The 34th Israel Film Festival in Los Angeles, the largest showcase of Israeli cinema in North America, will be presented exclusively online for the first time this year from December 13th – 27th. Opening Night Film will be Asia, winner of nine Ophir Awards including Best Film, Best Director for Ruthy Pribar, and Best Supporting Actress for Shira Hass, who was nominated for an Emmy Award for her role in Netflix’s Unorthodox. Asia has also been chosen as Israel’s official selection for the International Film Category at the 2021 Academy Awards. This year’s Festival edition will allow audiences to virtually discover the very best of new Israeli cinema and rediscover old gems, including award-winning features, documentaries, past Ophir Award winners as well as Q&As from leading filmmakers and talent from each and every film, announced Meir Fenigstein, founder and executive director of the Israel Film Festival.
The Board of Directors of the Israel Film Festival has selected one of their very own to receive the 2020 IFF Lifetime Achievement Award: Meir Fenigstein. As the Festival’s founder/executive director, and a highly respected member of the Israeli film community (known under his stage name Poogy, the drummer of the legendary Israeli musical rock band, Kaveret / Poogy), it was solely through Fenigstein’s dream, vision, dedication and commitment that the Festival was born and has thrived to bring Israeli cinema to audiences around the world.
“As the world faces enormous disruption and loss, we are humbled at the opportunity to bring the simple pleasure of films and entertainment into people’s lives,” noted Meir Fenigstein. “While theaters are closed, THE MOVIES of this year’s Israel Film Festival offer audiences watching at home a chance to escape for a brief time into the wonders of great storytelling and captivating characters, and to recapture some past favorites.”
Sublet, directed and co-written by Eytan Fox, will have the coveted Festival Centerpiece position. This is Mr. Fox’s first English speaking feature length film, starring John Benjamin Hickey (The Good Wife) and Israeli actor Niv Nissim. The Hollywood Reporter called Sublet “a visually seductive love letter to Tel Aviv and its vibrant street life” after its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival.
To coincide with Fenigstein’s honor of receiving the IFF Lifetime Achievement Award and his 70th birthday, a very special showing of the Kaveret / Poogy Reunion Concert Film, shot in 2013 at two sold-out performances in Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park with over 100,000 concert goers in attendance, will be screened at the Opening Night event on December 13, 2020.
Laila in Haifa, Amos Gitai’s latest feature film which premiered at the 2020 Venice Film Festival in the Official Competition, will close the Festival with a special screening followed by a Q&A with Mr. Gitai, hosted by Richard Peña, former program director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York.
The Festival will also honor beloved actor, producer, director and prankster Yehuda Barkan, who passed away in October at age 75 from complications of the COVID-19 virus, with a screening of his last acting role in Love in Suspenders, a romantic comedy that shows that love comes in many ages. Barkan was a stalwart of classic Israeli comedy films and a master of practical jokes whose penchant for prank calls helped establish his career 55 years ago.
To purchase tickets for all online screenings / Q&As visit www.israelfilmfestival.com starting November 30, 2020.
Ticket prices are as follows: $12 for one film streaming; $40 for a bundle of four separate streaming tickets; $54 for a bundle of six separate streaming tickets; $85 for a bundle of ten separate streaming tickets; $180 for a Festival ALL ACCESS pass to all films and Q&As. Each of the films will be available in southern California for streaming during the Festival; check the Festival website to learn which titles will be available in other regions.
Among the highlights for this year’s 34th Israel Film Festival are two U.S. Premieres, eight West Coast Premieres, four Los Angeles Premieres, a sneak preview and encore performances of seven former Ophir Award winners.
All films will include an exclusive pre-recorded Festival interview Q&As with Israel’s most influential filmmakers and talent, each moderated by distinguished Israeli and American journalists:
- Africa – guests: Oren Gerner, director; Meir Gerner, lead actor; Maya Gerner, lead actress; moderator: Yair Raveh
- The Art of Waiting – guest: Erez Tadmor, director; moderator: Eran Polishuk
- Asia – guests: Ruthy Pribar, director; Shira Haas, supporting actress; Alena Yiv, lead actress; moderator: Annette Insdorf
- Aulcie – guests: Dani Menkin, director; Aulcie Perry, main subject; moderator: Tom Grater
- Baba Joon – guests: Yuval Dashland, director; Navid Negahban, main actor; moderator: Tom Grater
- The Band’s Visit – guests: Eran Kolirin, director; Sasson Gabbai, lead actor; moderator: Tom Grater
- The Cakemaker – guest: Ofir Raul Graizer, director; moderator: Michael Moshonov
- The Electrifiers – guests: Boaz Armoni, director; Zvika Nathan, producer and lead actor; Elisha Banai, supporting actor; moderator: Danielle Afori
- Footnote – guest: Joseph Cedar, director; moderator: Tim Greirson
- Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem – guest: Shlomi Elkabetz, director; moderator: Ruta Kupfer
- Golden Voices – guest: Evgeny Ruma, director; moderator: Katriel Schory
- Here We Are – guests: Nir Bergman, director; Shai Avivi, main actor; Noam Imber, supporting actor; Moderator: Kenneth Turan
- Honeymood – guest: Talya Lavie, director; Ran Danker, lead actor; moderator: Benjamin Freidenberg
- Incitement – guest: Yaron Zilberman, director; moderator: Yael Shuv
- Laila in Haifa – guest: Amos Gitai, director; moderator: Richard Peña
- Love in Suspenders – guest: Yohanan Veller, director; Michal Yanai, supporting actress; Nitza Shaul, main actress; moderator: Oded Grober
- Menachem Begin: Peace and War – guest: Levi Zini, director; moderator: Tim Greirson
- Murder at Cinema North – guests: Avida Livny, director; Yaron London, producer and legendary Israeli news anchor; moderator: Eran Polishuk
- Peaches and Cream – guest: Gur Bentwich, director; moderator: Oded Grober
- Poogy / Kaveret 2013 Reunion Concert – Meir Fenigstein, Poogy – drummer of the band; moderator: Dani Menkin
- The Prophet – guest: Ilan Rubin Fields, director; moderator: Oded Grober
- Sky Raiders – guest: Lior Chefetz, director; moderator: Katriel Schory
- Sublet – guest: Eytan Fox, director; moderator: Hannah Brown
Connect with the 34th Israel Film Festival on Facebook (The Israel Film Festival), Instagram @IsraelFilmFestival, and Twitter @IsraelFilmFest for festival news and highlights, and join the conversation with #IsraelFilmFestival.
The mission of the Israel Film Festival is to highlight Israel as the lively and innovative nation that it is, as well as to shine a spotlight on its thriving film and television industry, and enriching the AMERICAN EXPERIENCE of Israel’s social and cultural diversity. As an international entertainment industry event, the festival has brought acclaim to both the films and participants and has opened new possibilities for cooperation and co-production between the U.S. and Israeli film and TV industries. Each year, the festival explores Israeli society by premiering Israeli features, documentaries and television dramas, and through conversations with visiting Israeli filmmakers. Since its inception thirty-four years ago, the festival has created an exciting and artistic platform for engaging diverse audiences with the richness of Israeli life and culture.
For four decades, the Festival has presented more than 1,000 feature films, documentaries, television dramas and short films to nearly one million filmgoers, and brought hundreds of Israeli filmmakers to the U.S. to share their art. The Israel Film Festival is produced by IsraFest Foundation, Inc., a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization created in 1982. Some of the sponsors for the 34th Israel Film Festival include: Insync PLUS, New Regency, Rabinovich Foundation, The Wrap, Hollywood Foreign Press Association, The Diane and Guilford Glazer Philanthropies, Deadline, Miller Ink, Hanna & Bernie Rubinstein, Lamar Advertising, LAMOTH, New Mandate Films, Israel Film Fund, The Adelson Family Foundation, O.L. Development, David Weiner and Family, KJAZZ, KSURF, and The Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles, to name a few.