Although there are dozens of film festivals in Israel, finally now there's one that children can enjoy. The Tel Aviv International Children and Youth Film Festival, which will be held at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque, runs from September 28-October 2 and features dozens of films by and for kids, both from Israel and abroad.
The festival includes an international competition, programs of movies made by children and young people, documentaries, shorts, and panels about directing movies for children. The bulk of the festival is aimed at children ten and over, but the "Programs for Youngsters" section is for 6-8-year-olds. Kids whose only knowledge of movies comes from Disney will be surprised by the realistic and moving films on the program.
Films in the International Competition include The Italian, a Russian film about an orphan who may be adopted by an Italian family and Blue Bird, a drama from the Netherlands about a girl who is persecuted by bullies.
The Israeli film, Little Heroes by Etai Lev, about a group of outsiders who bond at a Negev kibbutz, will be shown in a special screening. Other special screenings include Hayat, about an Iranian girl who dreams of going to a school outside her village, and E'lollipop, a South African movie about the friendship between a black boy and an orphaned white boy.
The documentary section includes both Israeli and international films. Among the Israeli documentaries are Yedidyah's Collection, about a boy in Gush Katif who collects shrapnel from Kassam rockets; Want To Be Angry, a look at a boy whose father was killed in a suicide bombing; and Offside, about a 13-year-old Palestinian boy who plays soccer in a field cut in half by the Security Fence.
Films from the Creating With Keshet project, sponsored by Keshet Broadcasting, will also be screened. This is a project in which established Israeli filmmakers such as Nir Bergman, Joseph Cedar and Avi Nesher collaborate with students in schools around the country to make movies. These movies from the Keshet project deal with the students' and filmmakers' interpretations of the Ten Commandments. The schools participating in the project include both Arabs and Jews, religious and secular and youth villages.
Actress/author Gila Almagor-Agmon, chairperson of the festival, said that the festival features, "stories dealing with the world of children, which is sometimes a difficult world, but on many occasions a far more optimistic place" than the adult world.
Tickets to screenings are 25 NIS and free to Cinematheque members when seats are available. To make reservations, call the Cinematheque at 03-606-0800, ext. 0, or Cinemaphone at 03-691-3811. Further information on the films can be found at www.cinema.co.il