Israel is home to two major international film festivals that have been critically acclaimed throughout the years and have earned visits from directors, producers and many world class movie stars. These festivals include documentary films, short films and student films. The film festivals feature both new and well known films alongside films presented by directors hailing from countries lacking a developed film industry. These events take place in Haifa and Jerusalem while the Festivals are independent of each other and each is organized by a different organization. An amazing cinematic experience awaits those who will visit at the times these festivals are held.
Israel’s international film festival – a life in a movie.
The Haifa Festival
The Haifa international film festival was first held in 1983 and was the first of its kind in Israel. It is a well-respected international event that has built a vast reputation in the Israeli and international film industry. The festival is frequented by up to 300,000 visitors that join in to view at least 280 screenings of new films from around the globe, featuring films of all genres including nearly 70 new Israeli films. Many of the films in the festival are screened in the presence of their film makers which allow an often direct and immediate encounter with them. The festival lasts for ten days, in five halls along the Carmel ridge, throughout the day and until the middle of the night.
The festival is home to many premier screenings, films from many award winning directors hailing from more than 40 different countries. Many members from the International film industry such as directors, producers and actors take part in the festival, meeting the audience and Israeli industry dignitaries.
The 31st annual Haifa international film festival will be held during the Sukut intermediary days between 26/09/15 – 05/10/15.
The Jerusalem international film festival
The Jerusalem international film festival was first held in 1984. Since its first event the film festival serves as one of the most important platforms for presenting Israeli films and presenting international films to Israeli audiences. Every summer for the 10 day long duration of the festival, over 200 films are screened and a vast array of programs are held.
One of the highlights of the festival are the workshops that are held by renowned cinematographers from Israel and the world.
Since the foundation of Israeli cinematic awards in 1989 the film festival helps encourage, a spotlight on Israeli cinema. From its inception until today the various festival film awards and publicity has generated investments of over two million US Dollars to Israeli creators in such categories as student films, documentaries, short films, dramas and TV shows.
In addition the festival holds prestigious international as well as local contests, amongst which we find such prizes as for the “freedom of spirit” – a prize for films that deal with the relentless pursuit after freedom of expression and speech, human rights and social awareness. “FIPRESCI”, a prize of the international film critic association is awarded at the international film festival and has as its aim the promoting of the cinematic arts and especially promoting young talent and innovative films. The film award “Jewish Experience” is given to films that address such questions as Jewish history and identity. These events and more are what have turned this festival from an intimate gathering to an important Israeli cinematic event.