Art in the spotlight

The EPOS Festival features diverse and entertaining films on the subject of – what else? – art.

‘Our Last Tango.’ (photo credit: COURTESY EPOS FESTIVAL)
‘Our Last Tango.’
The seventh EPOS International Art Film Festival, devoted exclusively to the intersection between the arts and cinema, will be held at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art from March 16 to 19. There will be additional screenings at several other venues, including cinematheques and museums.
EPOS will show 50 feature films, both Israeli and international, along with workshops, master classes, special performances, exhibitions, competitions, lectures and meetings with festival guests from around the world. Micky Laron is the festival’s artistic director, and it was founded by Laron and Gidi Avivi.
The festival will open with Jill Nicholls’s Jeff Koons: Diary of a Seducer, about the controversial and much discussed artist.
The Written Word category has films for every taste, among them Douglas Tirola’s Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon. This documentary is about the magazine The National Lampoon, which prided itself on its irreverent humor, and its production company, which created radio shows, theater and movies. The theater company launched the careers of comic legends including John Belushi, Chevy Chase and John Goodman.
In a very different vein, Omri Lior’s Call Me Bullie, is a portrait of A.B. Yehoshua, one of Israel’s most acclaimed novelists.
Yaakov Lifshin and Roni Lipetz’s The Way of Man – A Film About Martin Buber looks at the life and legacy of the revered and still-influential philosopher.
In the Israeli Competition, Nurit Jacobs Yinon’s Nazareth Cinema Lady follows the struggles of Safa Dabour, a religious Muslim, to establish a cinematheque geared toward the Arab population.
Women’s Choir by Uri Rosenberg is about the celebrated Neve Shir Choir, which started as a children’s choir in the 1960s.
Guy Davidi, the Oscar-nominated director of 5 Broken Cameras, has a new documentary that will be shown, Mixed Feelings, about Amir Orian, an iconoclastic film and theater actor.
In the Theater program, Eero Penner will attend with his film Ash and Money, about an ambitious and unique theatrical project by Estonian theater troupe NO99.
Shay Harlev and Ron Katznelson’s Make Them Laugh, Make Them Cry is a portrait of the late acclaimed Israeli actor Arieh Elias, who had to fight an establishment that initially rejected him for his Iraqi origins.
Muse of Fire, by Dan Poole and Giles Terera, looks at how British actors go about performing Shakespeare, and features interviews with some of England’s most distinguished performers, among them Judi Dench and Jude Law.
Among the films in the Music category are festival guest Ayat Najafi’s No Land’s Song. Najafi follows the struggles of his sister, Sara Najafi, as she tries to organize a performance by women singers in Iran, even though solo singing in public has been banned there since 1979.
Phil Grabsky’s Concerto - A Beethoven Journey is about concert pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, who decides to devote four years to playing Beethoven’s piano concertos.
Everywhere and Forever: Mahler’s Song of the Earth by Jason Starr uses interviews with musicians and experts, as well as dramatic re-enactments, to explore Mahler’s deeply philosophical work.
In the Visual Arts category, festival guest director Mika Mattila from Finland will present his complex portrait of contemporary China by focusing on two artists of different generations: Wang Guangyi, one of the most successful artists in China in the last 40 years, and Liu Gang, a photographer whose work focuses on how brands affect modern life, and who strives to tell how China’s single-child policy has affected his generation.
Nomi Talisman, a guest and the co-director of Last Day of Freedom (with Dee Hibbert-Jones), will present the film, an animated documentary centered around a monologue by Bill Babbitt, whose brother, Manny, has been sentenced to death. Bill recounts Manny’s life story from childhood. The film was recently nominated for a 2016 Academy Award for Best Documentary – Short Subject.
Also in the Visual Arts category, Natalie Cristiani will attend the festival with her film, Nicola Costantino LA ARTEFACTA, a look at one of Latin America’s most important controversial artists.
The Dance category features A Ballerina’s Tale, directed by Nelson George, about Misty Copeland, the first African- American woman to become a principal dancer at American Ballet Theater.
German Kral’s Our Last Tango is about the partnership of two of the world’s greatest tango dancers, Maria Nieves Rego and Juan Carlos Copes, now in their 80s.
Russian documentary filmmaker and critic, Peter Shepotinnik, will serve on the Israeli Film Competition Jury with Israeli museums and culture adviser, Idit Amihai, and Ram Loevy, a director and screenwriter.
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