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Shemi Zarhin’s Aviva, My Love will kick off 22nd Annual Israel Film Festival

Israel Film Festival Founder and Executive Director Meir Fenigstein announced today that Shemi Zarhin’s Aviva, My Love will kick off 22nd Annual Israel Film Festival as the opening night film at the Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood on March 7th. Over 30 films, documentaries, television dramas and series will screen at various venues including the Laemmle Sunset 5 Theaters in Hollywood, WGA Theater in Beverly Hills, Laemmle in Encino and Fallbrook 7 in West Hills. Additional titles are listed below. Tickets are $45 for opening night and $10 for all other screenings, and will be available February 23rd at

The most successful Israeli film of the year, Aviva My Love is the touching story of a hard-working mother with a secret writing talent. When a famous novelist takes her under his wing, Aviva learns about pursuing one’s dream in the face of brutal ambition and family obligation. Other titles include The Children of CCCP, Tied Hands, and Withdrawal From Gaza.

Also announced today, Gila Almagor, the “First Lady” of Israeli cinema, will be honored with the IFF 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award at the Opening Night Gala Award Dinner on March 6th at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, presented in conjunction with the Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles. Sony Pictures Entertainment Co-Chair and CEO Michael Lynton chairs the event, and as previously announced, his SPE co-chair Amy Pascal will be receiving the 2007 IFF Visionary Award that evening. The dinner is open to the public and tickets are $350 per seat.

Almagor’s acting career spans nearly five decades and her 40-plus films include Seige, Queen of the Road, and Steven Spielberg’s Munich. “For her many contributions to world entertainment, her immeasurable influence on Israeli culture, and her selfless charity work, the Israel Film Festival is extremely proud to present Ms. Almagor with the IFF 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award,” Fenigstein said.

Pascal was named Co-Chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment in September 2006 and has served as Chairman of the Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group since December 2003. She will be honored with the 2007 IFF Visionary Award for her achievements within the film industry as well as her continued support of Israel.

Additional titles screening at the 22nd Israel Film Festival:

Feature Films

Dear Mr. Waldman, Hanan Peled – In this funny but touching memory piece set in 1962, ten-year old Hilik’s survivor parents still suffer the ghosts of the Holocaust. When his father becomes convinced that his lost son (from his first marriage) somehow escaped to America to become President Kennedy’s assistant, young Hilik decides to test his father’s love at the risk of losing him.

Frozen Days, Danny Lerner – A stylish psychodrama in the tradition of Hitchcock and Polanski, Frozen Days follows Miao -- a sexy but lonely Tel Aviv woman who visits chat rooms when she’s not selling drugs. When tragedy interrupts a budding romance with her chat-mate, Miao assumes his apartment and his identity -- only to find delusion turn dangerously into reality.

Little Heroes, Itay Lev – One of the first children films made in Israel, this delightful adventure starts when a boy living in his father’s shadow meets a Russian immigrant girl with telepathic powers. After the girl senses a stranded couple in great danger – she, the boy, and her mentally-challenged big brother journey across the desert, where they gain a new friend, face their separate fears, and become a true team.
Love & Dance, Eitan Anner – Israel’s answer to Billy Elliot, Love and Dance is an irresistible film about a young boy torn between the conflicts of his Russian-born mother and Israeli father. When a crush on a beautiful Russian girl leads him to take ballroom dancing, our unlikely hero uses the Waltz and Cha Cha to bridge the culture gap of his fractured family.
Salt of the Earth, Uri Barabash - Four men in their late thirties are swept into a bold robbery from outlaws running illegal gambling operations. The iron-cast friendship that they formed when serving in an elite military unit, and which has grown tighter over the years since their enlistment ended, is now put to the ultimate test.
Sweet Mud, Dror Shaul – Israel’s entry to the 2007 Oscars® and winner of the Sundance Grand Jury Prize, this lush, coming-of-age tale spotlights a 12-year old boy caught between an emotionally unstable mother and the rigid equality values of their 1970’s kibbutz. As the mother’s progressive insanity forces her son into a terrible, life-altering decision, Sweet Mud will challenge and move you like few other films.

The Children of CCCP, Felix Gerchikov, WORLD PREMIERE – From the Israeli version of “Project Greenlight” comes Children of CCCP, an appealing drama about an immigrant gang of juvenile delinquents from the former Soviet Republic. When these “suitcase kids” put together a soccer team to compete in the local tournament, they must overcome rival gangs, town bureaucrats, the police and their own addictions.

Things Behind the Sun, Yuval Shafferman – Izhak Grossman hasn’t spoken to his father in years. Now the old man is hospitalized in a coma, Izhak’s 30-year old son refuses to grow up, and his rebellious, elder daughter struggles with her sexual identity. When Izhak’s wife exposes the family secrets in her paintings, the weight of reconciliation falls on tiny Didush, the youngest Grossman with the biggest heart.

Three Mothers, Dina Zvi-Riklis – Egyptian-born triplets Rose, Flor and Yasmin – once blessed by King Farouk in 1943 – now live together with their cloudy past in an apartment in Israel. This film is a remarkable story about memory, secrets, and the personal price that often comes when family loyalty is tested. Starring Israel Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Honoree Gila Almagor.

Tied Hands, Dan Wolman – A mother goes out on a desperate search for a little marijuana to ease her ailing son. In her turbulent journey in the streets of Tel-Aviv, old truths from her past come back to life and threaten to break down a wall of denials behind which she has been hiding all her life. Starring Gila Almagor.


A Hebrew Lesson, David Ofek, Ron Rotem - A variety of characters meet in a Hebrew language Ulpan in where their personal stories meld with the complexities of Israeli reality. The immense effort of learning a new language is revealed through their encounter with a strange culture and an unfamiliar environment. Israeli society is revealed through the foreigner‘s eyes. This gaze, at times funny, at times sad, paints our daily reality with irony. But beyond the obvious differences, the human common denominator of longing and love, triumphs time and again.

All is Well By Me, Yaron Amitai, Erez Tadmor – After emigrating from the U.S. as a 19-year-old kibbutz volunteer, singer Josie Katz went on to become one of the most important players in the history of Israeli popular music. “All Is Well By Me” chronicles the ups and downs of her extraordinary life -- from her highly successful ‘60’s music trio, The High Windows, to the psychological problems of her singing partner/husband.
Nadia’s Friends, Chanoch Ze’evi – Chanoch’s classmates growing up included children from many different religious and ethnic backgrounds. This documentary follows Chanoch as he tries to arrange a class reunion 30 years later, and finds many of his old friends have abandoned the principles they were taught in their childhood school and chose new, different ways of life.

Pickles, Dalit Kimor - Eight Israeli Arab widows, all lacking vocational training, decided one day to change their fate and to jointly open a plant for high quality pickles. They face numerous hurdles as the business struggles to expand to stores throughout Israel, while their personal lives reflect the joys and sadness of family weddings, bereavement, and loneliness, and some serious fun! Will they succeed in creating a financial independence for themselves and their children?

Storm of Emotion, Yael Klopmann – Selected to the top 15 documentaries for the 2006 Oscars®, Storm of Emotion follows the Gaza Strip “disengagement” from the perspective of the extraordinary Israeli police and army personnel in charge of the evacuation. An indispensible companion piece to Withdrawal from Gaza, this film reveals how not a single life was lost in what was otherwise an explosive situation.

The Darien Dilemma, Erez Laufer – This documentary follows a father and his filmmaker son as they explore an untold story of 1000 Jews stranded in the winter of 1941 on the frozen Danube.

Withdrawal from Gaza, Joel Blasbert, Oreet Rees – In the summer of 2005, approximately 8500 Jews were uprooted from their West Bank and Gaza Strip settlements as part of the “disengagement” process to secure peace with the Palestinians. This remarkable film documents this emotionally-charged political event where Jews were pitted against Jews, and no one came out a winner.


Kululush, Adler Nati - Set within Tel Aviv’s Iraqi-Jewish neighborhood, Kululush is about two brothers – Roni, the older, ex-soccer star; and Avi, hopelessly in love with a woman his grandmother has reasons to hate. When Roni returns from Europe, the secrets of their family tragedy are stirred -- and an agonizing chain of events begins that only the purer Avi can resolve.

Mortgage, Sharon Maymon, Tal Granit – Winner of the Drama Award for Direction at the 2006 Jerusalem Film Festival, “Mortgage” skillfully combines sly humor and sensitive character portrayal in examining how far a young couple will go in order to save their house from confiscation.

Pesya’s Necklace, Jorge Gurvich – This TV series follows eighty-year-old Pesya who tries to find a golden necklace, which was hidden by her and her sister before they were taken to Auschwitz.

Touchwood, Shmulik Calderon – An autobiographical look at the director’s personal story following the Yom Kippur War.

About the Israel Film Festival
The Israel Film Festival takes place March 7-22 and is the largest showcase of Israeli films in North America presenting the best new Israeli feature films, documentaries, television dramas and series, student films and a variety of special events and community outreach programs.

The program presents 35 films in various venues with multiple screenings taking place at Laemmle Sunset 5 Theaters in Hollywood, WGA Theater in Beverly Hills, Laemmle in Encino and Fallbrook 7 in West Hills. Tickets will be available February 23rd at The Festival will continue after Los Angeles, in Miami April 26-May 3 and in New York June 6-21.

Celebrating its 22nd year with events in Los Angeles, New York and Miami, the Festival is one of the major foreign film festivals in the United States. In the last two decades, the Festival has presented more than 700 feature films, documentaries, television dramas and short films to over 750,000 filmgoers and brought hundreds of Israeli filmmakers to the U.S. to share their art.

Past festival honorees include executive chair Tom Rothman, directors Norman Jewison, Milos Forman, Sidney Lumet, Penny Marshall and Arthur Hiller, producers James Schamus, David Linde, Laura Ziskin, Gale Ann Hurd, Michael Fuchs, Arnon Milchan, David Brown and Mike Medavoy, manager Bernie Brillstein, Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, author Eli Wiesel, news anchor Larry King, and many more.

The 22nd Israel Film Festival is presented in association with the Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles and sponsored in part by the Israel Film Fund, J-Date, The Ant Farm, The Ted Arison Family Foundation, The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, The Hollywood Reporter, Drissi Advertising, Security Couriers, Modern Videofilm, Media Arsenal, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Imagine Entertainment, New Regency Productions, Millennium Films and The Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles among others.

The Israel Film Festival is presented by the IsraFest Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization created in 1982.


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