Being an Israeli in the U.S always feels like a significant privilege, that I can be, if only for a moment, an ambassador for Israel whenever necessary.

This month I participated in The Israeli Film Festival, which takes place once a year for two weeks in LA and once again I was allotted with the opportunity to feel tremendous pride in being Israeli; the Israeli projects and contributors were received with such admiration and love in the city of angels and within the international film forum in general.

The festival, which was founded in 1982 by Meir Fenigstein and had only screened six films at its emergence, has become a vital part of the local culture and is thrilling celebration of artists, filmmakers, actors, producers, and screenwriters of Israeli films and series in Los Angeles.

Today, in 2017, the festival, is successfully forming more and more relationships between Israeli filmmakers and filmmakers abroad.

Therefore, generating numerous connections within the field between little Israel and the big world.

Israel film festival LA

Israel film festival LA

Israel in Hollywood

This week was stuffed with several powerful events. It began with the opening event of The Israeli Film Festival, which was held at the Saban Theater. Among the glimmering artists that sauntered across the red carpet, were also Hollywood actors such as Jeffery Tambor and our own Lior Ashkenazi, Ayelet Zurer, and many other talents.

Ayelet Zurer introducing Jeffrey Tambor at the opening of Israel film festival

At the end of the speeches given by various speakers, the extremely moving film, “Ben-Gurion — Epilogue” directed by the talented Yariv Mazor was screened. The film contained a rare interview with Ben-Gurion at the age of 82(!!), captured five years prior to his death and five years after he resigned as prime minster, which had never been broadcasted before.

The film is exceptionally touching, it provides us with undiscovered aspects of Ben-Gurion, reminds us for an instant of the the beautiful Israel of the past, and what a special being Ben-Gurion was.

I attended countless film screenings. And seriously — each one moved me more than the next.

I’m unsure if this was because it was an Israeli cinema or I was thrilled by every screening because I live abroad, but it filled my heart with pride.

Even more so, I don’t know if its because of my familiarity and friendships with the actors, producers, and creators of the series and films that forged my strong connection the stories and works. And I’m totally undecided on whether it was because all of the participators were truly excellent, but in the end – every one of them rushed and excited me in a unique way.

Every work inspired me to do nothing other than write about them here, and recommend the projects to anyone who hasn’t had the privilege to see them, go see the following (unless they haven’t premiered yet):

Maktub's wonderful team

Maktub’s wonderful team

Maktub

The sweet and exceptionally talented Guy Amir and Hannan Savyon ushered to Los Angeles not only their incredible energy but also their film “Maktub” which is a hilarious crime comedy that they wrote and starred in. I saw the film at both premieres they had here, meaning I saw it twice!! I simply couldn’t resist the witty film.

With the gang

Azimuth

A spectacular film directed by the one and only Mike Bornstein with the exceptionally talented Yiftah Klein playing the main role and Sami Sheikh who portrays a supporting role.

The Film encompasses two soldiers during the Six-Day War, an Israeli and an Egyptian, who are caught in a U.N post in the middle of the desert on the last day of battle. Their chance encounter pushes them to face one another while simultaneously dealing with their inner thoughts from past experiences that  give them strength and value to life.

I won’t reveal the ending to those who haven’t yet seen it yet, but totally worth watching!

Yiftah Klein - Azimuth

Yiftah Klein – Azimuth

Fauda 2

 The first season of “Fouda”, I gulped at every turn as I sat in front of the screen mesmerized. I even saw the first season twice! The experience designed by “Fouda” is special and thrilling as it presents the constant conflict occurring between the Jewish faction and the Arab faction, while exposing all of the layers within both sides of the clash. The series, written by the endlessly talented Lior Raz and Avi Issacharoff, that electrified the entire country just a little over a year ago, was acquired by Netflix. The US got to enjoy the series as well, all due to CAA head, Adam Berkowitz, who brought the show’s excitement here and abroad.

Israel film festival

HaMidrasha

The “Midrasha” produced by the talented Uri Levron (whom I love!), Daniel Sirkin and Yizhar Har Levav. After the screening of the episode at the premier last week in Beverly Hills, there was a panel led by CAA head, Adam Berkowitz, the man responsible for actually purchasing the series through Netflix and sharing it with the rest of the world. The series illustrates the process of creating and participating in the training course used to organize the Mossad and goes into depth of the soldiers’ personal experiences and adventures. The series is spectacular and composed of incredible actors such as Tzachi Halevi (who also stars in both “Fauda” & “Midrasha”), Yehuda Levi, Yoram Gaon, and others.

Alon Abutbul- Harmon

Alon Abutbul- Harmon

Harmon

Alon Abutbul, known as the everlasting child, one of the most brilliant individuals in the Israeli Film Industry, plays the difficult role of the Goel Ratzon. Ratzon was convicted of committing dozens of sexual offenses against his 32 wives and was eventually sentenced to 30 years in prison. The series tells the narrative of Maayan, one of Goel’s wives which reveals the quality of life in “Beit Goel” and the relationships of the other wives. Absolutely Gripping.

Looking forward for next year’s festival already <3

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