Heroes and monsters

The ICON Tel Aviv festival will try to deal with the human fascination with evil and find new kinds of heroes.

By ZUZANA BARAK
September 17, 2010 12:40
3 minute read.
Antje Traue in Christian Alvert's Pandorum

Antje Traue311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Fans of science fiction, horror, fantasy and anime (Japanese animation) entertainment will be swept away by the rich program scheduled for this year’s ICON Tel Aviv festival. A colorful mosaic of lectures, workshops, discussions, movie premieres of the hottest sci-fi releases, stage plays and other activities has been designed by the organizers to satisfy the increasing appetite for the genre both within Israel and internationally and to provide a platform for young Israeli directors eager to present their latest work.

In its 13th year, ICON TLV attracts more than 30,000 visitors from around the world who have two basic things in common: speculation about what the future will bring and passion for experiencing adventure here and now. Tel Aviv’s Cinematheque will be the main venue for the event, which will run for five full days from September 25, and will later extend to other Israeli locations, such as Holon, Herzliya and Sderot.

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The theme of ICON TLV 2010, heroes and monsters, was chosen to tie all the different components of the festival together. “We were looking for something relevant that would speak to our fans, something they could identify with, but also something that would deal with the human fascination for evil in a new and sophisticated way. It seemed clear to us that our perception of heroes and monsters is forever changing; that is why this theme is always fresh,” Uri Aviv, the main organizer of the event, told The Jerusalem Post.

According to Aviv, it is time to stop seeing our heroes and monsters in monolithic, one-dimensional terms. “We live in a democratic, versatile, multifaceted society that produces many types of heroes. We are aware of this and wanted to take all these new types of heroes into consideration while organizing the event,” he said.

The main highlight of this year’s ICON Tel Aviv is the participation of Christian Alvart, who was officially named the “New Face of German Cinema” at the 2005 AFI Festival in Los Angeles and was recently nominated for the Max Ophüls Award and the Prize of the Minister-President of the State Saarland. Alvart, who has not visited Israel before, will teach a very practical workshop on professional film-making and screenwriting and share his personal experience of Hollywood with budding Israeli filmmakers and generally anyone interested in film.

One of Alvart’s latest horror/sci-fi films, Pandorum which, according to Aviv is “creepy and scary as hell,” will be screened twice during the festival. Its basic plot revolves around two survivors on an abandoned spaceship who, with no memory, struggle to understand a terrifying reality that is slowly closing in on them.

Pandorum, like other science fiction movies, is great in that it can communicate its message through a metaphor and not directly, which gives me as the director the freedom to exaggerate the dangers of the future if human beings continue to behave irresponsibly towards the Earth and each other,” said Alvart in an exclusive interview..



Despite the fact that the festival attracts an increasing number of Orthodox science fiction fans, Aviv rejects the notion that ICON Tel Aviv is in any way confined to Judaism and its framework of thinking about the world, fantasy and future. “Science fiction strongly promotes cosmopolitan, universalist and humanist perspectives and values. There is nothing exclusively Jewish about it.

All that sci-fi heroes try to do is combat problems connected with their own human nature. That is why this genre is so popular – it speaks to people wherever they are and whatever they are.”

More information about the festival’s schedule is available at www.icon.org.il/2010


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