Haredi director Burshtein wins two Independent Spirit nominations

Rama Burshtein's movie "Fill the Void" has been nominated for two prizes at Independent Spirit, the leading American competition for independent filmmakers. It will compete for both best first feature and best first screenplay. In the first category, it is up against four American films including Stephen Chbosky's "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" and Zal Batmanglij's "Sound of My Voice." Though Burshtein, an ultra-Orthodox woman, has made films for her own community for years, "Fill the Void" is her first feature for a general audience. It is the most widely viewed film in Israel this year, having been seen by 185,000 people so far. At the Venice Film Festival, its star, Hadas Yaron, won the prize for best actress. (Nirit Anderman )

Iraqi and Israeli to square off at Haifa poetry fest

Haifa's international poetry festival, Sha'ar, will feature 45 poets this year. Alongside the many Israeli poets, international guests will include Ismail Kadare of Albania, Nikola Madzirov of Macedonia, Ilya Kaminsky of Russia and Salah Al-Hamdani, an Iraqi now living in France. Two of the main events of the festival, which will take place December 13-15, will be an encounter between Kadare and Israeli author Sami Michael, and the screening of Yair Qedar's film "The Seven Tapes" about the poet Yona Wallach. This will be the festival's 12th year in operation. (Maya Sela )

Jazz Globus opens with focus on Israel and Europe

Jerusalem's jazz festival, Jazz Globus, opened last night and will continue through December 3. The festival, which is being held at the city's Harmony cultural center, encompasses a wide range of styles, but its focus will be on Israeli and European jazz. Performers will include the American singer Anita King, Finnish pianist Kari Ikonen (who will perform with Lenny Sendersky's Israeli saxophone combo ), the Swedish-Israeli combo Nybakat, the Swiss-Israeli quartet Modus, Julia Feldman's trio JAG and the Alliance Quartet. (Ben Shalev )

Castro fined for making employees work seven days straight

The Castro clothing company has been convicted of violating labor laws and fined NIS 57,000. In a suit filed in the Tel Aviv Labor Court in 2008, the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry accused the Castro store at Herzliya's Arena Mall of having routinely made employees work seven days straight, violating the law that requires a weekly day off. The court agreed and fined the company 80 percent of the maximum permitted by law. The verdict was handed down last week, but the court published it only yesterday. (Hila Ohayon )

MK Herzog to play self in 'Arab Labor'

MK Isaac Herzog (Labor ) will play himself in the fourth season of the popular television series "Arab Labor." After competing in the Labor Party's primary today, Herzog will spend part of next month being filmed for his role. The series' main character, Amjad Alian, is an Arab Israeli journalist, and the fourth season, which will air next year, will depict his comic experiences after becoming the MK's media adviser. The series is created by Sayed Kashua, who also writes a regular column for Haaretz Magazine. (Gili Izikovich )