A feast for culture vultures

Israel's movie season kicks into full gear.

June 18, 2010 19:31
3 minute read.
Anthony Lapaglia stars in 'Balibo.'

balibo aussie film 311. (photo credit: Screenshot)

Currently in its 12th year, The Tel Aviv-Los Angeles Master Class Workshop, sponsored by the Los Angeles Jewish Federation, will take place at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque from June 18-25. The program brings together filmmakers and students from the two cities and features classes for students from both countries given by a host of Hollywood professionals.

This year’s guests are experts in the musical side of the industry and in television production. David Renzer, the head of Universal’s music division, has worked with some of the world’s most celebrated musicians, including Elton John, Elvis Costello, Bon Jovi, 50 Cent, Mariah Carey, and many others. Doug Frank headed Warner Bros. music division and supervised the music for dozens of movies, including the Harry Potter series, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and The Matrix. Steve Schnur is the worldwide executive for music and marketing for Electronic Arts (EA), the largest video game producer in the world, which has created such titles as The Sims. Randy Edelman has written and supervised the music for such films as Leap Year, Beethoven’s Big Break, 27 Dresses and The Mummy 3.

While these guests will work with Israel’s many aspiring movie composers, there will be other participants who work as television producers and screenwriters. Jonathan Littman is the head of the television department at Jerry Bruckheimer Productions, and has produced a long list of television series, including CSI, Without a Trace, The Amazing Race and Cold Case. Writer and producer Ed Redlich has produced Shark, Without a Trace and The Practice, among others. Sarah Timberman, the president of her own production company, Timberman/Beverly Productions, produced the series Kidnapped and is collaborating with Redlich on a new project.

Mickey Yerushalmi, the head of the cultural committee of the Tel Aviv-Los Angeles Master Class program, is excited by how the partnership has grown: “There is cooperation on both sides, and the participants are full of curiosity and initiative. Through the master classes, both the American and Israeli professionals have learned creatively through true international cooperation.”

The 7th Australia Israel Cultural Exchange (AICE) Australian Film Festival begins on June 20 at the Jerusalem Cinematheque, then moves to the Nazareth, Haifa and Tel Aviv Cinematheques, and finishes its run on July 10.

Featuring the best recent films from Australia, the festival opens with the political thriller, Balibo. Balibo stars Anthony LaPaglia, who is probably best known for his role on the television series, Without a Trace. The film tells the story of five Australian-based journalists who were shot during Indonesia’s invasion of East Timor in 1975. The film’s director, Robert Connolly, will attend the festival and be present for questions at many of the screenings.

Another highlight of the festival will be Samson & Delilah, a love story about a teen aboriginal couple living in the Central Australian desert, which won the prestigious Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Actress Rachel Ward directed the movie Beautiful Kate, the story of a forbidden sexual relationship, which stars her husband, Bryan Brown, and Rachel Griffiths. The film is set in both modern times and the 19th century. Sarah Watt’s My Year without Sex focuses on an ordinary family grappling with extraordinary challenges. Joel Anderson’s Lake Mungo tells the story of the drowning death of a girl, but her family begins to feel afterwards that there may be more to her death than they know. Glendyn Ivin’s Last Ride stars Hugo Weaving (from Lord of the Rings and The Matrix movies) as a father who goes on an unexpected journey with his estranged son. The festival includes short films and documentaries, including Glass: A Portrait of Philip in 12 Parts, directed by Scott Hicks, who made Shine. The Choir, directed by Michael Davie, is about a group of inmates trying to survive in South Africa’s largest prison. Short films include the animated films, Chicken of God and The Cat Piano.

For details on the festival, go to the AICE Website at http://www.aice.com.au/

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