By MCN Editor editor@moviecitynews.com

ISRAEL FILM FESTIVAL STATEMENT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
7 November 2018

ISRAEL FILM FESTIVAL STATEMENT

For 32 years, the Israel Film Festival in Los Angeles has presented more than 1,000 feature films, documentaries, television dramas and short films to close to one million filmgoers and brought hundreds of Israeli filmmakers to the U.S. to share their art. Last night, at the opening of the 32nd edition, the Festival honored two highly esteemed filmmakers, producer Jason Blum and writer/director Avi Nesher, for their great contributions to cinema. Through their work, they entertain audiences around the world. Their artistic expression and opinions are their own and, fortunately, the U.S. protects their freedom of speech. While some may not agree with one’s point of view, many have fought and lost their lives for the very fundamental right to articulate their thoughts, opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation.

“Over the past three decades, we have never shied away from allowing a filmmaker or actor to express themselves either personally or through their work,” said Meir Fenigstein, the Festival Director and Founder. “We have often highlighted films that some may deem not to their liking or are controversial. We in no way condone violence but do wholeheartedly support dialogue that allows people to share ideas and viewpoints in a respectful way. Sadly, some audience members at last night’s opening greatly lacked that respect and turned an evening of celebration and recognition into something else.

“This is the first time we have ever experienced anything like this,” Fenigstein continued. “I am in total shock, but I realize that yesterday was a very tense day in America with the elections.”

A majority of the 1,200+ audience was respectful as Blum was making his remarks. To be clear, the Festival did not in any way remove Jason Blum from the stage. To protect him when an audience member in no way associated with the Festival charged the podium, the Festival security ushered Blum off the stage.

Festival screenings will continue to show at the Ahrya Fine Arts Theatre in Beverly Hills and the Laemmle Town Center 5 Theatre in Encino through November 20th. More than 40 films are scheduled to play the Festival and over 25 Israeli filmmakers, actors and executives are in Los Angeles in support of their work. Moviegoers are invited to explore the best of Israeli cinema at the Festival and discover and learn for themselves the stories and cultural expressions of others.

Connect with the 32nd Israel Film Festival on Facebook (The Israel Film Festival), Instagram @IsraelFilmFestival, and Twitter @IsraelFilmFest for festival news and highlights, and join the conversation with #IsraelFilmFestival. www.IsraelFilmFestival.com

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“Let’s lay it right on the line. Bigotry and racism are among the deadliest social ills plaguing the world today. But, unlike a team of costumed super-villains, they can’t be halted with a punch in the snoot, or a zap from a ray gun. The only way to destroy them is to expose them—to reveal them for the insidious evils they really are. The bigot is an unreasoning hater—one who hates blindly, fanatically, indiscriminately. If his hang-up is black men, he hates ALL black men. If a redhead once offended him, he hates ALL redheads. If some foreigner beat him to a job, he’s down on ALL foreigners. He hates people he’s never seen—people he’s never known—with equal intensity—with equal venom. Now, we’re not trying to say it’s unreasonable for one human being to bug another. But, although anyone has the right to dislike another individual, it’s totally irrational, patently insane to condemn an entire race—to despise an entire nation—to vilify an entire religion. Sooner or later, we must learn to judge each other on our own merits. Sooner or later, if man is ever to be worthy of his destiny, we must fill out hearts with tolerance. For then, and only then, will we be truly worthy of the concept that man was created in the image of God–a God who calls us ALL—His children.”
~ Stan Lee, 1965

“I’m more and more interested in Godard’s idea that not much matters except dealing with the present moment, that when you look at history, you’ve got to refract it through your awareness of the present. I mean, I’m interested in history, and here I am talking about biopics, but I don’t want to run from the present. And the idea of time-travel through CGI feels like a magic trick that might be an evasion of other issues. Besides, I like working with real actors in real spaces. Can’t help it.”
~ Michael Almereyda