The Fifth Heaven film 521.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
There are always many festivals that go on during Succot, but the 27th Haifa
International Film Festival, which runs from October 13-22, will be one of the
strongest ever. While the guest list is still in flux, the festival will feature
approximately 130 films from more than 40 countries, which will be shown at the
Haifa Cinematheque and theaters around the city.
Pnina Blayer, the
artistic director, will preside over a festival that is increasingly important
to the movie business in this country. Among its many special events will be the
8th International Marketing Forum, which brings together Israeli filmmakers and
film producers and fund managers from abroad looking to invest in Israeli film.
This year, an international agreement with the UK film community will be
launched, and the British delegation is set to include the distinguished
director John Madden, who made Shakespeare in Love and just helmed an
English-language remake of the Israeli film The Debt.
There will also be
delegations for producers from film funds in Luxembourg and Germany.
the second year, there will also be the Haifa-Israeli Cinemarket, a forum in
which international distributors have been invited to come and view Israeli
works in progress and will award money to projects they like.
events are just two of the many designed for filmmakers and the
The opening night attraction will be George Clooney’s latest film
as director, The Ides of March.
It stars Clooney as a governor running
for US president, with Ryan Gosling as a bright and ambitious political
operative who runs his campaign team.
The festival will close with Steven
Soderbergh’s critically acclaimed thriller Contagion. The film, which has an
all-star cast featuring Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Jude Law, Marion Cotillard
and Kate Winslet, is about a rapidly spreading virus that threatens to wipe out
most of the world’s population.
Although similar stories have been told
before, this time it is done with a realism that reviewers have called extremely
The Israeli feature film competition is much anticipated in
Israel, and often some of the best films of the year debut at Haifa. This year,
nine films will be shown in it, and several of these films, which have not yet
been released, were already nominated for Ophir Awards, the prizes of the Israel
Academy for Film.
The most anticipated film in the Israeli competition is
Eran Kolirin’s The Exchange. Kolirin had a huge success with his previous film,
The Band’s Visit, in 2007. His latest film, which tells a surreal story, was
shown at the Venice Film Festival. It stars Sharon Tal, Dov Navon and Rotem
Tawfik Abu Wael is also bringing his much-anticipated second
feature to Haifa. His first film, Atash, was a hit at film festivals all over
the world in 2004. His latest, Thanator: Last Days in Jerusalem, tells the story
of a Palestinian couple just before they leave Jerusalem to live in
Dina Zvi Riklis’s The Fifth Heaven tells the story of an
immigrant girl and her struggle to fit into Israel in the 1940s. Her previous
film was the acclaimed Three Mothers.
Little Simico’s Great Fantasy,
directed by Ariel Lubetzky, stars Zion Baruch, Neta Garty and Uri Gavriel in the
story of a 30-something slacker who becomes obsessed with making a film about
Noa Aharoni’s By Summer’s End is about an Israeli family in
1978 who must deal with the return of a longlost relative.
also be competitions for Israeli documentaries, short films, student films and
The Golden Anchor Competition is international and
spotlights films from countries along the Mediterranean.
This year it
features Le Havre, Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki’s film made in France about a
shoe shiner who tries to save a refugee. Acclaimed Turkish director Nuri Bilge
Ceylan’s film Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, the story of a group of men
searching for a dead body on the steppes, won the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes
Film Festival this year. And Emanuele Crialese’s Terraferma focuses on a
Sicilian community that suddenly has to cope with an influx of
refugees.For further details on the programs and to order tickets, visit
the festival website at www.haifaff.co.il