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21st Jerusalem Fest opens with Kusturica

Lia van Leer’s 21st International Jerusalem Film Festival begins Thursday, July 8, with a traditional starlight screening against the backdrop of the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem.
This year the opening film will be Emir Kusturica’s “Life is a Miracle.” Kusturica will be a guest of the festival, as will British filmmaker Anthony Minghella, (“The English Patient,” “Cold Mountain”). They will both receive Achievement Awards at the inauguration of the festival.
Lifetime Achievement Awards will be presented to innovative cinematographer David Gurfinkel – honoring his 40 years in the Israeli film industry - and to Prof. Yaakov Malkin, of the Department of Film and Television at Tel Aviv University, for his vast contribution in the field of film education.
Throughout the duration of the eclectic festival - July 8 to 17 - over 200 feature films, documentaries, animated films, TV dramas, short films and experimental films from all over the world will take part in the largest and most prestigious film festival in Israel. This year, over 70,000 attendees are expected.
Awards to be presented at the Festival include the Wolgin Awards for local features, documentaries and short films, and The Jewish Experience and Spirit of Freedom Awards for local and international films.
More than 100 guests will be arriving from abroad, including filmmakers, directors, producers, film critics, festival producers and members of the European Film Academy.

Competitions for Israeli Films
* The Wolgin Awards for Israeli Cinema: 14 Israeli feature films, 14 documentaries and 19 short films will vie for these prestigious awards in three categories. Additional prizes will be awarded to best Photographer and Best Editing

* Drama Award in Memory of Anat Pirchi: Best Achievement in the field of Drama.
The dramas will be presented in two programs of four films each.
International Competitions
* The Wim van Leer in the Spirit of Freedom Award: International and Israeli films and co-productions dealing with issues of human and civil rights, social awareness and freedom of speech and expression compete for this prize which has both a feature and a documentary section.
Films competing in this category are:
“Abjad” (Iran), “At Five In The Afternoon” (Iran/France), “August Sun” (Sri Lanka), “Collaborators” (Israel), “Country Of My Skull” (UK/Ireland/USA), “Death in Gaza” (UK/USA), “Fuse” (Bosnia & Herzegovina/Austria/Russia/Turkey), “Hollow City” (Angola/France), “Map” (Israel), “Mur” (France/Israel), “The Passion Of Maria Elena” (Mexico), “Salvador Allende” (Chile/France/GermanyBelgium/Spain), “Social Genocide” (Argentina), “Witnesses” (Croatia), “White King, Red Rubber, Black Death” (Belgium).
* In the Spirit of Freedom Production Grant: A grant will be awarded to a work dealing with human rights and freedom. The winning film will be screened at next year’s festival.
* The Jerusalem Municipality Prize in the category of Jewish Experience: Awards for Best Feature and Best Documentary will be awarded in this section dealing with International and Israeli films reflecting issues of Jewish culture, history, identity and ethnicity.
There are seven Israeli entries and co-productions in the category of Jewish Experience, and seven International entries. The Israeli entries are:

Panels and Discussions
European Film Day: In honor of Israeli filmmakers being recently invited to become members of the European Film Academy, a conference of the EFA will take place on Tuesday, July 13.
Making Movies: There will be a meeting between Emir Kusturica and Anthony Minghella on Friday, July 9, moderated by Hillel Tryster.
The Annual Conference of The Israeli Documentary Filmmakers Forum: “Contemporary Feature Documentary – A Revolution?” Among the questions raised on Friday July 16 will be: Does the Israeli filmmaker think about the big screen when making a documentary? How is a feature documentary different from a documentary made for television?
Documentary Films for Children: A seminar on the occasion of the announcement of a new documentary project will take place on Friday July 9.
A Master Class with Marilyn Milgrom (script consultant and senior tutor for The Script Factory, the UK’s premier screenwriter’s organization): For screenwriting teachers and tutors.

Guests of the 21st International Jerusalem film festival are :
Emir Kusturica, Anthony Minghella, Fatih Akin, Chantal Akerman, Niv Fichman, Ludi Boeken, Anthony Bregman, Ademir kenovic, Jan Schutte, Simone Bitton, Robert Stone, Alan Gilsenan, Martin Mahon, Sam Green, Grigori Ludkin, Amos Kollek, Ulrike Koch, Michael Schorr, Paul Cronin, Yuval Ron, Menachem Daum, Emmanuel Benbihy, Ulrike Ottinger.

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