Each year, the Jerusalem Film Festival offers awards for the best Israeli films in a variety of categories.
The award for the best feature film is called the "Wolgin Award", named for the donor. This year, only 4 films were competing in the competition, and there was no question that the jury would choose Seven Days (Shiva), directed by Ronit Elkabetz and Shlomi Elkabetz – a sister and brother team. Set during the intense and claustrophobic atmosphere of the seven day period of mourning, the complex story is about a Moroccan family and weaves together family memories, financial crisis, and reconciliation. See my posting last week for more information: http://israelfilm.blogspot.com/2008/07/shiva-seven-days-directed-by-ronit.html
The award for the best documentary went to The Tale of Nicolai and the Law of Return, directed by David Ofek, which is a fascinating look at an illegal foreign worker and his status under the Law of Return.
Two awards for the best television dramas were given in memory of Anat Pirchi. The award for the best drama went to And Thou Shalt Love, directed by Chaim Elbaum, for his short film about a gay yeshivah student who is forced to decide whether or not his sexual preference permits him to remain within the Orthodox community. See my previous posting for more info: http://israelfilm.blogspot.com/2008/07/and-thou-shalt-love-fresh-look-at.html
The award for the best TV Series went to Arab Labor, directed by Rony Ninio and written by Sayed Kashua for their series about an Israeli Arab and his family. In portraying and poking fun at different stereotypes of Israeli Palestinian Arabs (such as the garage mechanic who uses stolen parts to repair his clients' cars), the scriptwriter is turning the tables and asking the TV viewing audience – Is this really what you think of us?
The title of the seriesrefers to two things within Israeli society -- the first is the historical imperative called "Hebrew labor" which meant that only Jewish sweat and toil should be used to build the nation; the second is a derogatory term meaning "shoddy workmanship." This series is is produced and broadcast by Keshet (one of the two companies licensed to broadcast on Channel 2) and distributed by the producer, Daniel Paran, email@example.com or from Hedva Goldshmidt at http://www.go2films.com/