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Movie makers who are heading for big screen success

Shedding a tear: a scene from DocAviv festival winner Waiting for Sunrise, directed by Vered Argaman

It's no secret that Israeli cinema is growing up. Its leap forward in quality is evident in the work of emerging Israeli directors studying the profession at Israeli film schools.

Held every spring at Tel Aviv's Cinematheque, DocAviv is the country's premier film festival, screening professional films from Israel and dozens of other countries. Among the most exciting entries at the 15th annual DocAviv festival were also the most unexpected – the six Israeli student films chosen to be among the one hundred featured documentaries.

DocAviv holds several competition categories: international prize, Israeli prize and Israeli student prize. The two top winning student films displayed sensitivity and largeness of heart unusual to meet even in full length professional movies.

First prize went to Waiting for Sunrise, a film about an 11-year old boy growing up in a working class family in Beersheba. Yuval's classmates exclude him and call him "Lady". For Yuval's identity is closer to female than to male. Although he suffers from the ostracism, Yuval holds fast to his preferences openly – keeping his shoulder length hair, putting on makeup at Purim, collecting lipsticks, dancing girls' dances. While Yuval's mother supports him without reservation, his father finds accepting his son's identity wrenching. Yuval's choices cause him pain, but also moments of pure joy and rejoicing. This gentle but powerful film explores the unexpected identity of an unusual child on the verge of puberty. It was directed by Vered Argaman, a 28-year old Masters' student in film at the Sapir Academic College in Sderot. 

The second place winner, White Mist, succeeded in its brief 12-minute duration in creating a powerful microcosm of a person's whole life. With lyricism and momentum, White Mist's drama portrays devotion and heartbreak. Directed by Itay Netzer, aged 28, a student at Jerusalem's Ma'aleh Film School, White Mist's subject is a classic one: a man's love for his dog. The film opens with an aging Russian immigrant living in a small solitary apartment. He feeds his beloved dog 'people food', and talks to him as to a person. Although limping, the little dog jumps with joy at the prospect of a walk. But the walk leads to the vet's office where tests reveal the worst. What began as a morning of company and happiness ends in wrenching decisions.

In their separate ways these two young directors find original story lines in mundane places to expose a universe of love, fate and the meaning of true love. Their names are worth remembering, Vered Argaman and Itay Netzer. This is only their beginning. 



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Sunday, 19 May 2024

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