Emerging film directors get a boost from Jewish sponsors

The Pears Foundation, a British-based charitable foundation, will invest £90,000 over the next three years.

By JONNY PAUL, JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
October 2, 2007 20:54
2 minute read.
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The UK Jewish Film Festival, an annual event exploring the diversity of Jewish life and identity, has received a major boost in the form of a charitable foundation's sponsorship of its Short Film Fund. The Pears Foundation, a British-based charitable foundation, will be investing £90,000 in their Short Film Fund Award over the next three years, beginning in 2008, a huge boost for emerging young Jewish directors. The new title for the fund will be The Pears Foundation UKJFF Short Film Fund. Each year, the fund offers two directors funding to make a short film. The winners are chosen by a panel of experts from the film and television industries, coordinated by the renowned Israeli filmmaker Asher Tlalim. The fund's goal is to encourage the making of short films that focus on Jewish themes and topics that engage with Jewish life, history and culture around the world. Speaking about the award, Trevor Pears, executive chair of the Pears Foundation, said, "The Pears Foundation is delighted to sponsor the Short Film Fund. We hope our sponsorship will create opportunities for aspiring filmmakers to make powerful and meaningful contributions to Jewish culture." "It's great to see so much new filmmaking talent emerging," festival director Judy Ironside said. "Our submissions for last year's award were of such a high standard that we decided to award two winners. We have now decided to make two awards each year due to the number and quality of the entries we receive. We are sure that the support from the Pears Foundation will encourage even more directors to enter in 2008." In 2006, the £15,000 prize was split between two young filmmakers. Last year's winners of the UKJFF Short Film Fund were Amit Gitcellar and Dan Susman. Gitcellar's film, Sour Milk is set in Jerusalem in 1929 and tells the story of a girl who gets caught up in riots after going shopping with her mother. Susman's film, Veils, is set in London and follows a Jewish girl and a Palestinian boy on their wedding day. Both Sour Milk and Veils will be premiered at this year's festival, which opens with a gala screening of The Band's Visit in London's Leicester Square on October 29. The festival opens in Belsize Park, northwest London on November 3 and runs at cinemas around London until November 15. The Pears Foundation is a major supporter of charitable causes. It is the largest private funder of Holocaust education in the UK and also funds genocide education programs in Rwanda, the campaign to 'Protect Darfur' and development assistance work in the Congo and Ghana. The festival is a huge event in the Jewish arts calendar in the UK. It is a forum for a diverse range of films of Jewish interest and contributes to a positive image of Jewish life. It promotes cultural diversity, helps increase public access to world film, supports new filmmakers and builds bridges with other communities.

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