First Festival in Israel for American Indie Films

The goal of the festival is to showcase 'cinema as a catalyst for social change.'

Nirit Anderman
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Nirit Anderman

“States of Minds,” the first film festival of its kind in Israel devoted to American Independent cinema, will open in Tel Aviv on August 25 and feature 12 movies from contemporary U.S. filmmakers. A variety of genres will be screened during the four-day festival: documentaries, short films and drama. The goal of the festival is to showcase “cinema as a catalyst for social change.”

The festival will focus on issues of social, environmental and political importance, with an emphasis on the challenges facing minorities.

Among the movies to be shown are “What Maisie Knew,” directed by Scott McGhee and David Siegel, which relates how a young girl, Maisie, reacts to the fallout of her parents’ divorce; “Disconnect,” directed by Henry Alex Rubin, the stories of several individuals whose lives become consumed by their use of communication technologies; and “Emperor,” directed by Peter Webber, about an American general at the end of World War II responsible for deciding whether or not Emperor Hirohito is to charged for war crimes and hung.

Among the documentaries to be shown are “Connected,” directed by Tiffany Shlain, the founder of the Webby Awards. The movie examines what it means to be connected in the 21st century from her own personal perspective.

The founder and president of States of Minds and the person behind the festival is Lysbeth Sherman. States of Minds is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., and says the goal of the festival is a “meeting of minds” between the U.S. and Israel, media professionals, filmmakers and entrepreneurs to inspire social change.”

The festival is being held with the sponsorship of the U.S. Embassy in Israel and a number of cultural organizations in Israel and the United States. “By engaging both the public and private sectors, States of Minds seeks to foster and promote positive social impact and a greater understanding of diverse societies among countries of cultural similarities and differences,” states the group.

Among the events is a discussion panel at a media and technology forum event, masters classes, film workshops and a film diplomacy event. The festival will be held at the Lev Cinema in Dizengoff Center in Tel Aviv, with screenings and events also held at other theaters including the Jerusalem Cinematheque, the Galil Park in Carmiel, the Beit Hagefen Jewish-Arab Cultural Center in Haifa, and the Israeli Center for Digital Art in Holon.

Alexander Skarsgard, star of 'What Maisie Knew.'Credit: AP

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