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The 24th Israel Film Festival lineup

June 3 – 18, 2009

The 24th Israel Film Festival, the largest showcase of Israeli films in the United States, announced today its most dynamic program since its founding. Encompassing over 30 movies, including award winning features, documentaries and student films, the Festival runs from June 3rd – June 18th, 2009 in Los Angeles. The gala Opening Night festivities will include the West Coast premiere of Lost Islands, the highest grossing and most honored film in Israel last year, and the Festival’s highly-anticipated awards presentation will take place on Wednesday, June 3rd at the legendary Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. The 2009 IFF Awards will be bestowed on: John Fishel (President of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles), Robert Lantos (prolific Hollywood producer), Branko Lustig (two time Academy Award winning producer) and Diane Warren (Grammy Award winning songwriter), it was announced by Meir Fenigstein, the Founder/Executive Director of the Israel Film Festival.

A portion of funds raised from the Opening Night and Awards Gala will support scholarships for Israeli students to study cinema in six major film schools in Israel. From the 30 films submitted for consideration for this year’s film scholarships, six filmmakers will be selected and each will be awarded cash and prizes valued up to $2,500. The winners will also be flown to Los Angeles for premiere showings of their films at this year’s Festival. The student filmmaker awards will be presented at the Opening Night Gala. IFF’s goal is to award the cash prize to filmmakers as an incentive to make their next feature film in Israel thus continuing the long heritage and enrichment of Israeli Cinema. This program is also sponsored by the Israel Lottery for the Arts and Cellcom.

“This year’s Festival celebrates very talented and unsung Israeli filmmakers who are poised to be recognized on the world stage,” noted Fenigstein. “There is something for everyone, from family films that will screen on Sundays and lite comedies to enthralling dramas and rich documentaries that recognize the 100th anniversary of Tel Aviv. We also acknowledge the contributions of this year’s esteemed honorees and welcome from Israel the young winners of Festival scholarships who took their money to make films that will premiere at this year’s Festival.”

The Festival this year will also be making headline news with Opening Night’s Lost Islands, a multiple Israeli Academy Film Awards winner. The Israel Film Festival will theatrically self-distribute the movie in a platformed release in major markets after the close of the Festival – the very first time a festival has ever directly distributed a theatrical film.

Directed by Reshef Levy and starring Michael Moshonov (Best Actor Winner), and Shmil Ben Ari (Best Supporting Actor), this autobiographic drama set in the 1980s centers around the Levis, a large family with a unique lifestyle. Mr. Levi lectures his children daily on the importance of fulfilling their dreams, while his wife preaches absolute family loyalty. When twin brothers, Erez and Ofer, fall in love with the same girl, they must choose between family loyalty and love. Neither boy finds comfort in their self-inflicted situations and later learns one must pursue his heart’s desire without taking his family into account.

In its grand tradition of showcasing the finest of Israeli films, this year IFF will screen the best films produced within the last year and new, crowd pleasing titles never before shown. Due to popular demand, the Festival is proud to present the award winning Academy Award nominated Waltz with Bashir as part of its spotlight on the best of Israeli film industry. This screening will allow audiences to experience the film back on the big screen. This special encore showing will only happen once at the Fine Arts Theater ( Beverly Hills) and once at Laemmle’s Fallbrook 7 ( San Fernando Valley).

All other films in the Festival will screen at two locations: Fine Arts Theatre ( 8556 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills) and Laemmle’s Fallbrook 7 ( 5731 Fallbrook Avenue, San Fernando Valley). The films are in Hebrew with English subtitles.

To purchase tickets for screenings or for further information, please call 1-877-966-5566 or visit Tickets are available for advance purchase online and at theatre box offices beginning May 18th. Ticket prices are: $12 for general admission, $10 for senior citizens (62 and older), children (under 12) and students with proper ID. Weekday matinees (shows before 6:00 p.m.) are $9 for all filmgoers. A Festival Pass (buy five, get one free) is available for $60.00 (restrictions apply – vouchers must be exchanged at the box office a half-hour prior to showtime and are not available for sold-out screenings). Tickets for Opening Night Screening and Awards Presentation are $125. Tickets can also be purchased at the Fine Arts Theatre box office and the Laemmle Fallbrook box office.

Under the expert supervision of Founder/Executive Director Meir Fenigstein, The Israel Film Festival is presented by IsraFest Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) created in 1982, in association with the Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles. The Festival, celebrating its 24th anniversary, is one of the oldest film festival in Southern California, and the only film festival that will visit three American cities: Los Angeles, June 3 – 18; New York, October 21 - November 5; Miami; and December 8 – 17, 2009. The Festival has been responsible for introducing Israeli life and culture to American audiences through the powerful medium of film, providing a comprehensive intercultural exchange and has brought more than 350 Israeli filmmakers to the United States to share their art over the years. Through the years, more than 900,000 filmgoers have experienced the best of Israeli cinema by showcasing more than 800 feature films, documentaries, television dramas, short films and student shorts.

This year’s Sponsors include The Ant Farm, Clear Channel, Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles, The Hollywood Reporter, Israel Film Fund, Israel Ministry of Finance, Israel Ministry of Tourism, EL AL Israel Airlines, Israel National Lottery Council for the Arts and Culture, Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Jewish Journal, The LeRoy and Shoshana Schecter Foundation, Maurice Marciano Family Foundation, Modern VideoFilm, Nu Image/Millennium Films, Panavision, Rabinovich Film Fund Cinema Project, Residence Inn Beverly Hills, Security Couriers, Time Warner Cable, Triange Financial Services, and Ynet among others.


John R. Fishel (2009 IFF Humanitarian Award Honoree) assumed the position of president of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles in 1992, after serving as the top professional executive at the Allied Jewish Community Services (the local Jewish federation) in Montreal, Canada since 1985. Mr. Fishel joined Montreal’s Allied Jewish Community Services in 1982 as director of planning. Previously, he had served as executive director of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) and the Council Migration Services in Philadelphia; as planning associate at the Federation of Jewish Agencies of Greater Philadelphia; and as a resource developer for the Ohio State Department of Health.

Robert Lantos (2009 IFF Lifetime Visionary Award Honoree) who was born in Budapest, raised in Montevideo and educated in Montreal, has produced some 35 films including “Eastern Promises,” “Being Julia,” “Sunshine,” and “The Sweet Hereafter,” which have garnered Academy Award nominations, won Golden Globes, and the Grand Prix in Cannes. Mr. Lantos' most recently released film is the Cannes Award Winner “Adoration," and his next film is “Barney’s Version” starring Paul Giamatti, based on Mordecai Richler’s novel. He holds an Honorary Doctor of Letters from McGill University, is a Director of Entertainment One, Indigo Books, the Jewish Television Network, and is a member of the Order of Canada. He was the founder, Chairman & CEO of Alliance Communications, the Canadian media empire, which he sold in 1998.

Branko Lustig (2009 IFF Lifetime Achievement Award Honoree), born in 1932 to a Croatian-Jewish family, was imprisoned for three years in Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen during WWII. He began his film career in 1955 working on films like Fiddler on the Roof and The Tin Drum before landing a job on Meryl Streep’s unforgettable Sophie’s Choice. He received his first Oscar for Best Picture in 1993 for Schindler's List and his second for Gladiator in 2000. Lustig’s films include The Peacemaker, Hannibal, Black Hawk Down, Kingdom of Heaven, and American Gangster. He recently received an honorary doctorate from the University of Zagreb and teaches film production at the Academy of Dramatic Art.
Diane Warren (2009 IFF Visionary Award Honoree) is one of the most prolific songwriters of all time. Her songs have been featured in more than 100 motion pictures resulting in 6 Academy Award nominations. She has been nominated for 9 Grammys, 4 Golden Globes and has been named ASCAP’s Songwriter of the Year 6 times. Warren has written hit songs for such artists as Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Cher, Jennifer Hudson, Elton John, Faith Hill and Aerosmith, among many others. Warren also owns her publishing company, Realsongs, the most successful female-owned and operated business in the music industry. As an avid supporter of Israel, she recently wrote an anthem performed at the Tel Aviv Opera House in honor of The Peres Center for Peace.

LOST ISLANDS, West Coast Premiere, Festival Opening Night Film (2008, 103 minutes)
Director: Reshef Levy
The biggest Box Office success in Israel in 2008, this autobiographic drama set in the 1980s centers around the Levis, a large family with a unique lifestyle. Mr. Levi lectures his children daily on the importance of fulfilling their dreams, while his wife preaches absolute family loyalty. When twin brothers, Erez and Ofer, fall in love with the same girl, they must choose between family loyalty and love. Neither boy finds comfort in their self-inflicted situations and later learns one must pursue his heart’s desire without taking his family into account.

** WINNER - Israeli Academy Film Awards 2008: Best Actor - Michael Moshonov, Best Supporting Actor - Shmil Ben Ari , Best Music - Asaf Amdurski, Best Costume - Rona Doron**

Attending on behalf of the film: Reshef Levy – Director, Mosh Danon, Producer

7 DAYS (2008, 103 minutes)
Director: Ronit Elkabets, Shlomi Elkabetz
The Ohayon’s, seven brothers and two sisters, lose their brother Moris. They will not leave the house for the seven days of mourning. Against their true will, they are forced to spend these seven days together, when each one of them bears a potential of destructiveness towards the family. The story describes the breakdown of the expanded family for personal independence, through the personal story of each one of the nine family members and their story as a group.
** WINNER - Jerusalem Film Festival 2008: The Wolgin Award for Best Feature Film & Award for Best Actress - Hana Azulay Hasfary Award of the Israeli Film Academy: Best Supporting Actress - Evelin Hagoel & Best Cinematography - Yaron Scharf **
ADAM RESURRECTED (2008, 106 minutes)
Director: Paul Schrader
Adam Resurrected follows former Berlin magician and circus impresario Adam Stein an enthralling, enigmatic patient at a remote Israeli rehabilitation outpost for Holocaust survivors. Entertainer, clairvoyant, sophisticate and lothario, Stein veers from brilliance to eroticism, horror and madness, with flashbacks to the physical and psychological demoralization he endured under Commandant Klein in the Stellring death camp Stein appears to have everyone stymied and overawed, but an unusual new patient seems to have the magnetic power to break him free of the grip of his relentless torment.

BRURIAH (2008, 90 minutes)
Director: Avraham Kushnir
This story infiltrates and creates turmoil in the life of a religious, Jerusalem family in 2008. The heroine of the film, who also bears the name Bruriah, struggles with a childhood trauma: a life of excommunication which was forced on her following the publication of her father’s book on the same subject. Bruriah goes in search of the one copy of the book which may have survived. Her husband opposes her quest. Bruriah’s desire to find that copy represents a threat to the way of life that he has created for his family. But Bruriah is unwilling to give up. The search for the book becomes a crusade during which she faces the compromises she has made in her life, her desires, and her limitations. Her husband Yaacov, faced with no alternative, decides to prove to his wife that really “women are light-minded.”

Attending on behalf of the film: Hadar Galron - Actress

ELI & BEN (2008, 89 minutes)
Director: Ori Ravid
Eli is 12-years-old and his world is turned upside down when his father, the City Architect of Herzelya, is charged with taking bribes. The father is taken into custody right before Eli's eyes and the news makes its way into the newspaper and the school ground alike. Eli is convinced that his father is innocent. He intends to draw on the full reserves of his innocence and mischief to see to it that his father is released. But the path would not be easy. Eli will have to face injustice, corruption and pretense, among both adults and children. He will have to shape his own principles and stick to them. In the process he will re-discover his father and taste the bitter sting of first love.

Attending on behalf of the film: Mosh Danon - Producer

FATHER’S FOOTSTEPS (2007, 95 minutes)
Director: Marco Carmel
In the early 70s, Felix and Mireille and their children Eric and Michel move from Israel to the working-glass Parisian neighborhood of Belleville. The family has barely settled in when Felix meets Serve, a local gang leader. Serge leads Felix down the path of organized crime, until his arrest when Felix decides to step into Serge’s shoes as the leader of the gang. The shame is too much for Mireille to bear so she tells the children their father has gone back to Israel to join the army. But tensions between rival gangs and the discovery of the truth about his father lead Michel to experiment with violence and follow in his father’s footsteps. It’s up to Mireille to find the strength to hold her family together and protect them from themselves.

Attending on behalf of the film: Marco Camel - Director

FOR MY FATHER (2008, 102 minutes)
Director: Dror Zahavi
Terek, a young Palestinian on a suicide mission in Tel Aviv, is given a second chance when the fuse on his explosive vest fails to detonate. Forced to spend the weekend in Tel Aviv awaiting its repair, Terek befriends several Israelis, including the beautiful Keren, who has cut off contact with her Orthodox family and upbringing. With nothing to lose, Terek and Keren open up to one another, and an unlikely love blooms between two isolated and damaged individuals, raised to be enemies.

** WINNER – Moscow International Film Festival 2008: Audience Award Sofia International Film Festival 2009: Grand Prix Award for best feature film**

IT ALL BEGINS AT SEA (2008, 95 minutes)
Director: Eitan Green
This is the story of the coming of age of the Goldstein family - mother, father and son; an Israeli family coping with a familiar array of life experiences - friendship, love, sex, death. The film comprises three episodes: the first occurs at the seashore, the second unfolds in Ashkelon National Park among the ancient statues and ruins, and the third takes us to the family's new home where they moved in anticipation of the birth of a new baby. Each of these situations becomes fraught with danger and drama. Taken together, they bind the three family members to each other more strongly and more profoundly than before. Fate plays tricks on the Goldstein’s; sometimes the tricks are amusing, often they are menacing. The Goldstein’s cannot rely on fate, only on each other…

** WINNER – Montreal World Film Festival 2008: Innovation Award **

OUT OF THE BLUE (2008, 92 minutes)
Director: Igal Burstyn
Shabtia and Herzel drive through the streets of Tel Aviv buying and selling used furniture and trash. Now and again, Shabtai takes a nap and in his dreams a seductive and passionate red-haired woman makes love to him. One day, Shabtai discovers her photograph in a face-cream advertisement and realizes that the woman on his dreams really exists. He sets out to find her. But it is Herzel who first wins her attention and then her heart. Herzel, however, loves Batya…. A comedy about abortive loves and about a friendship which survives them.
**WINNER - Jerusalem Film Festival 2008: Award for Best Actors - Alon Aboutbol and Moshe Ivgy **
Attending on behalf of the film: Alon Aboutboul

SEVEN MINUTES IN HEAVEN (2008, 94 minutes)
Director: Omri Givon
For the past year, Galia has tended not just to her own physical injuries but also to her boyfriend Oren. The event that left him in a coma and her back badly scarred is an enormous blur. Getting on the Jerusalem bus… the explosion… waking up in the hospital… most of Galia’s recollections come from the reports of others. But when Oren finally passes away, never having awoken, and a familiar and treasured necklace is anonymously returned to her, Galia realizes that in order to move forward, she must reconstruct this mysterious past and, in particular, that one horrific day.

** WINNER – Haifa International Film Festival 2008: Best Feature Film **
** Official Selection Tribeca International Film Festival 2009 **

Attending on behalf of the film: Omri Givon - Director

ZRUBAVEL (2008, 70 minutes)
Director: Shmuel Beru
Itzhak is a boy who dreams of becoming a director of successful films; he aspires to be the future Spike Lee of Israel. Itzhak goes around his neighborhood filming everyone and everything. From Itzhak's point of view, his neighborhood and family stories are revealed on screen. His family, with much optimism, emigrated from Ethiopia to Israel. They make their home in a poor neighborhood, full of crime and drugs, but still Gita, Itzhak's grandfather, successfully protects and unites the whole family, while providing his children and his children's children with a good upbringing. A surprising chain of events undermines Gita's control over his family. The conflict is ignited by the clash of generations, specifically between the Ethiopian customs cherished by Gita and his wife and the younger generation's desire to assimilate with Israeli culture.

Attending on behalf of the film: Shmuel Beru

A complete line up of the Festival will be released next week. Announcement will include documentary films, student films and TV Drama Series.

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