In the picture

Film festivals here and abroad are featuring a diverse range of themes, with an impressive number of Israeli films appearing on int'l screens.

Film festival 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Film festival 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Several film festivals, in Israel and around the world, are offering some programs worth a look. The 6th International Children’s Film Festival starts on October 27 at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque and runs through October 30. More than 60 films will be screened during the festival, including Israeli films, films from abroad, short films and films by children.
The program states the festival’s theme as “In every place and in every language in the world, each child’s story is worthy of a film.”
The guest of honor will be Mijke de Jong, the Dutch director of the film Bluebird, which won the Crystal Bear Award at the Berlin Film Festival and the Grand Prix at the Montreal International Children’s Film Festival. It tells the story of an adolescent girl who is bullied at school and how she learns to fight back.
Among the Israeli films being shown are the popular Noodle, about a Tel Aviv woman who helps the child of a worker from China find his mother; Saint Clara, the first film by Ari Folman (who went on to direct Waltz with Bashir) and Ori Sivan, about a clairvoyant high school student; and Lynn Roth’s The Little Traitor, a film based on Amos Oz’s novel about a Jewish boy in pre-state Jerusalem who befriends a British soldier played by Alfred Molina.
The international films come from all over the world and include Bonkers, a film from The Netherlands about a nine-year-old girl whose already complicated life gets even crazier when her mother gives her an elephant; Before the World Ends, a Brazilian film about a boy who gets a chance to start over again in a remote rural village with a father he has never known; Echoes of the Rainbow, a film from Hong Kong about a poor family; and the American film based on the recent children’s bestseller Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
There will be some classic films shown, including the 1938 Hollywood version of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and a program of documentaries for children. The festival will also feature a number of workshops and special events, including workshops on special effects and movie makeup.
It’s the official centennial of the kibbutz movement, and cinematheques around the country are showing a festival of documentaries and feature films about kibbutzim throughout the month.
Among the best of them are Ran Tal’s Children of the Sun, a look at children’s experiences growing up on kibbutzim.
The Los Angeles Israel Film Festival is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year with awards for some of its longtime supporters, among them a lifetime achievement award for actor Richard Dreyfuss, as well as awards for Ryan Kavanaugh, the founder and CEO of Relativity Media; Jon Landau, the COO of Lightstorm Entertainment; and Avi Lerner, the co-chairman and CEO of Nu Image/Millennium Films.
The festival, which runs until November 4, features more than 40 recent Israeli films. Its opening attraction, The Matchmaker (previously called Once I Was), directed by Avi Nesher, won the Ophir Awards for Best Actor (Adir Miller) and Best Actress (Maya Dagan). The closing film, Eran Riklis’s The Human Resources Manager, won the Ophir for Best Picture. In between, the most successful Israeli films of the last two years will be shown, including Lebanon (winner of the top prize at the Venice International Film Festival last year), Five Hours from Paris, A Matter of Size and This Is Sodom, the top-grossing Israeli film in the last 25 years.
While there are Israeli film festivals in many other cities, the Los Angeles one tends to draw a particularly star-studded crowd. It also gives Israeli directors an opportunity to show their work to key Hollywood professionals, who can help them with distribution and the financing of future films. In the past, a great deal of co-production money invested in the Israeli film industry has come from Europe, but perhaps when this year’s impressive lineup debuts in Los Angeles, American producers will begin supporting the growing film industry here. Don’t be surprised if some Israeli-American co-productions are announced when the festival ends.