Two important and very enjoyable film festivals are coming to Israel this week: The 15th Cinema South International Festival (Kolnoa Darom) at the Sderot Cinematheque from June 5 to 9; and the TLV International Student Film Festival at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque from June 9 to 16.
The Cinema South festival is run in conjunction with the Film and Television School of Sapir College.
The festival spotlights cinema from the periphery of Israel, as well as from the Third World in general and the Southern hemisphere in particular.
The Cinema South festival guests, from Israel and abroad, will be present at screenings of their films, as well as giving master classes. This year, the guests from abroad include Midi Z, a Taiwanese director who grew up in Burma. There will be a retrospective of his films, which deal with Asians living in poverty, among them Ice Poison and Return to Burma.
Celina Murga, a director from Argentina, will present several of her films, including Ana and the Others, A Week Alone and The Third Side of the River (which was produced by Martin Scorsese).
Benjamin Naishtat, also from Argentina, will attend screenings of his films, among them History of Fear and The Movement.
Vimukthi Jayasundara from Sri Lanka will present several of his films, among them The Forsaken Land, which won the Camera d’Or Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2005.
The festival will open with Our Father by Meni Yaesh, a film that combines action and myth, about a man torn between his loyalty to his family and the influence of his friends.
The closing films will be Eran Kolirin’s Beyond the Mountains and the Hills, which was just shown at the Cannes Film Festival, and looks at a troubled family.
Other highlights of the Israeli program include Yaniv Berman’s Land of the Little People, about a group of children who set up a secret camp in an abandoned army base. Eitan Green’s Indoors tells the story of Avraham, a Jerusalem building contractor trying desperately to get ahead financially. Erez Mizrahi and Sahar Shavit’s Beneath the Silence deals with a father suffering from PTSD, who tries to keep his family together.
As part of the Breaking Borders program, some of the films screened at the Cinema South festival will also be shown in Rahat, Ofakim and Netivot. There will also be programs on animated films, movies by Sapir students and graduates and fringe films.
The TLV International Student Film Festival, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year (for much of its history it was held every other year, so it is the 17th edition), was started by students at Tel Aviv University, which still sponsors it. Other sponsors include the Tel Aviv/Jaffa Municipality, the Ministry of Culture and Sport and the Tel Aviv Cinematheque. The festival, which is huge and extraordinarily varied, features two competitions for student films, international and Israeli, as well as a competition for independent short films that were not made in an academic framework. All in all, there will be more than 200 films from students at films schools in 70 countries, and hundreds of students come to Israel to attend.
This year, there are a number of distinguished guests from Israel and abroad. They will serve on the competition juries, give master classes and attend screenings of their films.
David Gordon Green won the Silver Bear (the Best Director Award) at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2013 for Prince Avalanche, about two road workers who spend a summer together in isolation. He is also known for the stoner comedy Pineapple Express starring James Franco and Seth Rogen and All the Real Girls, a drama that won the Special Jury Prize at Sundance.
Michel Hazanavicius won the Best Director Oscar for The Artist, which also won Best Picture in 2011.
Other guests at the festival include Robert Lantos, a producer known for the films Eastern Promises, Barney’s Version and Being Julia, among many others; Götz Spielmann, an Austrian screenwriter and director whose movie Revanche was nominated for an Oscar; João Pedro Rodrigues, a Portuguese director who made O Fantasma, The Last Time I Saw Macao, To Die Like a Man and Two Drifters; Monika Willi, a film editor known for her collaborations with Michael Haneke on such films as The Piano Teacher, Funny Games, The White Ribbon and Amour; Claire Atherton, a film editor who worked with Chantal Akerman and other directors on such films as South, A Couch in New York and Tomorrow We Move; and Darius Clark Monroe, director of the short film Train, which won prizes all over the world.
Several international guests run film festivals around the world, work as television executives and as distributors, among them Michèle Driguez, the program director of the short-film competition at the Montpellier Festival of Mediterranean Cinema; Paola Ruggeri, who has been in charge of feature and short film acquisitions for Italy’s number one commercial television channel RTI for the past 16 years; and Gabor Greiner, the head of the acquisition department in the French-German sales company Films Boutique, one of the world’s largest sales companies.
A number of Israelis are participating as judges as well, among them directors Nir Bergman (Yona) and Asaf Korman (Next to Her).
In addition to the competitions, screenings and classes, the Film Bus Project will get under way for the fifth time. As part of the project, 25 students will go on a one-week trip across Israel. At every stop there will be activities that are unique to each location. The students have been working with youth groups for months; when the Film Bus arrives, the films on which they have started will be shot and edited.
There will also be screenings of films. The Film Bus will stop in Arad, Sde Boker, Nahariya and other places far from the center.
There will be many special programs, among them Women’s Talk: One on One, meetings with female filmmakers; and Immigrants — the Social Documentary Projects, spotlights movies about the immigrant experience.
For more information and to buy tickets to these festivals, go to the Cinema South website at http://csf.sapir.ac.il/?lang=en and TLV International Student Film Festival website at http://www.taufilmfest.com/?lang=en Many events sell out, so buy tickets before you set out.