Making our presence felt

Israeli movies are garnering award nominations worldwide.

Making our presence felt (photo credit: courtesy)
Making our presence felt
(photo credit: courtesy)
November is a relatively quiet month on the local film festival scene, except for the International Women’s Film Festival, which opens on November 5 this year in Rehovot. More on that next week, but the website is up and running at
Will Israel have another Oscar nominee this year? Fill the Void, which won the Ophir Award, is Israel’s official entry for consideration for a Best Foreign Language Film nominee, but 70 other countries just submitted their films as well. The short list for the category will be announced in early January, and the five nominees will be announced on January 10. It’s always hard to predict the nominees in this category, and it’s considered a strong year for many of the European entries. However, many Oscar watchers are calling Fill the Void a dark horse and, according to a few Oscar voters, has a good chance of making the short list, so keep your fingers crossed.
Israel has had Oscar nominees in four of out of the last five years. The one Israeli film during recent years that didn’t get a nod was Eran Ricklis’s The Human Resources Manager. But there have been two nominees about the Lebanon War – Beaufort and Waltz with Bashir – one about Talmud scholars (Footnote) and one about Jews and Arabs in Jaffa – Ajami. So a movie like Fill the Void, about a young haredi woman, has as good a chance as any.
Meanwhile, London filmgoers will have the opportunity to view about a dozen recent Israeli films when the 16th London Jewish Film Festival gets underway on November 1. This year’s extremely varied programming list includes such recent Israeli films as Yossi, Sharquiya and God’s Neighbors. For the full schedule, go to The full list of European Film Award nominations will be announced on November 3, and you can expect to see several Israeli films among the nominees as has been the case in recent years. While these awards may not get nearly as much press as the Oscars, they carry a great deal of prestige in Europe and now include films that are widely shown in Europe, although they are not strictly European in origin. Rama Burshtein’s Fill the Void will not be among the nominees because the submission process closed relatively early. The Israeli films in the running are Nadav Lapid’s Policeman and Eran Kolirin’s The Exchange. Kolirin was recognized at the EFAs in 2007 when he won the Discovery Award for The Band’s Visit and lead actor Sasson Gabai won Best Actor for his role in that film. I would not be surprised to see The Exchange get a Best Screenplay nod, while Yiftach Klein has a good shot at a Best Actor nomination for his title role in Policeman. The awards will be presented in Malta on December 1. Like Eurovision, the ceremony moves from country to country.
Due to Israel’s hard-to-classify position in the film world, Israeli films also have a strong presence in the Asia Pacific Screen Awards, which will be given out on November 23 in Brisbane, Australia. Two Israeli films, My Australia and Off-White Lies, are nominated in the children’s film category, while in the documentary category, Five Broken Cameras and The Law in These Parts are among the nominees. Lior Ashkenazi received a Best Actor nod for his performance in Footnote. To follow these awards, go to
And speaking of Asia, the Hong Kong Jewish Film Festival is celebrating its bar mitzva year this November. Starting on the November 10, it will begin its 13th year of programming. It features the best in Jewish-themed features, shorts and documentaries, including films from Israel. The audience is about one-third locals, so it makes for an interesting mix. To find out more about it, check out the website at
During Hanukka, we can all look forward to the Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival, but until then there is more than enough happening on the Israeli film scene to keep film lovers busy here.