Israeli director Talya Lavie’s feature film debut Zero Motivation won as best narrative feature, the most important award in the World Narrative Competition category, at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on Thursday night.

The movie is both a comic and dramatic look at female soldiers in the IDF.

The Tribeca jury said in its statement: “[Zero Motivation] follows young women who must find their place and establish their identity in a world normally dominated by men and machismo. They do so with humor, strength and intellect. The filmmaker mirrors these same qualities. We believe a new, powerful voice has emerged.”

The award carries a cash prize of $25,000.

The film also won the new Nora Ephron Prize, which is given to a female filmmaker in honor of the late director and author. That prize also carries a cash value of $25,000.

Zero Motivation was a favorite with Tribeca audiences and generated a great deal of buzz before the awards were announced.

This year’s festival included 89 features and 57 short films from more than 40 countries.

Several Israeli films have won prizes at Tribeca in the past, including Eytan Fox’s Yossi & Jagger – whose star, Ohad Knoller, won the Best Actor Award in 2003 – and David Volach’s My Father, My Lord, which was judged best narrative feature in the 2007 World Narrative Competition.

Lavie’s 2006 short film Lonely Soldier, which also dealt with female soldiers, won a number of awards around the world, including the Audience Award at the Berlin Film Festival in 2006.