The film "Ajami," directed by Yaron Shani and Scandar Copti, won the Wolgin Prize for best feature film at the 2009 Jerusalem Film Festival, which closed on Saturday night. The awards for this and the other competitions were announced a Friday-afternoon ceremony beneath the Jerusalem Cinematheque.
"Ajami," which also won a certificate of distinction in the Camera d'Or competition at last May's Cannes Film Festival, competed with "Mrs. Moscowitz and the Cats," directed by Jorge Gurvich, "The Loners," by Renen Schorr," Keren Yedaya's "Jaffa," "Lebanon" directed by Samuel Maoz, and "Eyes Wide Open," by Haim Tabakman. The latter two received honorable mentions.
In their statement about the winning film, a multi-cultural drama that takes place in Jaffa, the judges said that, "in addition to reflecting the reality of the situation, the film manages to hint at the tragic dimension of life in this context." The judges also praised the use of non-professional actors and film's "energetic editing." The NIS 120,000 prize will be divided between "Ajami"'s directors and its producers, Mosh Danon and Thanassis Karathanos.
The Wolgin Prize for best documentary film (for NIS 40,000) was awarded to "Diplomat," directed by Dana Goren," which the judges described as "a cinematic, artistic, human and emotional achievement. It reveals an enclosed world existing on the margins of Israeli society for nearly two decades." The prize for the best short film (NIS 10,000) was awarded to Benjamin Friedenberg's "Guided Tour." The prize for best actor in a feature film was awarded to Zohar Strauss for his roles in both "Eyes Wide Open" and "Lebanon." Hana Rita Zohar received the prize for best actress for her role in "Mrs. Moscowitz and the Cats."
The Anat Pirchi Award for best animated film went to "Wings," by Sasha Bushuev; to "Freeland," by Gur Bentwich in the single drama; "Baderekh Habayita" (On the Way Home), by Tomer and Barak Heymann, for best documentary series; and "Tales of the Defeated," by Yael Reuveny, for best short documentary.
The In the Spirit of Freedom prizes, awarded in memory of Wim Van Leer, went to the documentary films "Yodok Stories," by Polish director Andrzej Fidyk and to "Burma VJ: Reporting From a Closed Country" by Danish director Anders Ostergaard. The Jewish Experience prizes were awarded to "The Last Krasucky," by Y.A. Krasucky, and "Human Failure," by Michael Verhoeven. The prize of the Forum for the Preservation of Audio-Visual Memory was awarded to German director Felix Moeller for his film "Harlan: In the Shadow of the Jew Suess."
The winner in Project-48, a competition whose films were made from scratch and completed within 48 hours, was "Ot Mishamayim" (A Sign from Heaven), made by the Mila Ahrona (Last Word) group, headed by director Michal Zilberman. The film will compete in the international 48-Hour Film Fest competition in Las Vegas next year and will be screened at the next Cannes Film Festival.
The film "Lemalei et Hehalal" (Fill the Void), by Rama Burstein won the (CNC) Centre National de la Cinematographie prize at the Jerusalem Pitch Point event, in which 15 film treatments were presented by their aspiring makers to a panel of film industry professionals from Europe. The ARTE prize for international relations was awarded to the film "Tahana Merkazit" (Central Bus Station), by Guy Ofran and Ami Livne.