Editing
Nili Feller for her editing of the film Self Made
The Haggiag Award for Best Music
Ishai Adar for the soundtrack of the film Princess
The Van Leer Award for Best Cinematography
Radek Ladczuk for the cinematography of the film Princess
Jury remarks: Radek Ladczuk’s cinematographical work builds a precise aesthetic which stands in absolute opposition to the chilling content of the plot. The polished frames function as a honey trap – they allure the viewer and draw her into the cracked world of the characters. The cinematographer and director’s unique visual language moves between fantasy and reality, creating an attractive and delicate package in which the most horrible events are possible.
Members of the jury: Martina Gedeck, Georges Goldenstern, Professor Eva Ilouz, Assaf Amir.
The Van Leer Award for Best Israeli Full-Length Documentary Film
Vanessa Lapa for the film The Decent One
Jury remarks: With exhaustive and profound research, precise editing, and a multilayered soundtrack, the film weaves a complex and thought-provoking portrait, of surprising intimacy, which sheds a very troubling light on the Everyman hidden within a mass murderer.
The Van Leer Award for Best Director of a Documentary Film
Robby Elmaliah for his film The Unwelcoming
Jury remarks: With rich and confident cinematic language, sensitive and minute observation, the director leads us into the charged, dramatic and intense world of a family which copes with the trauma of emigration. He gives voice to characters who are rarely represented on the screen or heard in Israeli society.
Members of the jury: Karen Cooper, Oeke Hoogendijk, Scott Foundas, Noemi Schory, Arnon Goldfinger.
The Competition for Israeli Short Films
The Van Leer Award for Best Animation Film
Dotan Moreno director of Shouk
The Van Leer Award for Best Documentary Film
Danielle Schwartz director of Mirror Image
The Van Leer Award for Best Independent Feature Film
Netalie Braun director of Vow
The Van Leer Award for Best Student Feature Film
Jonathan Dekel director of April Fool’s
Members of the jury: Laurence Herzberg, Alexandros Avranas, Vanya Heyman
In the Spirit of Freedom Awards in Memory of Wim van Leer
Cummings Award for Best Feature Film
Abderrahmane Sissako director of Timbuktu
Jury remarks: Unanimous selection for the excellence of its craft and the power of its warning to humanity: a film both modest and magnificent
The Ostrovsky Award for Best Documentary Film
Edet Belzberg director of Watchers of the Sky
Jury remarks: A brilliant film, which reminded us that even in the face of despair there is always hope.
Honorary Mention: Zaza Urushadze and his film Tangerines
Members of the jury: Zeinep Özbator Atakan, Jane Wells, Makram Khoury
The Jewish Experience Awards Courtesy of Michaela and Leon Constantiner
The Lia Award, in Honor of Jerusalem Cinematheque Founder Lia van Leer for Films dealing with Jewish Heritage
Alexandre Arcady director of 24 Days
Jury remarks: This suspenseful drama manages to avoid clichés and intricately presents the experience of anti-Jewish violence in France. This is a film of great social significance that shows the tragic consequences that arise when violence is ignored and when racist stereotypes are accepted.
The Avner Shalev-Yad Vashem Chairman’s Award for Artistic Achievement in Holocaust-Related Films
Stefan Ruzowitzky director of Radical Evil
Jury remarks: The film turns the issue of mass murder during the Holocaust and the behavior of the murderers into a matter relevant to viewers today. Through a clever combination of archival footage, dramatic sequences, and interviews, the director reveals the inner makeup of “regular people” who became murderers.
Honorary Mention goes to André Singer director of Night Will Fall.
Members of the Jury: Irit Sheleg, Isaac Zablocki, Dr. Ofer Ashkenazi
Fipresci Debuts Competition
International First Film Alonso Ruizpalacios director of Güeros
Israeli First Film: Baze Gete director of Red Leaves
Members of the Jury: Eithne O’Neill, Andrzej Kolodynski, Pablo Utin.
The Israeli Film Critics Forum Prize (Israeli Cinema) is granted to Nadav Lapid director of The Kindergarten Teacher
Israeli Art and Experimental Film Competition
The Ostrovsky Family Fund Award for Best Experimental Film
For the Record directed by Ruti Sela
Jury remarks: The video presents the artist drawing the portraits of the lawyers of the Jerusalem Municipality and documents the painting sessions and the conversations they held during these sessions – bringing forth quite a few clichés and prejudices about art. At the same time, as the video proceeds, its conceptual depth is revealed. The outlandish situation of a video artist carefully painting portraits in the City Hall is revealed as a situation that exposes the vulnerability of both the model and she who looks at him (and is being looked at by the camera).
The Mamuta Art and Media Center Award for Second Prize, is granted to The Right to Leave, directed by Sharon Paz
Jury remarks: Sharon Paz’s short film speaks in a subtle way about borders and migration – both in life and in art. The video presents in a rich visual language multiple layers of images and interchanging landscapes in a constant move in the background. A deep awareness of the cinematic medium and its precedents is felt here; the use of Tableaux Vivants, early photography, animation, and the voyeuristic situation itself.
Members of the Jury: Heinz Hemingolz, Ruti Direktor, Irit Batsri
The Alex Bernstein Grant for Outstanding Student Final Project
Elia Schwartz, of Minshar for Art School, for her film “Pandora”.
Courtesy of the Bernstein Family and a joint initiative of the Jerusalem Foundation and the Jerusalem Cinematheque