Israeli Film Earns BAFTA Nomination

British Academy Film Awards give shortlist nods to Shaul Freed and Karni Arieli, who created 'Turning' by combining animation and live action.

The film "Turning," made by the Israeli couple Shaul Freed and Karni Arieli, has been short-listed for the best film short in the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA ) due next month.

Based on Lynda Saxson's short story "Turning," the film, in English, combines animation with live action. The plot is about "three elderly ladies who visit a 6-year old on his birthday and tell him a fantastic story about a king without skin," Freed said yesterday.

Freed and Arieli, 35, who moved to England eight years ago, have no formal training in filmmaking. In recent years they co-created mainly clips and commercials combining animation and expressive photography, but recently tried their hand at making films.

"We received a budget from the BBC that financed half of the movie and added the rest ourselves, but the total was quite low, and I had to do a large part of the animation myself," Freed told Haaretz.

A scene from “Turning.”

In the past few months "Turning" has been shown in several festivals, including the Edinburgh Film Festival and the LA Shorts Fest.

Arieli and Freed found out about being short-listed for the BAFTA awards by accident. "We knew were on the long list of candidates with some 50 movies, but they didn't call to tell us about the final nomination. We received an email from a friend who saw the list and wanted to congratulate us. It was a surprise, because we forgot the list was supposed to be published that day," he said.

Arieli and Freed are now working on two films, a short and a long one, with the British Channel 4.

"This nomination certainly opens doors, gives our cinematic style recognition. This is especially important for us because neither of us studied filmmaking," Freed said.

The films the couple will make in the near future will also contain considerable animation and fantasy, he said.

BAFTA's annual awards ceremony, known as the British Academy Film Awards, is scheduled on February 13 at the Royal Opera House in London.