The number and variety of special programs, workshops, panel discussions and master classes at this year's Jerusalem Film Festival are mind boggling. Festival founder and director Lia van Leer is excited about all of them, but gives special mention to the Canadian delegation.
"They've come to talk to cinema people here, to see the reality of life in Israel today, and to present their own work," she says. These guests include Achievement Award winners director Atom Egoyan and producer Robert Lantos, as well as director Patricia Rozema (I've Heard the Mermaids Singing, Mansfield Park), director/producer Simcha Jacobovici (Impact of Terror), producer Denise Roberts (The Barbarian Invasions), and actresses Marie Josee Croze (Ararat), Arsinee Khanjian (Exotica), and Kim Cattrall (who appears in several Canadian films, including Ticket to Heaven which is being screened at the festival, but to many will always be identified with her role on Sex and the City). "There's been so much interest in her, you can't imagine," commented van Leer on the reaction from the Cattrall-crazed Israeli public to the news of her visit. Several films by these Canadian artists are being shown at the festival.
Another program for which van Leer has high hopes is The Jerusalem Pitch Point, an open competition for Israeli screenwriters, 14 of whom will be chosen to present their scripts to a group of European producers and television executives, including Wouter Barendrecht, director general of Fortissimo Films. For more information on Pitch Point, call 02-565-4345 or go to email@example.com
Several programs focus on archival issues, including The Forum for the Preservation of Audio-Visual Memory in Israel. Information is available at 03-561-9087.
For a full list of programs and schedules, look in the festival guide or go to www.jff.org.il