Israeli short film wins student prize in Cannes

Local director Elad Keidan tries to grasp the meaning of his surprising achievement.

Elad Keidan 88 224 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Elad Keidan 88 224
(photo credit: Courtesy)
While the majority of the Cannes Film Festival winners were announced on Sunday, Israeli director Elad Keidan's Anthem was awarded First Prize Cinéfondation, the first place in the students competition, on Friday. Keidan, a student at the Jerusalem-based Sam Spiegel Film and TV School, won the top prize over 19 other films submitted from schools all over the world, including entries from France, China, Brazil, Romania and fellow Israeli Hadar Morag. "It felt great, an unexpected honor and is life changing," Keidan told The Jerusalem Post. He was taken aback by the attention he has been receiving since receiving the award. "I did not expect to win, or [expect] the consequences in Israel," he said, adding modestly, "I thought it would just be a small item in the newspaper." But for Keidan, the attention he is receiving is coming from the movie industry as well as the papers. "I wasn't courting producers, they just started coming up to me," he explained. Renen Schorr, the director of the school, was also on hand at the festival, and recounted the atmosphere surrounding the film. "We could feel in the air the way the film was received by the audience; people were taken by the characters, the fun, the language," Schorr said. However, he had been unsure of where the film would finish. "We felt we would have something, but when it came to first, second or third - we didn't have a clue." Schorr also bragged that this was the first time an Israeli won the top prize in the school competition. Keidan's movie, like all the other entries, was a short film, lasting only 36 minutes. It depicts the comical and miraculous episodes of Amnon, who goes out to buy milk before Shabbat in Jerusalem's Katamonim neighborhood and meets an eccentric group of people along the way. "It's sort of a poem, it doesn't have big drama, it has a slow pace... invoking the good of all people, in a charming way," Schorr explained. The film, which was dedicated to a fellow student who passed away in December, brought Keidan not only the €15,000 prize money, but also automatic entry for his next film into the festival. "It means the attention of the whole world," Schorr said.