Israeli films to premiere at Tribeca Film Festival in April

The International Narrative Competition is a section of the festival where Israeli films have always done well and two of the 10 films are from Israel this year.

Niv Nissim (left) and John Benjamin Hickey (photo credit: DANIEL MILLER)
Niv Nissim (left) and John Benjamin Hickey
(photo credit: DANIEL MILLER)
Three Israeli films will have their world premieres at the 19th Tribeca Film Festival, which will take place in downtown Manhattan from April 15-26.
The International Narrative Competition is a section of the festival where Israeli films have always done well, and two of the 10 films are from Israel this year. Eytan Fox will be returning to Tribeca for the fourth time with Sublet (full disclosure: I was a script editor on the film).
The movie tells the story of a gay New York Times travel writer who comes to Tel Aviv after suffering a tragedy. The energy of the city and his relationship with a younger man who becomes his tour guide bring him back to life. The writer is played by Tony-Award actor John Benjamin Hickey who played Neil Gross on The Good Wife, and who just starred in the acclaimed play The Inheritance on Broadway and in London. The younger man is played by Niv Nissim in his professional debut.
Fox’s 2002 film, Yossi & Jagger, a groundbreaking movie about two male IDF soldiers who are in love, won the Best Actor Award at the 2003 festival for its star, Ohad Knoller. His 2006 film The Bubble was shown at Tribeca, and in 2012, Yossi, the sequel to Yossi & Jagger, was the opening film of the competition.
The other Israeli film in this competition is Asia, the feature-film debut of writer/director Ruthy Pribar. It tells the story of a free-spirited mother whose open-mindedness is put to the test when her teenage daughter, who happens to be differently abled, announces that she’s ready to lose her virginity. It stars Alena Yiv who was in the series Blue Natalie, and Shira Haas from Shtisel.
In addition, the Japanese feature film in this competition, Ainu Mosir, directed and written by Takeshi Fukunaga, was developed at the Sam Spiegel International Film Lab in Jerusalem.
Talya Lavie’s Zero Motivation won the International competition in 2014, and her latest feature, Honeymood, will be shown in the Viewpoints section. The film starts where most rom-coms end, on a couple’s wedding night, and it follows them as they embark on a surreal urban odyssey through Jerusalem. The movie stars Ran Danker (Eyes Wide Open) and Avigail Harari (The Other Story). Honeymood was recently acquired for international distribution for WestEnd Films.
Pribar and Lavie are both graduates of the Jerusalem Sam Spiegel Film School.
A number of documentaries with Jewish and Israeli themes will be shown. Laura Gabbert’s Ottolenghi and the Cakes of Versailles will be shown in the Spotlight Documentary section. It follows Israel-born celebrity chef Yotam Ottolenghi as he assembles a team of pastry chefs to put on a Versailles-themed culinary gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Helmut Newton: the Bad and the Beautiful, directed and written by Gero von Boehm, a portrait of the provocative and acclaimed German Jewish photographer, will also be shown in Spotlight Documentary, as will Gregory Monro’s Kubrick by Kubrick.

Tribeca has always been extremely welcoming to Israeli filmmakers. In 2018, Joy Rieger won the Best Actress Award for Keren Ben Rafael’s Virgins, and in 2007, David Voloch’s My Father My Lord starring Assi Dayan won the Best International Narrative Competition. In addition to prizes, a great many Israeli films shown at Tribeca found US distributors.
The festival was founded in 2002 by Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro and Craig Hatkoff, in part to try to revitalize New York City’s downtown area following the 9/11 attack.
The festival website is tribecafilm.com/festival.


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