Nony Geffen
Self-taught filmmaker Nony Geffen Photo by David Bachar
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Two Israeli films are headed to this summer's Locarno film festival: "Not in Tel Aviv," a film by Israeli director Nony Geffen and "The Pit," a short film by Itamar Lapid, will compete at the Swiss event this August.

Held annually, the Locarno festival is the longest-running film fest in Europe after those in Cannes and Venice.

Geffen, who has no formal film training, wrote, directed and stars in "Not in Tel Aviv" – a low-budget film that centers on a young teacher who is laid-off due to budget cuts and reacts by kidnapping one of his students.

An off-kilter love story develops, and after initially resisting her abduction, the student falls for Geffen's character and ultimately helps him win over his childhood sweetheart.

"Not in Tel Aviv" was produced by Itai Tamir with funding from the Israel Film Fund. It premiered at the Cinema South festival in Sderot, where it clinched first place in the category devoted to low-budget independent feature films.

Itamar Lapid's "The Pit" will compete in the shorts category at the Locarno festival. The film focuses on two radical youths who develop relationships with two migrant workers and confront their boss, who has confiscated some of his employees' passports.

Lapid's brother, Nadav, clinched the Special Jury Prize at last year's Locarno film festival with his film "Policeman."