Ophir Awards 2014: Nominations

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It’s going to be a close race for this year’s Ophir Awards with several strong films in the running. There are five finalists for Best Feature of 2014, but Eitan Even, President of the Israeli Academy of Film and Television said that this year’s crop of new films has been of such quality that his private list numbers eight films, and said, “It was very hard for me to decide.” Nominated for Best Feature are: Zero Motivation directed by Talya Lavie; Next to Her, directed by Asaf Korman; Gett, The Trial of Viviane Amsalem, directed by Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz; Yona directed by Nir Bergman; and Mita Tovah (The Farewell Party) directed by Tal Granit and Sharon Maymon.

Zero Motivation/Photo: Yaron Scharf
Zero Motivation/Photo: Yaron Scharf

Today’s press conference announcing the nominees began with a tribute to Menahem Golan z”l. Eitan Even, President of the Israeli Academy of Film and Television, opened with words of praise for the producer who put commercial film making on the Israeli map, thought in terms of Hollywood and international film even when making films locally, a director “of vision and achievements.”

Yehuda Barkan, who will be honored with the Ophir Lifetime Achievement Award, commented that in his acting heyday, “Eitan wouldn’t have had a problem, working by elimination, Zeevik (Zeev Revach) and I were out of the running [for Ophir Awards] because we were making Bourekas films.” Barkan is well known for starring in comedies of the 70s and 80s such as Charlie vaHezi and Hagiga BaSnooker. These crowd pleasers are known as “Bourekas Films” – yummy, but not very nutritious. Barkan said that he is often asked ‘why don’t they make ’em like they used to?’ but added that although they drew in the crowds, with box office numbers of 700,000 – 900,000 back in the day, “we were not innovators.” Barkan fondly remembers the late Menahem Golan with gratitude, saying, “He gave me my first break. I was 26 years old and he cast me as a 60  year old [Lupo 1970]… we went on to make five films together.”

Barkan, who became a Baal Tshuva in the early 2000s, and is a practicing Orthodox Jew, was asked if he would consider returning to film. The actor replied with charm, “I never left.” Barkan did say that he has become more selective about the films in which he appears, rejecting films that have “sexist (sic) scenes or unclean dialogues, despite my own unclean past.” Yet stated too that he is “proud of everything I have ever done.”

Next to Her/Photo: Amit Yasour
Next to Her/Photo: Amit Yasour

2014 Ophir Award Finalists

Best Feature Film
Zero Motivation – produced by Eilon Ratzkovsky, Yossi Ozerd, Guy Yekuel, Yohanan Credo
Next to Her – produced by Haim Meckelberg, Esti-Yaakov Meckelberg; co-produced by Yigal Mugraby, Moshe Edry, Leon Edry
Gett, The Trial of Viviane Amsalem – produced by Shlomi Elkabetz
Yona – produced by Hilik Michaeli, Tami Leon, Avraham Farhi, Moshe Edry, Leon Edry
Mita Tovah (The Farewell Party) – produced by Haim Meckelberg, Esti Yaakov-Meckelberg, Talia Klinhandler, Osnat Handlesman-Keren, Moshe Edry, Leon Edry

Best Fringe Film

Is That You? – producer: Dani Menkin

Best Director

Asaf Korman – Next to Her
Tal Granit, Sharon Maymon – Mita Tovah (The Farewell Party)
Talya Lavie – Zero Motivation
Nir Bergman – Yona
Ronit Elkabetz, Shlomi Elkabetz – Gett, The Trial of Viviane Amsalem

Gett, The Trail of Viviane Amsalem/Photo: Tuli Chen
Gett, The Trail of Viviane Amsalem/Photo: Tuli Chen

Best Screenplay

Talya Lavie – Zero Motivation
Liron Ben-Shlush – Next to Her
Nadav Lapid – The Kindergarten Teacher
Ronit Elkabetz, Shlomi Elkabetz – Gett, The Trial of Viviane Amsalem
Sharon Maymon, Tal Granit – Mita Tovah (The Farewell Party)

Best Actor

Zeev Revah – Mita Tovah (The Farewell Party)
Yossi Marshak – Manpower
Menashe Noy – Gett, The Trial of Viviane Amsalem
Naveh Tsur – Valley
Tawfeek Barhom – Dancing Arabs

Yona/Photo: Yarden Tavori, Hadas Peretz
Yona/Photo: Yarden Tavori, Hadas Peretz

Best Actress
Dana Ivgy – Zero Motivation
Levana Finkelstein – Mita Tovah (The Farewell Party)
Liron Ben-Shlush – Next to Her
Naomi Levov – Yona
Ronit Elkabetz – Gett, The Trial of Viviane Amsalem
Shira Haas – Princess

Best Supporting Actor
Ilan Dar – Mita Tovah (The Farewell Party)
Elisha Banai – Apples from the Desert
Yaakov Zadeh-Daniel – Next to Her
Michael Moshonov – Dancing Arabs
Sasson Gabai – Gett, The Trial of Viviane Amsalem

Mita Tovah (The Farewell Party)/Photo: Max Hochstein
Mita Tovah (The Farewell Party)/Photo: Max Hochstein

Best Supporting Actress
Dana Ivgy – Next to Her
Nelly Tager – Zero Motivation
Aliza Rosen – Mita Tovah (The Farewell Party)
Raymonde Amsalem – Apples from the Desert
Shani Klein – Zero Motivation