|2011 Festival Award Winners|
29 films participated in the Israeli competition this year.
This year, for the first time, there was a category for full length feature films. Seven filmmakers were nominated for Best Director in this category.
The jury of the Best Feature Director Award included:
Einat Glaser-Zarhin – Editor of feature films, television dramas, and documentary films; was awarded the Israeli Film Academy Award six times
Brigitte Bertele – German actress and director of feature and documentary films
Leslee Udwin – British independent film producer
Dr. Orly Lubin – Chair of the Department of Literature and of the Porter Institute for Poetics and Semiotics at the Tel Aviv University
Audrey Estrougo – French film director
Rachel Millward – Founder-Director, Birds Eye View Film Festival, UK
Winners and jury's explanations:
Most Promising Director Award, on behalf the fashion brand Bikaleh was awarded to Maayan Rypp. Maayan Rypp directed the short film Martha Must Fly.
“We'd like to reward a true originality and artistic vision. The director has her own universe, a sense of direction, and seems very determined to re-invent herself in every sequence. She definitely knows how to tell a story in images and how to translate emotions through it. Ma'ayan Rypp has a real signature, the first essential point for a director.
she is not afraid to cross the lines of accepted norms, to dig into the darkest corners of an oppressed woman's mind, and to let her act out her frustrations as well as live up to her dreams; this is a director who is not afraid to look deep into her character's soul, and fearlessly creates a complex web of contrasting images, genres, and worlds while still maintaining clarity in the way she tells a story, paints relationships, and builds up tension, never to be relieved.”
Best Short Film Director Award, on behalf of the Israel Film Council was awarded to Mor Yogev for her film Thicker than Water.
“Thicker than Water by Mor Yogev is a powerful and original film which deals with a taboo subject with an impressive delicacy. It is intriguing, thought-provoking and executed with tremendous poise. Rather than overwhelming us with information, it paints a picture with brush-strokes of suggestion, opening up a complex situation as much by what isn't said as what is. It is the great pleasure of the jury to congratulate Mor Yogev with the awarding of this prize.”
Best Documentary Film, in memory of Vicky Shiran, on behalf of the Second Authority for Television and Radio was awarded to Efrat Danon-Shalom for her film The Dreamers.
Efrat Shalom-Danon's The Dreamers is, first and foremost, a tremendously compelling story of a woman struggling to find an equilibrium between her profound commitment to her community and loyalty to her own individual creativity. Ruchama is a devout ultra-Orthodox woman who writes and produces her first film, intended for an audience of women only; she seeks and receives Rabbinical guidance, approval, and censorship, of which she is both appreciative and accepting but also too naïve to decipher the internal politics they are driven by. Through the tale of the making of a movie an entire world opens up – a world of women who juggle the triple role of mothers and home-makers, bread-winners – and dreamers; women who fulfill the roles assigned to them with love, true belief in their way of life, and a sense of membership in their closed, detached-from-the-outer-world community.
This documentary is special in the way it opens a new, different window into this community without criticizing nor embracing its tradition. It is a unique achievement in its portrayal of the complexity of the ultra-Orthodox world, usually portrayed as monolithic and degrading, by showing the tensions all parties in the community have to deal with and the amazingly varied forms of life emerging within it, bringing newness as well as divisions into its women's highly structured daily, familial, and communal life. It is a film which offers a fresh perspective of the life of women, who are, by and large, invisible; taking their own point of view, the film manages to shatter our pre-determined biases about their lives, exposing our own sin of participating in their erasure when we bulk them all together as oppressed and lacking self-reflection – while still exposing the sophisticated modes of gendered power-struggles.
Especially today, when the exclusion of women from the public sphere becomes the most contested issue on the feminist agenda in Israel, The Dreamers is an important contribution to our understanding of the complexity of our just demand for equal visual presence for women. Through its wonderful ability to tell a story and to give a voice – and an image – to these women, we learn to appreciate the needs of this community of "others," men and women alike; and we cannot escape, as we come to know them and admire these women's ingenuity, the demand to re-think our ways of supporting them.
In this day and age, The Dreamers is an eye-opener as much as it is thought-provoking. It teaches us again the already well-known lesson that our white, Ashkenazi, Bourgeois, and secular feminism does not address the needs and will of all women, even in our own society, which is, this summer's social protest notwithstanding, not a unified one; but it also makes our criticism of women's oppression under religious norms and legislation, and its fast-spreading rule over our own lives, more nuanced, more multi-layered. And it makes us realize that when we demand respect for our rights and needs, we should demand just as strongly the same respect for the needs and rights of others – whether they be ultra-Orthodox, migrant workers, or the most invisible, most excluded, and most oppressed – the Palestinians.
The Dreamers is the story of women who weave their lives out of the thick ropes tying their hands, together with the thicker ropes of their strength, creativity, and creative ingenuity. The Best Documentary Award, in memory of Vicky Siran – an amazing woman, true feminist, inspired filmmaker and a missed voice – and on behalf of the Second Authority for Television and Radio is given to Efrat Shalom-Danon in appreciation of her achievement as a filmmaker and her contribution to the feminist discourse in Israel.”
Best Feature Director Award, on behalf of Women in the Picture Association was awarded to Veronica Kedar for her film Joe + Belle.
Veronica Kedar is a filmmaker of assured vision and a unique style with a very distinctive voice and passion.
She created a persuasive and compelling world heightened by dark and absurd humor.
The film plays with clichés and is wonderfully subversive and full of fantasy and unexpected choices and narrative surprises.”
A special mention for a feature film was given to Noa Aharoni for her film By Summer's End.
“The jury would like to commend the film By Summer's End which was a charming and compelling family drama and had extraordinary performances by the young children and great production values.”
We would like to thank all our supporters and sponsors! Happy coming New Year and see you next year!
Explanations of the committee for the Development grant for The Mountain by Yael Kayam
"The world is fascinating, Zippora's character is touching and unique, and her encounter with the prostitute and her customers is thrilling.
The synopsis is very visual, wonderfully written and breathtakingly flows. The scriptwriter builds a comprehensive, fascinating and special world - the cemetery on the one hand and the inner world of the heroine on the other. The story is full of tension and loaded with feelings of the approaching disaster. The existence of longing for salvation, woman's sexuality and images of the saint and the prostitute - everything works and enriches the story. The script begins excellently and ends powerfully, and has a great potential. The fact it is based on a family that truly live in a cemetery is astonishing.
Mor Yogev - Thicker Than Water
Noa Aharoni - By Summer's End
Veronica Kedar - Joe + Belle
Ruti Rypp on behalf of Maayan Rypp