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Films tie for top prize at Jerusalem Film Festival

CM 02/09/2021

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Two movies were tied for the top prize in the Haggiag Competition for Israeli Feature Films at the 38th Jerusalem Film Festival, when the festival awards were announced on Thursday.
The two films that shared the top award were Hadas Ben Aroya’s All Eyes Off Me and Tom Shoval’s Shake Your Cares Away. The movies are very different. All Eyes Off Me is about young people in Tel Aviv struggling to connect and focuses on four people, especially a girl who wants her lover to choke her. Elisheva Weil, the star of All Eyes Off Me, won the Anat Pirchi Award for Best Actress.  Shoval’s Shake Your Cares Away is a reworking of the Luis Bunuel film, Viridiana, and tells the story about a wealthy young widow (Berenice Bejo) who invites a homeless family to live in her beachfront mansion. Shoval’s first film, Youth, won the Haggiag Competition in 2013.

 Photo of girl with short hair sitting is from All Eyes Off Me (credit: Meidan Arama) Photo of girl with short hair sitting is from All Eyes Off Me (credit: Meidan Arama)

Ties are not unheard of this competition but they are unusual. This category is closely watched because past winners have gone on to get Oscar nods (Ajami), be adapted into Broadway musicals (The Band’s Visit) and screen widely around the world. 

The GWFF Award for Best Israeli Debut Film was given to Cinema Sabaya by Orit Fouks Rotem, about a video workshop for Jewish and Arab women starring Dana Ivgy. Cinema Sabaya also won the Michael Shvili Audience Award.
The Dalia Sigan Award for Best Screenplay went to Pini Tavger for More Than I Deserve, about a Ukrainian single mother and her son, who are befriended by an ultra-Orthodox man. 
Omer Perelman Striks won the Anat Pirchi Award for Best Actor for Adam Kalderon’s The Swimmer. 
The Aaron Emanuel Award for Best Cinematography went to Daniel Miller and Ziv Berkovich for Shake Your Cares Away. 
The winner of the Diamond Competition for Best Israeli Documentary went to Shlomi Elkabetz for Black Notebooks, about his collaboration with his late sister, actress/director/screenwriter Ronit Elkabetz. The Diamond Competition Award for Best Documentary Director went to Vanessa Lapa for Speer Goes to Hollywood, a look at the Nazi architect’s attempt to sell his life story to the movies.  
The Nechama Rivlin Prize for Best International Film, donated by Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, through the Jerusalem Foundation, was given to Compartment No. 6 by Juho Kuosmanen, about a Finnish woman fleeing a love affair gone bad who shares a train car with a Russian miner. 
The GWFF Award for International Debut was given to Amalia Ulman’s El Planeta about a widow and her daughter in Spain struggling to make ends meet. 
In the In the Spirit of Freedom Competition, where prizes are given to films that deal with human-rights issues, the Cummings Award for a Feature Film was given to Unclenching the Fists by Kira Kovalenko, about a young woman in a former mining town in Ossetia, which won the Un Certain Regard prize at the Cannes Film Festival. The MKR Award for Best Documentary went to Christophe Cognet’s Where They Stood, a look at how concentration camp inmates managed to take and preserve photographs. 
Sergey Loznitsa’s Babi Yar. Context, which tells the story of the infamous massacre of over 30,000 Jews, through archival footage, won the Chantal Akerman Award, courtesy of the Ostrovsky family, for experimental documentaries.
Prizes given to the winners totaled about NIS 1 million. The film festival continues through September 4 at the Jerusalem Cinematheque.  

Source: Jerusalem Post

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