The Cinematheque Jerusalem Film Festival is Just the Beginning

Organizers of the Cinematheque Jerusalem Film Festival are now busy reviewing submissions from around the world for the annual festival, which is scheduled for July. Since 1974, the Jerusalem Film Center, also known as the Cinematheque, has organized the Jerusalem Film Festival each year. The film center and the festival were first established and organized by Lia Van Leer, who immigrated to Israel from Romania as a teenager during World War II, and was one of the founders of Israeli film. Lia, who passed away at the age of 90 in 2015, also, along with her husband, Wim Van Leer, founded the Haifa Cinematheque.  

The first festival was held in the film center’s original location in Beit Agron, a historic building in the city center, and featured more than 100 films from around the world, as well as well-known guests like actor and director Warren Beatty and actress Lillian Gish.

The World is Watching the Cinematheque Jerusalem Film Festival 

The festival then grew in prominence throughout the 1980s, when the current Cinematheque building was constructed in the Ben Hinnom valley, offering sweeping views of Jerusalem’s Old City. In addition to the festival, which continues to expand each year, the Cinematheque maintains an archive of all Israeli-made films and offers regular movie screenings along with other film festivals and events throughout the year. 

The Cinematheque Jerusalem Film Festival now involves several venues around the city, and screens up to 200 films each July. Every year, The Inbal is one of the sponsors of the festival, and is hosting the VIPs from both abroad and from within Israel.

Israel’s Growing Role in Global Arts and Entertainment Production

Although the Cinematheque Jerusalem Film Festival remains at the heart of Israel’s art and cultural scene, giving prestigious annual awards to local filmmakers each year, Israel has also emerged as a global powerhouse when it comes to video production. In recent years, several Israeli series, including action thriller Fauda, and Shtisel, a drama about a Jerusalem ultra-Orthodox family, have become top shows on Netflix. Now, the world is eagerly awaiting for season two of the family drama The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem, to be subtitled in English and join the first season, from 2022, on Netflix. And those are only a few examples of Israeli shows that have gone global.

 

Israel has become a “content nation,” Fauda star and writer Lior Raz, who recently spoke at OurCrowd, Israel’s largest global investor and tech conference. The same spirit of creativity and entrepreneurship that led to Israel becoming a Start-Up Nation in the tech sector, are now propelling its entertainment sector into the global spotlight. The country’s complicated cultural and political situation also influence the production of TV series, films and other content, resulting in riveting shows and films that deeply explore relationships and events, according to Gitit Levy-Paz, a professor who has researched Israel’s growing arts and entertainment sector.

Information about the 2023 Cinematheque Jerusalem Film Festival, scheduled for July 13-23, will be posted here as it becomes available. For more information about the Cinematheque, including daily film screenings and special events, visit its website.

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