The 35th ISRAEL FILM FESTIVAL in Los Angeles, the biggest showcase of Israeli film and television in North America, is taking place both in theaters and virtually from May 5-26 this year. The festival’s opening night film on May 5 is critically acclaimed director Avi Nesher’s Image of Victory, nominated for 15 Ophir Awards; the evening also serves to celebrate Israel’s Independence Day. With top Israeli filmmakers and talent in attendance for post-screening Q&As, this year’s Festival will feature five US premieres, six West Coast premieres and 14 Los Angeles premieres among the 30 feature films, documentaries and award-winning short films, announced Meir Fenigstein, founder and executive director of the ISRAEL FILM FESTIVAL in Los Angeles.
“I am thrilled that the Israel Film Festival in Los Angeles is back for audiences to celebrate and support Israeli films and their talented filmmakers. We hope this 35th edition will be an exciting new beginning to continue bringing the best of culture Israeli in Los Angeles,” Fenigstein noted.
Opening Night, the Los Angeles premiere of the highly anticipated Image of Victory directed by Nesher, will take place May 5 at the Saban Theater (Beverly Hills). All other Festival screenings will take place at the Music Hall Theater at Lumiere Cinema (Beverly Hills) and Laemmle Town Center 5 (Encino).
To purchase tickets for the May 5 Opening Night Gala and all in-person and online screenings/Q&As, visit: www.israelfilmfestival.com starting April 26, 2022 or call 310-247-1800. Ticket prices are as follows: Opening Night: $85/person (includes opening night red carpet arrival, VIP reception, screening and post-dessert reception); $36/person (includes opening night screening and post-dessert reception); regular festival screenings: $15/person; $13/person for students and seniors; $180/person for the package of all regular screenings and scheduled Q&A sessions with the filmmakers. For virtual screenings (which are strictly limited to the Southern California region), the cost is $10. for a movie streaming ticket; $36. for a bundle of four separate streaming tickets; $48. for a bundle of six separate streaming tickets; $75. for a bundle of ten separate streaming tickets.
Highlights from this year’s 35th ISRAEL FILM FESTIVAL in Los Angeles include:
Berenshtein – In this thrilling journey into the depths of the soul, the last surviving member of the Great Followers who located Hitler’s secret weapon, the V2 Missile Development Facility, revisits his past as a soldier in World War II world. Diving into his traumatic memories, he is forced to deal with the dissociation and loss of identity that followed the war. Despite this adversity, it becomes clear that he is able to stay true to his values through it all. Based on the true story of Leonid Berenshtein.
Cinéma Sabaya – This film follows nine women, Arab and Jewish, who take part in a video workshop led by a young director who teaches them to document their lives. With each raw home-made footage shot by the women and shared with others, the group dynamic forces them to question their views and beliefs as they get to know each other better and better.
Greener Pastures – In this hilarious story, a grumpy, cash-strapped, retired widower reluctantly resides in a nursing home, learns that many of his fellow nursing home residents are marijuana users medical. He soon embarks on a new business venture as a cannabis dealer. When his business attracts the attention of both the police and a local street gang, he must decide if he’s willing to risk it all for what really matters to him.
Here We Are – Winner of four Ophir Awards including Best Director, Actor, Supporting Actor and Screenplay, this is the harrowing story of a man who has dedicated his life to raising his young adult son with autism. Together they live in a gentle routine, far from the real world until the son prepares to move into a special institution to start learning to live semi-independently. As they head to this new home, the father decides to run away with his son and hits the road, knowing that the son is not ready for this separation. Or is it, in fact, his father who is not ready?
Image of Victory – Considered Israel’s biggest-budget film to date, the film is based on true events that took place in 1948. Hassanin, an Egyptian filmmaker, is tasked with documenting a raid on isolated Kibbutz Nitzanim. When the kibbutz learns of an impending military raid, Mira, a young but valiant mother, is forced to consider the true cost of war and make an impossible choice.
More Than I Deserve – An award-winning film filled with deep emotions, the story of a young boy who asks his single mother, who resists religion, if he can join his classmates in preparing their Bar Mitzvah. She refuses. A religious neighbor volunteers to help the child and the two form a strong bond. Little by little the mother falls in love with him but will their idyll last?
Plan A – Based on real events and set in Germany in 1945, the film centers on a Holocaust survivor who encounters a group of Jewish vigilantes. Together they develop a plan to take monstrous revenge against the German people for the Holocaust: poisoning the water system in Germany and killing six million Germans. The film is based on the book “Nakam” by Israeli historian Dina Porat.
Queen Shoshana – An acclaimed documentary about the legendary life story of Shoshana Damari, the internationally acclaimed singing superstar who became an icon and a national treasure.
Saving Shuli – A record-breaking Israeli box office comedy, the film tells the story of three friends who travel to Colombia to save one of their sons, who has been kidnapped by a drug lord.
Summer Nights – Winner of the Ophir Award for Best Documentary, this beautifully sensitive film offers a window into the world seen through the eyes of a six-year-old boy. It’s a journey into the subconscious of an innocent, ingenuous child who falls asleep and drifts into the depths of his own mind.
Select screenings will include exclusive post-screening interviews with Israel’s most influential filmmakers and talents, each moderated by prominent Israeli and American journalists. Among the filmmakers and talents expected are:
Actor Michael Aloni, Plan A
Producer Ronen Machlis Balzam, Berenshtein
Producer Ehud Bleiberg, Image of Victory and Riding with a Spy
Actress Anna Doubrovitsky, More Than I Deserve
Actor Omer Hazan, Don’t Wait For Me
Director Yair Qedar, The Fourth Window and The Last Chapter of AB Yehoshua
Actress Agam Schuster, Two