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April 14, 2011 1:34 pm

Israel Film Festival Celebrates Silver Anniversary

avatar by Maxine Dovere

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For 25 years the Israel Film Festival has enriched the American vision of Israeli life and culture through the powerful medium of film.  It is the largest showcase of Israeli films in the United States.  2011 marks the 25th anniversary of this acclaimed showcase celebrating Israeli cinema in the United States. Meir Fenigstein, the Founder/Executive Director of the Israel Film Festival, announced its most dynamic program to date.   Encompassing over 30 titles, including award-winning features, documentaries and television programs, the Festival runs from May 5 through May 19, 2011 at the AMC Loews 84th Street 6 (2310 Broadway).

This year, the IFF falls on Israel’s 63rd Independence Day.  The festival is proud to honor this anniversary with special programming.  Over a dozen filmmakers will join us from Israel for their films, festival Q&As and gala celebrations.

The Opening Night film is the New York premiere of Nir Bergman’s acclaimed film INTIMATE GRAMMAR, which recently won the Best Feature Film Award from the Jerusalem International Film Festival as well as the Sakura Grand Prix from the Tokyo International Film Festival (Mr. Bergman’s second Sakura Prize!).

The 2011 Israel Film Festival will begin its milestone anniversary year with a VIP Reception in the Edwardian Room of the Plaza Hotel, and then the participants will segue to the adjacent Paris Theatre for the Awards presentation and Opening Night Film.  The 25th Israel Film Festival is proud to honor Actor Liev Schreiber, 2011 IFF Outstanding Achievement In Film Award; and celebrated Producer/Director Micha Shagrir with the 2011 IFF Cinematic Achievement Award.

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Liev Schreiber is considered one of the finest actors of his generation with a repertoire of resonant, humanistic and oftentimes gritty portrayals that have garnered him praise in film, theatre and television. Included among his numerous independent and major studio films are SALT, X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE, THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, and, on Broadway, David Mamet’s “Glengarry Glen Ross” for which he won a Tony Award, and most recently “A View from the Bridge” opposite Scarlett Johansson for which he received his third Tony Award nomination.  Schreiber joined us at the 2008 IFF Awards when he presented the Outstanding Achievement in Film Award to his DEFIANCE director, Edward Zwick.  Micha Shagrir is credited with planting the seeds of the Israeli film & television industry in the 1960s. Throughout his career, Mr. Shagrir has remained faithful to the classical Zionist symbiosis between the individual and society, and has been guided by a desire to view the reality and myths of our lives in a sobering, critical and loving manner. He continues to be a conduit of Israel’s film Industry.

“We are proud and honored to celebrate these remarkable men,” said Fenigstein.  “They are creative thinkers whose artistry, vision, generosity and achievements are legendary around the world, but particularly in the United States and Israel.”

All Israel Film Festival films, except for Opening Night, will screen at the AMC Loews 84th Street 6 (2310 Broadway). Ticket prices for all regular films are $13, and $11  The Opening Night Film will screen at The Paris Theatre (4 West 58th Street) following a VIPReception at the The Edwardian Room at the Plaza Hotel.  Tickets will be available online beginning Sunday, April 17 at www.IsraelFilmFestival.com or call the IsraFest Foundation toll-free at 1-877-966-5566.

The annual Panavision Audience Choice Award for Best Israeli Feature Film will be presented at the IFF’s Closing Night presentation.  The award carries a state-of-the-art Panavision package worth over $60,000 for the director and producer to use toward their next film shot in Israel.  One of this year’s films, Avi Nesher’s THE MATCHMAKER, was shot utilizing funds he was awarded from the Panavision Audience Choice Award he received from the IFF for his entry in the 23rd IFF in 2008, THE SECRETS.

In the last two and a half decades, the Festival has presented more than 800 feature films, documentaries, television dramas andshort films to over 900,000 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 non-profit organization created in1982.  The 25th Anniversary festival is presented in association with the Government of Israel,  Consulate General of Israel in New York, Israel Film Fund, Rabinovich Foundation-Cinema Project, and sponsored in part by Bank Leumi USA, New York Post, Nu Image/Millennium Films, Cheryl and Haim Saban, Israel Bonds, El Al Airlines, and other corporations, organizations and individuals who believe in the importance of promoting Israeli culture in the USA.

The Festival’s mission is to showcase the finest new Israeli films in order to share with American audiences the country’s rich culture, diverse stories and modern Israeli life.  The 25thFestival Chairman is Arnon Milchan; The Honorary Committee includes Avi Arad, Mark Canton, Gil Cates, Michael Douglas, Richard Dreyfuss, Meyer Gottlieb, Dustin Hoffman, Lainie Kazan, Penny Marshall, David Matalon, Mike Medavoy, Bette Midler, Rob Reiner, Jane Rosenthal, Terry Semel, Nina Tassler, and many others.  Proceeds from the Gala Opening Night event will provide funds to support the IsraFest Foundation and scholarship funds at the top six film schools in Israel.

Intimate Grammar

Liev Schreiber

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