'A Dancer, a Pole and a Movie’ Wins Best Israeli Film at DocAviv Festival

Danish film 'Searching for Bill' wins top prize at the Tel Aviv International Documentary Film Festival.

“A Dancer, a Pole and a Movie,” directed by Isri Halpern, won the award on Wednesday for best Israeli film at DocAviv, the Tel Aviv International Documentary Film Festival. The top prize in the international competition went to Danish helmer Jonas Rasmussen for his film “Searching for Bill.”

Halpern was awarded NIS 70,000 for “A Dancer, a Pole and a Movie,” which documents the life of Neta Lee Levy, the founder of Israel’s first pole-dancing studio, as she competes for the 2011 European title. What Halpern discovers is an outspoken and frank woman who challenges societal and cultural norms, and proves that a woman clad in a bikini and heels can be made of championship material.

The documentary “takes the audience and its protagonist on a surprising journey, introducing a heroine who refuses to compromise. The film avoids cliches and presents, with extraordinary honesty, a complex female character, striving courageously toward her truth,” the judges said.

“Super Women,” directed by Yael Kipper and Ronen Zaretzky, won honorable mention ‏(NIS 20,000‏) and best cinematography ‏(NIS 4,000‏) in the Israeli category. The film offers a glimpse into the lives of five cashiers who share a shift at a Tel Aviv supermarket. The film looks at their relationships, their daily struggle to make ends meet, their love lives and their deepest secrets − all as revealed during their cigarette breaks over the last two years. “Super Women” is at its heart a film about solidarity, support, and the struggle to survive in the face of unbearable hardships.

The movie “opens our eyes to the world we pass through every day without noticing it,” the judges said.

The cinematography prize in the Israeli category went to the director of photography for “Super Women,” Avigail Sperber.

“The Lab,” directed by Yotam Feldman, won the NIS 30,000 prize for best Israeli debut film. The documentary shows how Israel has emerged in the last decade as an international powerhouse when it comes to the export of arms and military knowhow, amassed and tested during the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
A NIS 4,000 editing prize in the Israeli category was awarded to the editors of “Dancing in Jaffa”, Bob Eisenhardt and Philip Shane. The movie, directed by Hilla Medalia, is about international ballroom dancer and instructor Pierre Dulaine, who believes dance can bridge social and cultural differences, and who runs a project that brings Jewish and Arab children together in his hometown of Jaffa.

Researchers Michal Aviad and Tamar Katz were awarded the research prize in the Israeli category for the film “Pioneer Women,” directed by Aviad.

Danish director Jonas Rasmussen’s “Searching for Bill,” which won the best international film award, is an impressionistic cinematic journey across America in search of mysterious serial con artist named Bill.

The judges gave a special “LOL” ‏(Laughing Out Loud‏) prize to the Israeli movie “Handa Handa 4,” directed by David Ofek and Neta Shoshani. The film follows Ronen and Orit, both from respected Bukhari families, who refuse to marry despite pressure from their families.

Ofek and Shoshani were given the prize “for achieving the impossible and turning a documentary film into a comedy, which made the panel laugh out loud again and again,” the judges said.