'Waltz With Bashir' Director's New Flick to Kick Off Haifa Film Fest

Ari Folman's new film is based on a book by Polish sci-fi writer Stanislaw Lem.

Ari Folman's new film "The Congress," which opened this year's Directors' Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival, will also kick off the Haifa International Film Festival in September, it was announced on Monday. The film, portions of which were produced in live action with the rest in animation, will open the Haifa festival on September 19.

Folman received particular acclaim for his 2008 animated documentary "Waltz with Bashir." "The Congress" is based on a book by Polish science fiction writer Stanislaw Lem.

The film version features Hollywood actress Robin Wright, playing herself. Wright is presented in the film as an aging actress trying to sell herself to a studio that produces futuristic movies and which promises to duplicate her in perpetuity in its productions and grant her eternal youth.

The cast of "The Congress" includes Harvey Keitel, Danny Huston, John Hamm and Paul Giamatti. While the regular film footage of the movie was shot in Los Angeles and Germany, the animation was designed and produced in Israel using the same crew that worked on "Waltz with Bashir" - including animation director Yoni Goodman and production designer David Polonsky, who also designed the live action portion of "The Congress."

The film was produced by Folman and Eitan Mansuri with co-production from six European countries.

"The Congress" has been sold for worldwide distribution, with the exception of Australia and Japan, the film's production company reported.

It debuted in France at 110 locations two weeks ago, and is slated to begin runs in Britain, Germany and Belgium within the next month. The Haifa festival, which is under the artistic direction of Pnina Blayer, will run for 10 days, wrapping up on September 28.

"The Congress"