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Yair Landau to chair Israel Film Festival anniversary

ISRAEL FILM FESTIVAL CELEBRATES 20 YEARS OF SHOWCASING THE BEST IN ISRAELI CINEMA
Yair Landau, Vice Chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, will serve as the Chairman of the 20th Anniversary of the Israel Film Festival.
The Honorary Co-Chairman is Arnon Milchan.
Jason Alexander to Host Gala Kick-Off With Award Presentations to Gale Anne Hurd, Norman Jewison, Arthur Hiller and Israeli Filmmaker Eitan Evan

Opening Night Film “Nina’s Tragedies” Will Premiere at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences

Festival will Screen 37 New Israeli Films at Laemmle’s Fairfax and Town Center Theatres in Encino, April 29-May 13, 2004

The 20th annual Israel Film Festival, the largest showcase of Israeli films in the US, the second oldest film festival in Southern California, and the only film festival that will visit four American cities - Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Miami, will screen 37 new feature films, documentaries, television movies and student short films in Los Angeles from April 29th through May 13th. Tony award-winning actor Jason Alexander will host the gala Opening Night festivities, Thursday, April 29th, at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ Samuel Goldwyn Theatre, which will include special tributes to pioneering filmmakers Gale Anne Hurd, Norman Jewison and Arthur Hiller. Following the tributes will be the premiere of “Nina’s Tragedies,” the amazing and thought-provoking film from writer/director Savi Gabizon, which is the first Israeli feature to debut at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival.

Many of this year’s Festival selections are US Premieres, intriguing documentaries, the best short films from Israel’s film schools and films that exhibit the cultural, religious and political diversity of Israel. In addition to celebrating 20 years of presenting the finest Israeli films to American audiences, the 20th Israel Film Festival will showcase some of the best, entertaining Israeli films from past and present in a new special spotlight section. This will highlight new and classics films from such directors as Savi Gabizon, Michal Bat-Adam, Shemi Zarhin, Dror Shaul, Isaac Zepel Yeshurun and Eitan Green. To honor the passing of a great Israeli filmmaker, Rafi Bukaee, the festival will showcase his classic film, “Avanti Popolo.”

Further, to illustrate both Israel and its film industry in a light other than Arab/Israeli relations and the effects of terrorism and war, this year’ s programming will also include tender, affectionate coming of age stories and the decay of the once mighty and legendary Kibbutz system. Also included will be panels where producers, directors and screenwriters brought from Israel will meet audiences and discuss their work and current Israeli issues. The full slate of films will soon be announced.

Under the skillful supervision of Founder/Director Meir Fenigstein, the Israel Film Festival and its parent company, The IsraFest Foundation, Inc., a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization, has showcased more than 500 of the best of Israel's growing film and television industry for the past 20 years. Introducing Israeli life and culture to American audiences through the powerful medium of film and providing a comprehensive intercultural exchange. Through the years, more than 550,000 filmgoers in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Miami have experienced the best of Israeli cinema.

“We are so proud to reach this landmark anniversary, celebrating 20 years of Israeli cinema,” noted Fenigstein. “As the festival has evolved over the past 20 years, so have the themes and topics of Israeli filmmakers by moving beyond Arab/Israeli issue and into daily topics of love, relationships and everyday living. We are excited to continue bringing audiences the best in Israeli cinema and look forward to doing so for 20 more years.”

The Opening Night Film is “Nina’s Tragedies,” which won 11 Israeli Film Academy Prizes including Best Picture, Best Actress and Best Director and played at this year’s Sundance Film Festival in the World Cinema section. “Nina’s Tragedies” will be distributed by Wellspring Media. It is that rare film which achieves a lusciously paradoxical “happy-sad” state, making us laugh and cry at the same time. Writer/director Savi Gabizon creates a melancholic romp through the range of human emotion and experience that effortlessly transports its eccentric characters from the most mundane to the most profound moments in a single scene, all the while juggling ideas of fate and randomness, gravitas and serendipity. Through the eyes of Nadav, a sensitive teenage boy Oedipally smitten with his beautiful Aunt Nina, we witness excruciating loss, mind-blowing sex, bizarre coincidence, mortal illness and even birth.

Gale Anne Hurd will receive the 2004 IFF Visionary Award. Over the course of her career, Hurd has produced more than two dozen feature films that have generated billions of dollars in revenue and earned Oscar nominations and scores of awards. She has further distinguished herself by championing paradigm-shifting technological innovations, and carving out a pre-eminent position within the previously all-male ranks of epic-scaled film production. Well-known for her service to the entertainment community, she has served as a board member of the Producers Guild of America (co-chairing the Producers Credit Committee), Women In Film, The Ocean Conservancy and Mulholland Tomorrow. For the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, Hurd serves on the Executive Committee of the Producers Branch, chairs the Festival Grants Committee and co-chairs the Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowship Committee. She also recently served on the steering committee for Hollywood for Habitat, a local outreach program of Habitat for Humanity.

In 1998 she received the Crystal Award from Women in Film to honor those “outstanding women who… have helped enhance the role of women within the entertainment Industry.” In 2001, Gale was presented the WIF Founders Award at the Sundance Film Festival and the Independent Vision Award at the Temecula Film Festival. The American Film Institute provides grants to the Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women in her name. In January 2004, the National Board of Review honored Hurd with a Special Achievement in Producing Award at their annual Awards dinner in New York City.

Hurd most recently produced the smash hit “The Hulk,” and the soon to be released “The Punisher.” Other producing credits – blockbusters all – include “Terminator,” “Aliens,” “The Abyss,” “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” “The Ghost and the Darkness,” “Dante’s Peak,” “The Relic” and “Armageddon.” She’s also been responsible for “Tremors,” “Safe Passage,” “The Waterdance” (which won both Spirit and Sundance Awards) “Dick” and “Clockstoppers.”

Norman Jewison will receive the 2004 IFF Lifetime Visionary Award. Jewison has been a vibrant force in the motion picture industry for four decades. The filmmaker has been personally nominated for four Oscars; his films have received 46 nominations and 12 Academy Awards. He has also been nominated for three Best Director awards. In 1999, Jewison received the Irving Thalberg Award at the Academy Awards

Jewison has been the recipient of many prestigious international honors: the Directors Guild of America, the National Board Review and the AFI Awards, to name a few. His homeland Canada made Jewison an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1982, a member of the Order of Ontario in 1989 and awarded him the Companion to the Order of Canada, the country’s highest civilian honor, in 1992. Most recently, he was presented with the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award in 2004.

His film debut as a director came with the comedy “40 Pounds of Trouble,” which was followed by “The Thrill of it All,” “Send Me No Flowers” and “The Art Of Love,” “The Cincinnati Kid,” “The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming,” “The Thomas Crown Affair,” “In The Heat of the Night” (winner of five Academy Awards, including Best Picture of 1967) and “...And Justice For All.” He also directed the hit screen version of Broadway’s “Fiddler on the Roof” and the rock opera “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Rollerball,” “F.I.S.T.” and “A Soldier’s Story,” adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, which was nominated for three Academy Awards. That same year, Jewison
produced “Iceman” and then later directed “Agnes of God.” His “Moonstruck”
was a smash success and another multiple Oscar-winner, with star Cher winning Best Actress, Olympia Dukakis for Best Supporting Actress and John Patrick Shanley for Best Original Screenplay. Other credits include “The January Man,” “In Country,” “Other People’s Money,” “Only You,” “Geronimo,” “Funny is Money,” “The Hurricane,” “For Richer or Poorer,” “Dinner with Friends” and most recently, “The Statement.”

Arthur Hiller will receive the 2004 IFF Humanitarian Award. Hiller has
served two terms as President of the Directors Guild of America, as a member of the Board of Governors and four terms as President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and as a member of the National Film
Preservation Board of the Library of Congress. The Academy of Motion
Picture Arts and Sciences presented Hiller with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the Academy Awards in 2002. The award is given to a member of the film community whose humanitarian efforts have been a credit to the industry.

He began his career in radio in the 1950s on Talks and Public Affairs at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He soon was directing docudramas and dramas for CBC Television. NBC then coaxed him to Hollywood to direct several of their Matinee Theatre productions. He followed with many prestigious Playhouse 90 dramas, including “Massacre at Sand Creek,” which earned him an Emmy nomination. He quickly became a director of choice for some of the industry’s best known series including “Naked City,” “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” “Gunsmoke,” “Ben Casey” and “Route 66.”

Some of Hiller’s most recognized films include: “The Babe,” “Outrageous Fortune,” Making Love,” “The In-Laws,” “Silver Streak,” The Man in the Glass Booth,” “Man of La Mancha,” “Plaza Suite” “Hospital,” “Love Story,” for which he was honored with a Golden Globe Award as well as an Academy Award nomination, “The Out-of-Towners” and “The Americanization of Emily.”

Award-winning Israeli producer Eitan Evan will receive the 2004 IFF Cinematic Award. His new film “Bonjour Monsieur Shlomi” will screen at the Festival; he is also responsible for such past classics as “Summer of Avia” and “Under the Domin Tree.” Evan has been a major force in the Israeli film industry for the past 25 years. His films have won awards worldwide and include such celebrated titles as: “On the Edge,” “Family Secret” and “Dangerous Acts.” He has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Israeli Film & TV Producers Association since 1990 and was Chairman from 2000-2003. He is also an active member of the Israeli Academy of Motion Pictures and The Fund for the Promotion of Israeli Films.

Yair Landau, Vice Chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, will serve as the Chairman of the 20th Anniversary of the Israel Film Festival.
Yair Landau, 40, is Vice Chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) and President, Sony Pictures Digital (SPD), an operating unit of SPE committed to the application of creativity and technology to develop and deliver the next generation of entertainment.

Mr. Landau formed Sony Pictures Digital in 1999, bringing together all of Sony Pictures' digital artists and software engineers from Sony Pictures Imageworks, Sony Online Entertainment and Columbia Tristar Interactive into one division.

Under his direct leadership Sony Pictures Imageworks has grown into a leading, state-of-the-art digital animation and visual effects company creating computer-generated imaging (CGI) for motion pictures. Yair supervised production of Imageworks’ first animated short, THE CHUBB CHUBBS, which won several awards including an Academy Award? for Best Short Film (animated) in 2003. Building on this success, he established Sony Pictures Animation to develop and produce all-CGI animated features for SPE.

Mr. Landau has grown Sony Online Entertainment into the worldwide leader in massively multiplayer online (MMO) gaming building upon EverQuest, the most successful MMO PC game in the United States, with Star Wars Galaxies launched in partnership with Lucas Arts in 2003.

Through Sony Pictures Digital, Landau developed the technology and formed the five-studio Movielink partnership, the first major studio Internet movie download service, launched in 2002. Most recently, he reorganized Sony Pictures Digital Networks to focus on emerging mobile entertainment, broadband video delivery and media software. Today this group includes Sony Pictures Mobile, SoapCity, and Sony Pictures Integrated Network (SPiN), the studio’s online promotional presence.

Yair has been with SPE since 1991. During his tenure, he served in many positions including Executive Vice President of Corporate Development and Strategic Planning. In that capacity, he was responsible for bringing the SPIDER-MAN franchise to Sony Pictures Entertainment.

The Honorary Co-Chairman is Arnon Milchan. Honorary co-chairs include Peter Chernin, Michael Fuchs , Arthur Hiller, Sherry Lansing, David Matalon, Mike Medavoy, Ron Meyer, Sumner Redstone, Joe Roth, Haim Saban, Terry Semel, Steven Spielberg, Ted Turner and Jack Valenti.

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