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Zurich Film Festival to offer new world view on Israel

It was announced today that the Zurich Film Festival (ZFF) has chosen Israel as the country of focus for its popular New World View series at this year’s Festival. The announcement was made today by ZFF Director Karl Spoerri.

Highlighting different countries every year, ZFF’s New World View series presents films from a country whose current filmmaking stands out in global comparison, opens new perspectives and broadens the cinematic horizon. From September 25 to October 5, 2008, the festival will, in the presence of industry luminaries, showcase young and powerful works of film from Israel.

This year, the 4th Zurich Film Festival is showcasing a diversified selection of exciting and exclusive Israeli fiction and documentary films. The series will be opened by the moving love story “For My Father / Shabbat Shalom Maradon” in the presence of director Dror Zahavi. The profound comedy “Noodle” will also screen in the presence of director Ayelet Menahemi. Dror Shaul’s coming-of-age drama “Sweet Mud”, Joseph Cedar’s anti-war film “Beaufort” (nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Foreign Film) and the documentary film “Three Times Divorced” by young Israeli filmmaker Ibtisam Salh Mara’ana are also included in this carefully assorted series.

Additionally, short films from two renowned film colleges will be presented on two evenings during the Festival. The presenting schools are The Sam Spiegel School Jerusalem (founder and director Renen Schorr will be present) and the film department of the Beit Berl Collage of Art (in cooperation with the Short Film Festival Winterthur).
The New World View series will be rounded off with Ari Folman’s animation “Waltz With Bashir”, an exceptional film which, balancing between fiction and documentary, caused a sensation at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. The innovative film will enter Swiss theatres on December 4, 2008.

The high quality of films coming out of Israel coupled with a nationwide celebration marking 60 years of independence creates a perfect occasion to put the emphasis on young Israeli filmmaking at the Zurich Film Festival. In recent years, Israeli filmmaking has distinguished itself with an incomparable thematic diversity, a narrative and visual density and a pronounced sensibility for the multi-ethnic state’s history and current social, cultural and political issues. ZFF’s New World View series will look beyond the stereotypes conveyed by the media and present a different face of Israel that draws a vital, partly self-ironic picture of the country.

Israel has generated a remarkable output of high-quality independent films, which have garnered attention at film festivals worldwide. Just last year, Eran Kolirin’s film “The Band’s Visit” won over the jury of the 3rd Zurich Film Festival’s international competition and was awarded the “Golden Eye” for Best Fiction.

The “new wave” from Israel is not a coherent movement or community, but rather a heterogeneous and contradictory generation of fresh and innovative talents, who are as diverse as the actual reality encountered in the multi-ethnic state. It is not just a short-lived trend committed to a single genre, but rather a cabinet of different narrating styles and individual perspectives on Israel’s cultural and political past and future. The films stand above the long-lasting political conflicts and are fuelled by a universal spectrum of topics.

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