By Beverly Cohn
Israeli filmmakers, actors, directors, and producers, walked the red carpet at the beautiful Art Deco Saban Theatre at the gala opening of the 31st Israel Film Festival helmed by founder and executive director Meir Fenigstein. This year’s Festival Chairman is Adam Berkowitz, Co-Head of Television at Creative Artists Agency.
The evening kicked off with a sumptuous buffet along with a fully stocked bar where the spirits flowed freely. Following the “nosh,” the wildly enthusiastic guests filled every seat in the house. The official evening began with the requisite speeches, which led to the presentation of the 2017 Israel Film Festival Cinematic Achievement Award to two outstanding actors. American actor Jeffrey Tabor’s award was presented to him by award-winning Israeli actress Ayelet Zurer. Israeli’s award-winning movie star Lior Ashkenazi received his award from Mark Ivanir. Karin Eliyahu-Pery, Consul for Public Diplomacy, spoke on behalf of the Consulate General of Israel, Los Angeles.
Following the speeches and awards ceremony, the festival officially kicked off with a screening of “Ben-Gurion Epilogue,” winner of Israel’s 2017 Ofir Award for Best Documentary. Exquisitely directed by Yarv Mozer, the film is a compilation of found footage of an intimate interview with Ben-Gurion as well as other historic footage. It is a deep, compelling, fascinating look at a man of both sensitivity and un-daunting determination to create a homeland.
Over the last 31 years, the Israel Film Festival has presented over 950 feature films, documentaries, television dramas, and short films to close to a million film buffs and brought hundreds of Israeli filmmakers to the U.S. to introduce their cinematic work. The Festival is produced by IsraFest Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization created in 1982. This year’s Festival, which runs through November 21, will feature a wide array of films that will be screened at two venues – the Laemmle Royal, located 11523 Santa Monica Blvd., and the Ahrya Fine Arts Theatre located at 8556 Wilshire Blvd. A sampling of some of the films being screened include: “Antenna,” “A Quiet House,” “Between Worlds,” “Almost Famous” “Longing,” “An Israeli Love Story,” and “Mossad 101.” Since the line-up of films looks so exciting, making choices will be the biggest challenge.
To purchase tickets, contact IsraFest Foundation:
For program listings: www.IsraelFilmFestival.com