Africa and Reborn share top Israeli feature prize at Haifa film festival

Alejandro Amenábar’s While at War, a film about the Spanish Civil War, won the Carmel International Competition.

Reborn by Yaron Shani (photo credit: NITZAN LOTAM & SHAI SKI)
Reborn by Yaron Shani
(photo credit: NITZAN LOTAM & SHAI SKI)
 The 35th Haifa International Film Festival announced its awards Saturday night and two films won its top prize in the Best Israeli Feature Film Competition: Africa, directed by Oren Gerner, and Reborn by Yaron Shani. The NIS 100,000 prize will be divided between them. 

Africa tells the story of a man coping with growing older. Reborn, the third film in Shani’s Love Trilogy, follows some of the characters from Stripped and Chained, the two previous installments, and introduces some new faces in interconnected stories of Tel Aviv residents who struggle to find meaning. 

Africa also won the Danny Lerner Prize for Best Debut. The prize for Best Screenplay, given in conjunction with the Screenwriters’ Union, went to Guy Ayal and Michael Mayer for their violent black comedy, Happy Times. 

The prize for Best Actor went to Meir Gerner for Africa. The Best Actress Prize was given to three actresses from Reborn, Stav Almagor, Ori Shani and Lea Tonic.

Underground Ballet, directed by Lina Chaplin, won the prize for the Best Israeli Documentary. It tells the story of a Russian ballerina who sets up a studio in Jerusalem under Teddy Stadium. 

Alejandro Amenábar’s While at War, a film about the Spanish Civil War, won the Carmel International Competition. 

Davis Sīmanis’ The Mover, a fact-based drama about a Latvian who hid Jews during the Holocaust, won the top prize in the Between Israeli and Jewish Identity competition. 

Chichinette, How I Accidentally Became a Spy, a documentary by Nicola Hens about Marthe Cohn, a Jewish nurse who spied against the Nazis for the French, won a Special Mention in this category. 

The prize in the Golden Anchor Competition for Best Debut Film went to Andreas Horvath’s Lillian, about an immigrant to the US who decided to walk home to her native Russia in 1927 and disappeared. 

The film, Homeward, by Nariman Aliev, about a Crimean father who tries to bring home the body of his son who was killed in the fighting between Russian and the Ukraine, won an Honorable Mention in this category. 

The festival will run through October 21.