Cinema of the South Festival turns 18

The festival will welcome a Hollywood luminary, David Zucker, the legendary director/writer of such comedy classics as Airplane!, Top Secret and The Naked Gun series.

May 31, 2019 09:39
3 minute read.
A poster for the film 'The Mossad.'

A poster for the film 'The Mossad.'. (photo credit: SHINE HOROVITS)

Eighteen will be a lucky number for the Cinema of the South Festival (Kolnoa Drom) in Sderot, which is celebrating its 18th anniversary this year, and which runs June 2-6.

The festival is still based at the Sderot Cinematheque, but it will also take place at venues throughout the south, including Netivot, Ofakim and Beersheba. It features a focus on films from the periphery of Israel, as well as from the developing world, and will include many special events devoted to better understanding cinema from the perspective of those outside the mainstream.

It is run by the School of Audio and Visual Arts at Sapir College in Sderot. The Sderot Municipality, the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council, the Culture Ministry, the Israel Film Council and Eshkol Western Negev also sponsor this festival.

This year, it will also feature musical events that are part of the InDNegev Festival. Many of the events at the festival are free of charge.

The festival will welcome a Hollywood luminary, David Zucker, the legendary director/writer of such comedy classics as Airplane!, Top Secret and The Naked Gun series.

He will be there to present the new Israeli film, Mossad, directed by Alon Gur Arye, on which he was an adviser. Mossad will be the opening-night film of the festival. The two directors will give a master class about Mossad and the art of comedy.

The film, which stars Tsahi Halevi, will be shown at the festival and will be in theaters throughout Israel at the end of June.

Other new Israeli feature films in the competition include Sameh Zoabi’s Tel Aviv on Fire, which won the top prize at the Haifa International Film Festival, and which tells the story of a Ramallah man who becomes a writer on a soap opera after a chance meeting with an Israeli soldier; Yona Rozenkier’s The Dive, about three brothers and who try to resolve their troubled relationship after the death of their father; and David Kreiner’s Herzl’s Susita, about a film teacher at a high school in Sderot.

The festival will present a 30th anniversary tribute to the Jerusalem Sam Spiegel Film School, in the presence of its founding director, Renen Schorr, which will feature autobiographical films by Sam Spiegel graduates.

There will be a tribute to filmmaker Keren Yedaya, whose best known film is the 2004 drama, Or, starring Ronit Elkabetz and Dana Ivgy.

Acclaimed Mexican filmmaker Michel Franco will be among the international guests at the festival. A number of his best-known films will be screened in the International Treasures section of the festival, including Chronic, starring Tim Roth, which tells the story of a nurse for terminally ill patients; April’s Daughter, about a teen whose pregnancy brings up larger issues for her family; and After Lucia, the story of a girl who is bullied when she and her father move to a new community.

Gastón Solnicki, a leading arthouse director from Argentina, will also be among the guests, as will French director Valérie Massadian.
Documentaries are often the most fascinating section of any festival, and this year the documentary features at Sderot include Levantine, Rafael Balulu’s portrait of pioneering Mizrahi intellectual, Jacqueline Kahanoff, and Golda, which is based on recently discovered archival footage of a candid interview with Golda Meir.

The festival will also include student films, workshops and parties.

Prof. Sami Shalom Chetrit, director of the School of Audio and Visual Art at Sapir College, said, “The festival is a special cultural celebration of the South, by the South, but not only for the South, but in the best tradition of hospitality in the South, we open our door and our hearts to all residents of the country.”

For more information and to order tickets, go to the festival website at

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