Israeli movies take centre stage at the Istanbul Film Festival

  (photo credit: Mete Kaan Özdılek)
(photo credit: Mete Kaan Özdılek)

Hundreds of people attended the screening of a number of  Israeli movies during the 42nd edition of the Istanbul Film Festival in April.

The Istanbul Film Festival is the largest and most established international film event in Turkey both in terms of the scope of its programme - which in 2023 included some 134 feature-length and 29 short movies for a total of over 350 screenings -  and of attendance - 90,000 visitors, similar to pre-pandemic editions.

The three Israeli works selected for the festival included “America” by Ofir Raul Graizer, “Karaoke” by Moshe Rosenthal and “Valeria is Getting Married” by Michal Vinik.

For Grazer, this edition marked the second time he took part in the Istanbul Film Festival with one of his creations. In addition, Rosenthal travelled to Turkey with his family and paid homage to his Turkish roots.

  (credit: Mete Kaan Özdılek) (credit: Mete Kaan Özdılek)

The screenings were followed by Q&A sessions with the directors. In one of the sessions, which was attended by Israeli Consul General Ehud Eitam and Cultural Attache Sigal Cohen, a member of the audience expressed appreciation for the Israeli presence.

“We have watched three films so far, three good and very different films, which exposed us to a beautiful and diverse image of Israeli society. Where can we watch more Israeli movies, outside of the framework of the festival?” the person asked.

The Israeli diplomats were happy to suggest checking out the website of the Israeli Film Fund, which in honour of the country’s 75th birthday offers many movies for free streaming.

“A selection of 75 films representing Israeli narrative and documentary filmmaking, from the country’s earliest days through to the present day is now available for streaming, worldwide,” reads the website.

“The carefully curated list of 75 films spans a wide range of genres of Israeli film over the years – from award-winning, box office juggernauts such as Sallah (Ephraim Kishon, 1964), Sh’Chur (Shmuel Hasfari, 1994), and Big Eyes (Uri Zohar, 1974), to the hidden gems and diamonds in the rough – films that were never given global exposure, or had vanished off the screens without a trace seeing as their original copies were left in film labs abroad,” it added.

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