Two Israeli Films to Compete at Tribeca Film Festival

Michal Gassner’s 'Big Sister' joins 'Holy Air' by Shadi Srour.

Nirit Anderman
Nirit Anderman
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'Big Sister' screenshot.
'Big Sister' screenshot.Credit: Screenshot
Nirit Anderman
Nirit Anderman

Two Israeli films will compete at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York next month.

Shady Srour’s “Holy Air” (“Hawa Moqaddas”) will screen in the International Narrative section, while Michal Gassner’s “Big Sister” (“Ahotcha”) will be shown in the short film category.

The festival runs from April 19-30.

A festival spokesperson said “Big Sister” had been selected from a pool of 4,385 short films, 57 of which will be shown. The selected shorts come from 18 countries, and 40 percent of them were directed by women.

“Big Sister” premiered at the Haifa Film Festival last October, and features a young woman with a clear and violent agenda against male sexual predators. When she discovers that her younger brother has been suspended from school for similar reasons, she grapples with the difficulty of discovering the limits of her power to change the world.

A production of the Gesher Film Foundation and the Jerusalem Film and Television Fund, “Big Sister” stars Avigail Harari, Roee Golan and Carmel Bin.

Born in 1988, Gassner once mentored a group of at-risk young women in Jaffa, who then made films about their personal experiences. She has also directed, shot and edited shows for television.

While studying theater she spent a year in Burundi, where she helped establish a project for the Doing the World Justice organization (an Israel-based nonprofit that addresses global poverty and environmental issues from a Jewish perspective).

“Holy Air” is written and directed by Srour, who also stars in the movie as Adam, a Christian-Arab man in Nazareth who quits his job working for a corrupt accountant.

Adam worries about making a living after his wife informs him she’s pregnant. However, after meeting a priest, he comes up with the idea of selling bottled holy air to tourists visiting the northern Israeli city.

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