The Oscars’ foreign film entry from Israel this year will be “Fill the Void,” a work that reveals an inside perspective on Tel Aviv’s Hasidic community.
The movie automatically gained its berth for this year’s Academy Awards after winning the Best Feature Film category at Israel’s Ophir Awards on Friday, along with another six of the 15 awards given by the Israeli Academy of Film and Television at Haifa’s Krieger Hall.
“Fill the Void” had a remarkably strong showing for first-time feature film director and ba’alat teshuva Rama Burshtein, who is Hasidic herself. Her movie won half of the 14 awards it was nominated for, netting Burshtein awards for best director and best script, as well as best film.
“There’s been so many twists and turns, it just goes to show that it is all really up to God at the end of the day,” Burshtein told JNS.org right before leaving the Haifa venue to return home for the start of the Sabbath.
Lead actress Hadas Yaron also took home the Ophir award of best lead actress for her role in the film as Shira, an 18-year-old woman who must decide whether or not to fulfill the wishes of her family by marrying her widowed brother-in-law, Yochay.
Reacting to “Fill the Void’s” victory in the best film category, Burshtein said she “never thought this would happen.”
At a news conference earlier this month, Burshtein said the Orthodox world “is so interesting it does not need to cope with the secular.”
“It can be very interesting and the drama can be very strong inside,” she said.
While 10 Israeli films have been nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars, none have won the award yet. Last year’s nominee from Israel was Joseph Cedar’s “Footnote.”