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’FUTURE LASTS FOREVER,’ film by Ozcan Alper.(Photo by: Courtesy)
Its richest roster yet
Go South, movie lovers, to the Cinema of the South Festival at the Sderot Cinematheque.
The Cinema of the South Festival in Sderot, which will run from June 2-6 at the Sderot Cinematheque, is one of the most interesting and original festivals in Israel, and this year it offers its richest program ever.

Sponsored by Sapir College, this year’s festival will host documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles, one of the pioneers of the documentary movement in the US and one of the most acclaimed filmmakers in the world. Maysles, who began his career collaborating with his brother, David, has made dozens of documentaries, among them Salesman , Grey Gardens (the story of eccentric cousins of Jacqueline Onassis, which inspired a recent HBO drama), Gimme Shelter (the ultimate Rolling Stones film), When We Were Kings (a documentary about Muhammad Ali’s heavyweight title fight in Zaire in 1974) and many others.

He will present a retrospective of his films at the festival. In addition to the retrospective, he will hold a master class, an event that aspiring filmmakers from all over the country won’t want to miss.

Another guest from abroad is Jennifer Getzinger, one of the directors of Mad Men , the critically acclaimed and wildly successful American TV series about the advertising industry in the 1960s. Getzinger will give a master class that will be open to the public and will also give a workshop for directing students.

Avner Faingulernt, the head of the School of Arts at Sapir and the festival director, says, “The Cinema of the South Festival is held in one of the most charged and fascinating environments in the Middle East, between the towns of immigrants and veterans from North Africa, living alongside immigrants from the Caucasus and Ethiopia, the kibbutzim established by immigrants from South America alongside nomadic Beduin communities, next to Gaza.”

The Cinema of the South Festival transcends strict geographical boundaries to present the latest in Middle Eastern cinema, as well as international films that spotlight the culture of the Southern hemisphere.

There will be tributes to Argentine cinema and Turkish cinema. Among the guests will be Marcelo Panozzo, the artistic director of the Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente; Martin Rejtman and Santiago Mitre, two Argentine directors; Ozcan Alper, a leading Turkish feature film director; and Yelda Yanat Kapkin, an acclaimed Turkish documentary filmmaker.

The festival will open with the film Aravani (a combination of the Hebrew words for “Arab” and “I”).

Directed by Adi Adwan, it tells the story of a Druse man who returns to his village after a 17-year estrangement with his son and daughter from his Jewish ex-wife.

This film is one of several premieres of recent Israeli movies.

The festival will feature 20 new Israeli films, including features, shorts, documentaries and student films, most of them premieres.

There will also be a program of new Israeli documentaries as a tribute to the memory of Israeli/Palestinian actor/director Juliano Mer Khamis, who was gunned down by extremists.

Among the many special programs at the festival will be a tribute to Uri Zohar, the most important Israeli director during the 1960s and ‘70s, the early years of the Israeli film industry.

Starting out in sketch comedy, at which he was brilliant, he began directing comedies, such as the outrageous Peeping Toms (with his friend and collaborator, singer Arik Einstein) and moved into drama, including Three Days and a Child , an adaptation of the A.B.

Yehoshua novella. Younger audiences may not recognize his name, since he ended his own career abruptly when he became ultra-Orthodox. The festival will present lectures and screenings of his early works, and Zohar himself will make an appearance to discuss some of the films he made since becoming observant.

The closing film will be Avi Nesher’s The Wonders , his latest movie. Although The Wonders is set in Jerusalem, Nesher has enjoyed a special relationship with the festival since his 2004 movie Turn Left at the End of the World , which was set in the Negev, premiered there. It was the first film Nesher had made in Israel in almost 20 years, and the fact that the acclaimed director chose to premiere it there gave a stamp of approval to the fledgling festival.

For more information about the festival and to order tickets, go to
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