The 35th Israel Film Festival (IFF) in Los Angeles announced that it will honor acclaimed actor, director, producer and author Henry Winkler with the 2022 IFF Career Achievement Award, real estate and philanthropist David Wiener with the 2022 IFF Humanitarian Award, and that Avi Nesher’s Image of Victory will be the festival’s opening-night movie at its gala on May 5. Ehud Bleiberg, the film’s producer, will receive the 2022 IFF Cinematic Achievement Award.
Best known for playing the iconic character Arthur “the Fonz” Fonzarelli on the television series Happy Days, Winkler recently visited Israel to act in a lead role in the Israeli/US crossover comedy, Chanshi, which was created by and stars Aleeza Chanowitz, and which was produced by the Israeli network Hot.
Winkler and Wiener will be honored April 29 during the festival’s annual sponsor luncheon at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, while Bleiberg will receive his award during the opening night gala.
Meir Fenigstein, founder and executive director of the Israel Film Festival, also announced that this year’s festival, which will run from May 5-26, will take place both in person and online.
The festival’s opening date was set to coincide with Israel’s Independence Day this year and Image of Victory is a particularly apt film to show on this date, since it tells the intertwined stories of young people at Kibbutz Nitzanim besieged by Egyptian forces during the Independence War, and of a young Egyptian filmmaker shooting a newsreel and the troops with which he is embedded. The moving, fact-based drama stars Amir Khoury, Joy Rieger, Ala Dakka and Meshi Kleinstein.
Speaking about the honorees, Fenigstein said, “Henry Winkler is an exceptional artist that has used his talents both in front of and behind the camera to entertain audiences around the world. His life and body of work is a benchmark that others aspire to for a career.
David Wiener’s international philanthropic endeavors and support of Israel is unparalleled while Ehud Bleiberg has created an indelible mark as one of Israel’s best and most prolific producers The Israel Film Festival sponsors, who are the very core of the Festival’s support, are thrilled to recognize these outstanding gentlemen.”
Tickets will go on sale on April 20. The full lineup and schedule will be announced in the coming days and will be available on the festival website at https://www.israelfilmfestival.com.