Jerusalem Film Festival Sets Opening Night Film, Unveils Israeli Line-ups

·5-min read

The Jerusalem Film Festival is gearing up for a late August start, with celebrated Cannes title “Where is Anne Frank?” set to open the 38th edition of the fest.

Directed by Ari Folman, the animated film centres on Kitty, Anne Frank’s imaginary friend whom her diary was addressed to, who magically comes to life at the family home in Amsterdam and sets out on a quest to find her.

More from Variety

“Where is Anne Frank?” will kick off the festival at the Sultans Pool Amphitheatre, to an audience of 5,000, on Aug. 24. The event runs through to Sept. 4.

Elsewhere, the festival has also revealed its line-up of Israeli films. Altogether, 13 feature films will play in the two main Israeli film competitions. The total sum of prizes that will be awarded in the various festival competitions is NIS 1 million ($310,000).

The Haggiag Competition for Israeli feature films will include Hadas Ben-Aroya’s “All Eyes Off Me”; Orit Fokus Rotem’s “Cinema Sabaya” and Pini Tavger’s “More Than I Deserve.”

Meanwhile, the Diamond Competition for Israeli documentary films includes Nurit Kedar’s “#Schoolyard: An Untold Story,” Shlomi Elkabetz’s “Black Notebooks,” Julie Shles’ “I Said I” and Noa Aharoni’s “Not a Word of Truth.”

The festival will present special screenings for three documentaries (“Kosher Rehab” by Anna Oliker, “The Round Number” by David Fisher and “Women of Valor” by Anna Somershaf), 21 new Israeli shorts, 7 short experimental films, and a newly restored version of Uri Zohar’s “Big Eyes” (1974).

The full lineup will be announced on Aug. 8.

The competition line-ups are below (synopses provided by the festival):

The Haggiag Competition for Israeli Feature Films

All Eyes Off Me
Dir.: Hadas Ben-Aroya
Israeli Premiere | Sales: BFF

Synopsis: Danny is looking for Max at a party to let him know that she’s pregnant with his child. But Max just started a new relationship with Avishag and is trying fulfill her rough sexual fantasies. Truth is, Avishag actually has someone else in mind.

Cinema Sabaya
Director: Orit Fokus Rotem
World Premiere | Sales: Memento Films International

Synopsis: Nine women, Arab and Jewish, take part in a video workshop hosted by a young filmmaker. With each footage shot by the women, the group dynamic forces them to challenge their beliefs as they get to know each other.

More Than I Deserve
Director: Pini Tavger
World Premiere | Sales: Pyramide

Synopsis: Pinhas asks his single mother, Tamara, to join his classmates in preparing for their Bar Mitzvahs. Tamara, an immigrant from Ukraine, who resists religion, refuses. When the religious neighbor volunteers to help, the two form a strong bond. Gradually Tamara falls for him too. Will the idyll hold up?

Shake Your Cares Away
Director: Tom Shoval
World Premiere | Sales: Wild Bunch

Synopsis: Following the death of her multi-millionaire husband, Alma, a young widow is carrying a restless urge to help people in need. Her unconventional methods of philanthropy will bring her to a journey of self-discovery.

Take the ‘A’ Train
Director: Yair Asher, Itamar Lapid
World Premiere

Synopsis: Yishai visits his family in Israel and hope to figure out his future. He becomes closer to his younger brother, Omer, a free spirit. Yishai finds comfort in the crazy and surprising encounters from his past, but also must consider his own future and shaky relationship with Omer.

The Swimmer
Director: Adam Kalderon
World Premiere | Sales: m-appeal

Synopsis: Erez, a rising swimming star, arrives at a godforsaken training camp. The winner of the competition there wins one ticket to the Olympics. And then there is Nevo, beautiful and gifted, who awakens subconscious desires in Erez.

The Diamond Competition for Israeli Documentary Films:

#Schoolyard: An Untold Story
Director: Nurit Kedar
World Premiere | Sales: Cat&Docs

Synopsis: In 1982, during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, an Israeli paratroop company was ordered to guard hundreds of Lebanese war prisoners for 10 hours. “#Schoolyard: An Untold Story” is the anatomy of a murder – the step by step, blow by blow, memory by memory chronicle of a horrible moment in Israeli military history.

Black Notebooks
Director: Shlomi Elkabetz
Israeli Premiere | Sales: Playtime

Synopsis: A man learns from a Moroccan fortune-teller that his sister is about to die. Together with her, he embarks on a fictional journey in an attempt to alter the prediction, revisiting the past and the present to defy an implacable future. But the prophecy still shadows them, as in life, so in cinema.

I Said I
Director: Julie Shles
World Premiere

Synopsis: Suleiman El-Abid was sentenced to 27 years in jail for the rape and murder of Hanit Kikos, based on his confession alone. A few days after reenacting the crime he retracted his confession and has been claiming innocence ever since. Did he receive a fair trial or did the justice systems incriminate him to whitewash their own failures?

Not A Word of Truth
Director: Noa Aharoni
World Premiere

Synopsis: Dr. Rudy was an iconic psycho-guru and founder of “The Rudy Psychoanalytic Institute” – the largest in Israel during the 70’s. His controversial therapy methods forced him to fight for his reputation and the institute’s survival. His demise raises questions regarding abuse of power and moral boundaries.

Razzouk Tattoo
Director: Orit Ofir Ronell
World Premiere

Synopsis: Wassim Razzouk, the sole heir of 500-year lineage of Coptic Christians tattoo artists from Jerusalem, sets out to complete his collection of ancient wooden stencils before they are lost forever. During his journey he discovers that his family is hiding not only stencils, but haunting secrets.

Speer Goes to Hollywood
Director: Vanessa Lapa
Israeli Premiere

Synopsis: The implausible second career of Albert Speer: How did a man in charge of 12 million slaves become “the good Nazi”? A cautionary tale about his 1971 attempt to whitewash his past with a Hollywood adaptation of his memoir, “Inside the Third Reich.”

The Last Chapter of A.B. Yehoshua
Director: Yair Qedar
World Premiere

Synopsis: The story of AB Yehoshua, the greatest Israeli writer living today – who is dealing with a serious illness, widowhood and loneliness, but chooses love and embarks on his final journey. A rare and fascinating look at one of our beloved writers.

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting