Film festival season opens

A myriad of movies abounds throughout the country.

DOCAVIV: ‘A Perfect Housewife’ (photo credit: JANE BIBI)
DOCAVIV: ‘A Perfect Housewife’
(photo credit: JANE BIBI)
Once Passover ends, film festival season begins throughout Israel.
Documentaries have become increasingly popular in recent years. Docaviv, the Tel Aviv International Documentary Festival, turns 20 this year and will run from May 17 to 26. Docaviv is held at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque, but movies are also screened, for free, all over the city, including at the Tel Aviv Port, Jaffa Port, on city rooftops and Habima Square.
The festival features several competitions, among them the Israeli Competition, the International Competition, the Depth of Field Competition (for films that show “artistic ingenuity and daring”) and the Student Competition. Israeli and foreign filmmakers will be on hand to present their work, as well as to take part in master classes and other events. In past years, top documentary filmmakers in the world have participated in the festival, such as Alan Berliner and Ondi Timoner.
The festival has already announced a very varied slate of Israeli films. In addition, films by students from Israel’s leading film schools will compete in Docaviv’s annual Student Film Competition.
The fifth Reframing Reality Festival, a festival of films by and about people with special needs, will be held at the Jerusalem Cinematheque from May 28 to 31.
The festival program is still in the planning stages, but you can check for updates on its website ( The festival is sponsored by SHEKEL, a Jerusalembased organization that provides living and social services for people with special needs.
The Tel Aviv International LGBT Film Festival (TLVFest) will run this year from May 31 to June 9. The festival, which started in 2006, is held at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque.
The only LGBT film festival in the Middle East, TLVFest takes place during Israeli pride week.
It includes competitions for feature films, documentaries and shorts, as well as TLVFest meetups, seminars and workshops.
Recent guests have included Alan Cumming (The Good Wife) and Lea DeLaria (Orange Is the New Black).
The Cinema of the South (Kolnoa Drom) Festival at the Sderot Cinematheque will be held from June 3 to 7. The festival, which is sponsored by the School of Film and Television of Sapir College, features Israeli films, student films and international films that showcase the work of filmmakers who focus on subjects and issues that are often overlooked in mainstream cinema.
This festival has attracted many distinguished guests from around the world, such as Sergey Loznitsa and Albert Maysles.
The International Student Film Festival will run from June 10 to 16 at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque and other theaters around the city. It was founded in 1986 by the students of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Film and Television in order to promote the work of film students, as well as to enhance that work by bringing in established filmmakers to give master classes and workshops.
It features more than 250 films from over 70 films schools from all over the world, an Israeli competition, an international competition and other events. In addition to the movies, the festival sponsors concerts, art exhibits and discussions. Previous guests of the International Student Film Festival include filmmakers David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express) and Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist).
The Jerusalem Film Festival, Israel’s first and biggest international film festival, founded in 1984 by the late Lia van Leer, will run from July 26 to August 5 at the Jerusalem Cinematheque.
The festival features more than 200 movies from 45 countries and includes competitions for Israeli feature films, documentaries and shorts.
It’s too early to know what will be on the program this year and who the guests will be, but a list of previous guests reads like a Who’s Who of world cinema: Quentin Tarantino, Warren Beatty, Marcello Mastroianni, Robert De Niro, Roger Corman, Kirk Douglas and many others.
The Haifa International Film Festival will take place from September 22 to October 1. It features high-profile directors and actors from around the world and competitions for Israeli cinema.
Last year’s festival honored actor Brian Cox and has featured the world’s top directors, among them Andrey Zvyagintsev and Cristian Mungiu.