It’s hard not to notice that many of the prizewinners at the 2013 Tel Aviv International Documentary Film Festival focus on women, be they pole dancers, supermarket cashiers or pioneers in pre-state Israel. Not all of DocAviv’s nods went to films about females, but the trend is hard to ignore.
The Best Israeli Film Award went to “Pole, Dancer and a Movie,” a film by Isri Halpern about Neta Lee Levy, the founder of Israel’s first pole dancing studio. Special Jury Mention went to “Super Women,” a documentary by Yael Kipper and Ronen Zaretsky chronicling the lives of five women who all work the same shift at an Israeli supermarket. Avigail Sperber won the Best Cinematography Award for the film.
“Women/Pioneers,” a film about the young women who came to the Land of Israel to be pioneers and develop a model for “the new woman,” received the Best Research Award. “Handa Handa 4” got a Special Jury Mention for the story it tells about a young couple of Bukharan descent that refuse to follow the conventional marriage traditions of their community.
The Best Editing Award went not to a film about women, but rather to one about children. “Dancing in Jaffa,” a film by Hilla Medalia that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, follows ballroom dancing expert Pierre Dulaine as he returns to his native Jaffa to implement a social development program with Palestinian and Jewish children similar to the ones he has run in New York and other North American cities.
William Friedkin, the U.S. film director who scared up a fright with “The Exorcist” and set pulses racing with thriller “The French Connection” in the 1970s, will get a lifetime achievement award from the Venice Film Festival, organizers said on Thursday.
Friedkin, 77, will also present a restored version of his initially poorly received but now acclaimed 1977 film “Sorcerer” at the August 28-September 7 festival in the Italian city.
Venice film festival director Alberto Barbera said that Friedkin had made major contributions to U.S. cinema “the revolutionary impact of which has not always been recognized.”
“Friedkin exploded the rules of documentary filmmaking in several works for television that were seminal for their dry, harsh and unpredictable point of view, and later revolutionized the popular genres of the crime film and the horror film, basically inventing the modern blockbuster with ‘The French Connection’,” Barbera said in a statement.
“The French Connection,” a drug smuggling drama starring Gene Hackman, won five Oscars in 1972 including Best Picture and Best Director.
Two Jewish-themed films fared well at the 2013 German Film Awards (known as the Lolas) April 26 in Berlin.
“Hannah Arendt,” famed German director Margarethe von Tratta’s film focusing on four years (1960-1964) in the political theorist’s life, won the Silver Lola for best film. The film deals with the period during which Arendt, a German-Jewish refugee, went to Jerusalem to cover Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann’s trial for The New Yorker. Her articles were followed in 1963 by the controversial book “Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil.”
The film has enjoyed positive reviews for von Tratta’s direction, and especially for German actress Barbara Sukowa’s portrayal of Arendt, which won her the Lola for best actress.
It’s that time of year again.
Tony Award nominations were announced this morning, with Best Play nods going to “The Assembled Parties” by Richard Greenberg, and “Lucky Guy,” the last play by the late Nora Ephron.
Although Greenberg’s play is set on Christmas Day — two Christmas Days, actually — it’s about the Bascovs, a well-to-do Jewish family living on Central Park West. (Read our interview with “The Assembled Parties” star Jessica Hecht here.) Judith Light also received a nomination for Best Actress in a Featured Role for her performance as the neurotic sister Faye, and Santo Loquasto got a nod for Best Scenic Design.
Ephron’s “Lucky Guy,” starring Tom Hanks in his Broadway debut, also picked up a Best Play nomination, along with nods for Best Actor (that would be Hanks) and a raft of other nominations. Hanks plays Mike McAlary, the Daily News journalist who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1997 for his reporting on the use of torture by the NYPD.
Other nominations include “The Testament of Mary” by Colm Toibin and “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” by Christopher Durang for Best Play, and Nathan Lane for Best Actor in “The Nance.”
Music legend Leonard Cohen was a double winner at this past weekend’s JUNO Awards held in Regina, Saskatchewan. The JUNOs, presented by The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, are the Canadian equivalent of the Grammys.
Cohen was named Artist of the Year, and he also received the JUNO Award for Songwriter of the Year for three songs on his “Old Ideas” album. Cohen was not in attendance at the various JUNO ceremonies and galas to personally receive the honors.
While newcomer Carly Rae Jepsen bested Cohen by winning three awards, the 78-year-old icon beat out both the “Call Me Maybe” singer and pop star Justin Bieber for Artist of the Year. Cohen has now won five JUNOs over the course of his career.
Jewish performers Drake, Adam Cohen (Leonard Cohen’s son), and Toronto group Jaffa Road were among the JUNO nominees this year.
The award, worth $100,000, is one of the largest literary prizes in the world and is given for fiction and non-fiction in alternating years. This year’s runner-up, who receives $25,000, is Ben Lerner for his novel, “Leaving the Atocha Station.” Other finalists included Shani Boianjiu for “The People of Forever Are Not Afraid,” Stuart Nadler for “The Book of Life,” and Asaf Schurr for “Motti.”
Inspired by Edith Wharton’s “The Age of Innocence,” Segal’s book examines the upper-class Jewish community of North West London. The novel is being adapted into a TV show in the U.K. by Carnival Films, the company that produces “Downton Abbey.”
Founded in 2006, the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature “honors the contribution of contemporary writers in the exploration and transmission of Jewish values and is intended to encourage and promote outstanding writing of Jewish interest in the future.” Last year Forward opinion editor Gal Beckerman was awarded the prize for his book, “When They Come For Us We’ll Be Gone: The Epic Struggle To Save Soviet Jewry.”
Two Jewish-themed films fared well at the 2013 German Film Awards, known as the Lolas were handed out April 26 in Berlin.
“Hannah Arendt,” famed German director Margarethe von Tratta’s film focusing on four years (1960-1964) in the political theorist’s life, won the Silver Lola for best film. The film deals with the period during which Arendt, a German-Jewish refugee, went to Jerusalem to cover Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann’s trial for The New Yorker. Her articles were followed by the highly controversial “Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil” in 1963.
The film has enjoyed positive reviews for von Tratta’s direction, and especially for German actress Barbara Sukowa’s portrayal of Arendt, which won her the Lola for best actress.
The Lola for the best film for youth went to “Kaddish for a Friend,” a production in German and Arabic about a 14-year-old boy named Ali who moves from a Palestinian refugee camp to Berlin. There, he tries to gain the acceptance of the local teens by breaking into the apartment of an elderly Russian Jewish war veteran. Ali gets into serious trouble when the other youths vandalize the apartment and Ali gets reported to the police. The only way he can avoid prosecution and deportation is to seek the forgiveness of the Jewish man, his supposed enemy.
Watch the trailer for ‘Kaddish for a Friend’:
Bob Dylan has become the first rock star to be inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Because of the multi-disciplinary nature of his work, Dylan will be an honorary inductee, joining such notables as Meryl Streep, Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese.
“The board of directors considered the diversity of his work and acknowledged his iconic place in the American culture,” Academy executive director Virginia Dajani told the Associated Press. “Bob Dylan is a multi-talented artist whose work so thoroughly crosses several disciplines that it defies categorization.”
Dylan has also been the recipient of an honorary Pulitzer Prize, in 2008, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 2012.
The Academy of Arts and Letters, which was founded in 1898 and is based in Manhattan, consists of 250 members in the categories of music, literature and visual arts. It also includes 75 honorary members from abroad and 10 honorary American members. New members are inducted only when one of the existing members dies.
Shalom Auslander was awarded the Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Prize — the United Kingdom’s top prize for Jewish literature — for his debut novel, “Hope: a Tragedy”, at a February 27 event at London’s Jewish Book Week.
Diana Reich, chair of the JQ-Wingate Prize judging panel, praised Auslander’s work as “bursting with raw talent, shockingly irreverent, [and] studded with comic brilliance and unbearable poignancy.”
Auslander’s novel was selected from a shortlist of six books and a wider field of around 70 works, both fiction and non-fiction. Other nominations included “Scenes from Village Life” by Amos Oz, “Foreign Bodies” by Cynthia Ozick, which had also been shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, and the Man Booker Prize-nominated “Swimming Home” by Deborah Levy.
In a pre-recorded acceptance speech shown in his absence, after expressing surprise that neither Hilary Mantel nor Junot Diaz had beaten him to it, “since they seem to win everything,” Auslander said that he was “conflicted about the award” since he was raised to believe that “every time things went well, you knew things were going to go very poorly right away afterward.”
The Jewish Book Council has announced the finalists for this year’s Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature. The $100,000 prize is one of the largest literary awards in the world and recognizes emerging writers who examine the Jewish experience. It is given for fiction and non-fiction in alternating years.
This year’s fiction finalists include Shani Boianjiu for “The People Of Forever Are Not Afraid”; Ben Lerner for “Leaving Atocha Station”; Stuart Nadler for “The Book of Life”; Asaf Schurr for “Motti” (translated by Todd Hasak Lowy) and Francesca Segal for “The Innocents.” The winner will be announced in April and will be celebrated at a gala in New York City at the end of May.
The nominees for the 2013 Juno Awards have been announced, and among them are Jewish musicians Drake, Leonard Cohen, Adam Cohen and Toronto group Jaffa Road, which was nominated for Best World Music Album for “Where The Light Gets In.”
The Juno Awards, the Canadian equivalent of the Grammys, will be given out on April 21 in a ceremony broadcasted from Regina, Saskatchewan hosted by vocalist Michael Bublé. It is sure to be a big night for all the nominated artists — some familiar to American music fans, and some less known outside Canada. The former include international sensations like Carly Rae Jepsen of “Call Me Maybe” fame and teenage heartthrob Justin Bieber. Pop and country singer-songwriter k.d. lang will be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
Toronto-born-and-bred hip-hop artist Drake, 26, recently scooped up his first Grammy for best Best Rap Album for “Take Care.” He is nominated for the Juno Fan Choice Award. Director X (aka Julien Christian Lutz) is nominated for Video of the Year for Drake’s HYFR video.
Leonard Cohen, the legendary 78-year-old Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, poet and novelist is being recognized in a number of categories. The Montreal native is nominated for the Juno Fan Choice Award, Artist of the Year, and Songwriter of the Year (for three songs on his “Old Ideas” album).
New Republic literary editor Leon Wieseltier has been awarded the $1 million Dan David prize, Politico reported. Wieseltier, who was cited by the prize board as “a foremost writer and thinker who confronts and engages with the central issues of our times,” will split the prize with French philosopher Michel Serres, who was called “one of the most important modern French philosophers.”
The Dan David Prize is considered one of Israel’s foremost awards and is given to individuals who have made “an outstanding contribution to humanity,” in the categories of “past, present and future.” The prize was founded in 2000 with a $100 million endowment by Romanian-born businessman Dan David and is administered by Tel Aviv University.
Other winners this year included historian Sir Geoffrey Lloyd, economist Esther Duflo and ophthalmologist and epidemiologist Alfred Sommer. Wieseltier and Serres shared the award in the “present” category.
“When Montale won the Nobel,” Wieseltier told The New York Times, referring to Italian poet Eugenio Montale, “a reporter called him that evening and asked how he felt. He said, ‘Less bad.’”
Having won seven Ophir Awards, “Fill the Void” has secured its place as Israel’s Oscar entry for this year. The film, with its artful and gripping insider look at life among a Hasidic community in Tel Aviv, snagged Ophirs for best film, best director, best screenplay, best actress and best supporting actress, among others.
“Fill the Void” tells the story of 18-year-old Shira who struggles with whether she should marry her brother-in-law Yochai, the widower of her older sister Esther, who died in childbirth. It’s an emotional fictional romance and coming of age story set against the strictly prescribed and proscribed lifestyle of the ultra-Orthodox. Hadas Yaron, who plays Shira, won the Volpi Award for best actress at the 69th Venice Film Festival in September.
For Israeli filmmakers the most wonderful time of the year is almost here. No, it’s not Hanukka or even Christmas — it’s the Ophir awards. Recently the Israeli Academy of Film and Television announced its nominations for the 2012 awards, which will be distributed at a ceremony in September.
Modeled after Hollywood’s Oscars, the Ophir awards are named after Israeli acting legend Shaike Ophir, best known for his iconic role as the lead in 1972’s “The Policeman,” but who had a long and fruitful career spanning decades in local film and theater productions. After officially coming together as Israel’s Academy of Film and Television in 1990, members of Israel’s filmmaking community have awarded the Ophirs to movies chosen by academy members every year.
This year, 29 feature films and 35 documentary films were submitted to compete for the awards. Organizers introduced a new category restricted to films with production budgets below NIS 1 million, called Best Fringe Feature Film, to increase recognition for up-and-coming independent filmmakers.
You may not recognize Mark Margolis’s name, but you’ll certainly know his face.
Margolis was recently nominated for an Emmy Award for his guest performance in the hit AMC series “Breaking Bad.” He has had roles in “Scarface,” “Pi,” “Black Swan” and “Defiance,” often playing Jews, priests and Latinos. He was nominated for an Emmy for his turn as Hector “Tio” Salamanca, a paralyzed drug lord who is able to communicate only by ringing a bell affixed to his wheelchair. Margolis talked to The Arty Semite about playing a paraplegic, what he’ll do if he wins the Emmy and about his great-grandfather’s tefillin.
Curt Schleier: Do people ever ask where they know you from?
Mark Margolis: They say, “What did I see you in?” I tell them: “I don’t know. I wasn’t with you when you saw it.” I get stopped 50 times a day. Years ago, I was at a red light in Hollywood when I was living out there. I was driving this ancient, beautiful 1973 Pontiac I’d bought for $50. A guy pulls up next to me and says, “Man you’re a movie star.” I said, “If I was a movie star, would I be driving this piece of s–t?” He said, “That’s your cover car; your Rolls is in your garage.”
A French-language tome by a hard-line Quebec separatist doesn’t seem like a typical candidate for a Canadian Jewish Book Award. But in June, Denis Vaugeois’s “Les Premiers Juifs d’Amérique” won the 2012 prize for history, crowning what the Montreal Gazette called the historian’s ”55-year quest” to rescue the story of Quebec’s pioneering Hart family ”from the dustbin of history.”
Now, Montreal publisher Baraka has released an English-language translation, “The First Jews of North America.” An exhaustive illustrated history of Quebec’s pioneering Hart family, the book has generated praise and some controversy; Vaugeois himself gained notoriety as the sovereignty hardliner who quit politics in 1985 “to protest the party’s decision to put independence on the back burner,” as the Gazette wrote. The Arty Semite caught up with Vaugeois in Montreal by email. His publisher translated responses from the French.
Michael Kaminer: In the course of researching your book, what surprised you the most about the Harts, or about Quebec at that time?
The National Endowment for the Arts announced today that klezmer clarinetist Andy Statman is among the recipients of its 2012 National Heritage Fellowships. The Brooklyn-based musician will be awarded the nation’s highest honor in folk and traditional arts during a ceremony in the fall.
Reached at his home in Midwood, the 61-year-old bluegrass and klezmer virtuoso told The Arty Semite, “To be placed in the same league as my heroes Bill Monroe, Dave Taras and B.B. King is a tremendous honor.”
Statman is an Orthodox Jew and the decision to schedule the National Heritage Fellowships ceremony and concert on Thursday, October 4, rather than on a Friday night, was made in part to accommodate Statman, according to Liz Auclair, a spokesperson for the National Endowment for the Arts. Auclair said there will be kosher food at the banquet for Statman and his wife, Basha.
Statman and his band went to back up his teacher Dave Tarras at a concert in Washington, D.C. in 1984 when Tarras won the National Heritage Fellowship. The elderly klezmer clarinetist collapsed and suffered a heart attack during the first song, so Statman stood in for him during the performance.
Israeli writer Etgar Keret and American author Nathan Englander have both been shortlisted for the 2012 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, the biggest prize in the world for a short story collection. Keret was nominated for “Suddenly a Knock on the Door,” and Englander received a nod for “What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank.”
There are a total of six finalists for the award. The other four are Kevin Barry of Ireland, Fiona Kidman of New Zealand, Sarah Hall of the UK, and Lucia Perillo of the U.S. This is Keret’s second time being shortlisted, and Englander has two chances of winning the award, since he translated much of Keret’s collection — and if a translation wins, the author and the translator share the prize.
This is the eighth year that the €25,000 ($31,500) prize, for the best original short story collection published in English by a living author, is being awarded. It is a gift of the Munster Literature Centre and will presented at the Cork International Short Story Festival in September. The award will be announced this summer, as early as July 5.
The award is named for Frank O’Connor, an Irish author from Cork, who produced more than 150 works in his lifetime, before dying in Dublin at age 62 in 1966. Previous winners have been Haruki Murakami (2006), Jhumpa Lahiri (2008) and Edna O’Brien (2011).
Crossposted from Haaretz
Haviva Pedaya and Mois Ben Harash are the recipients of this year’s Yehuda Amichai Prize for Hebrew Poetry, the award’s panel announced, with the NIS 30,000 purse to be granted at a Jerusalem ceremony next month.
The Yehuda Amichai Prize for Hebrew poetry is granted by the City of Jerusalem and the Ministry of Culture to mark poets for collections published in the last seven years or for his lifetime’s work. The award’s declared purposes are the preservation and circulation of Amichai’s poetic heritage; encouraging Israeli poets and creation. Past recipients of the award include Sh. Shifra, Agi Mishol, Roni Somek, and Nurit Zarchi.
Pedaya will receive the award for “D’yo Adam” (Human Ink), a collection of poems published by Hakibbutz Hameuchad in 2009, while Ben Harash will be noted for his “Lo Holech Le’Shum Makom” (Not Going Anywhere), published by Resisei Nehara in 2010.
Crossposted from Haaretz
The Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry announced yesterday the five winners of the 2011 Atir Awards for Israeli industrial design. Each year, one award is issued in each of five categories: consumer goods; tools and equipment; furniture and lighting; green/sustainable products; and concept design.
The winners were selected by a panel of judges made up of leading industrial designers and headed by Michael Ilouz, CEO of the Teva Naot shoe and accessory manufacturer.
The winner in the consumer goods category was Yetitoy, a children’s tricycle manufactured by INRAM Development & Design and designed by Yama Design. For one thing, the tricycle is a platform for various accessories, wrote the judges. “The child can enrich their wondrous world of imagery by adding accessories such as ears, horns, a saddle and more,” they wrote. In other words, this tricycle has a whole new “visual, minimalist and iconic language,” they elaborated.
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