A few minutes of your time

Both professionals and students will be competing for top prize at the Galilee Short Film Festival.

May 22, 2012 21:58
3 minute read.

ITAI RAZIEL’S ‘Wedlock’ 370. (photo credit: courtesy/ PR)

The Israeli film industry has undergone a wonderful transformation in the past decade, and nowhere has Israel’s influence been felt more on the international scene than in the world of short films.

Israeli short films have won literally hundreds of prizes at international film festivals. Film-school students invariably make short films to begin their careers, and so the emergence of film schools such as Sam Spiegel, Tel Aviv University, Maaleh and many others has led to a focus on the art of the short film. Now, you can see the fruits of Israel’s short film renaissance at the Galilee Short Film Festival in Kiryat Shmona, which runs from May 23-25.

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The festival, which is sponsored by the Kiryat Shmona Municipality and Tel Hai College, will show more than 50 short films (up to 30 minutes), including both dramas and documentaries.

There will be films by professionals as well as students. The festival features a competition, the Golden Kingfisher Award (the kingfisher is a bird that lives in the Galilee). There will be prizes both for established filmmakers and one for students.

The films are varied in subject and style, and graduates of all Israeli film schools are represented.

There are also films by directors who have studied abroad or who have not attended film school at all.

Keren Shayo’s House Arrest looks at the career of Jawad Siyam, a community artistic leader in east Jerusalem. I Will Drink My Tears is Tom Shoval’s fiction film about a disturbed 15-year-old who tries to raise some money. Itai Raziel’s Wedlock is a silent meditation on matrimony. Rafy Shagray’s Eva is about an old woman who tests the limitations of her life. Unconditional is a film by Avital Barak and Sie Gal about sexuality and Orthodox Judaism. Rafael Balulu’s Batman at the Checkpoint is a surreal look at the havoc a Batman doll brings to a routine search.

While most short films from around the world feature unknown actors, the Israeli film industry is so small that often the biggest stars of film and television are happy to appear in short films, even ones by students. The Pitch, by Misch Rozanov, features Moni Moshonov, in a film about an ambitious film student pitching a samurai story to the head of a film fund.

Kill a Bee, directed by Tal Granit and Sharon Maymon, is a look at how ordinary people can brutalize others in the blink of an eye. It stars Rami Heuberger and Dvir Benedek. Oded Binnun and Michal Breizis’ Paradise Lost stars Rotem Zisman in a story of a woman who is not who she appears to be at first. Lior Ashkenazi plays a traveler on a strange trip in Erez Avni and Etai Edry’s Train Coach.

Chilean/French director Luis Briceno will attend the festival to present his work, and also will give a master class. Although most of the films in the festival will be Israeli, there will be screenings of some of the most acclaimed short films from around the world.

There will be a tribute to the work of Avraham Hefner, which will include screenings of three of his short films from the Seventies and Eighties.

Hefner is best known for his feature film, Where is Daniel Wax? There will be pitching events, where filmmakers looking for financing will pitch their ideas to representatives of the film industry. The Rabinovich Fund-Cinema Project will give a grant of NIS 200,000 to one of the filmmakers pitching ideas.

Another forum, called Coffee and Cigarettes, will bring established filmmakers together with younger directors to teach them how to promote their work.

Young, aspiring filmmakers will look forward to a showing of the best shorts by high school students.

For more information, and to buy tickets and get details of where to stay in the area, go to the festival Website at http://www.gsff.co.il/

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