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Israeli filmmakers honored in Venice
Prestigious film festival's Lion of Future Award for Debut Film Jury goes to Noaz Deshe for 'White Shadow.' Yuval Adler's 'Bethlehem' wins prize on behalf of Federation of Film Critics of Europe and Mediterranean
VIDEO – Director Amos Gitai, actress Yuval Scharf and the rest of the crew of Israeli film "Ana Arabia," which competed for the Golden Lion Prize at the 70th Venice Film Festival, left the official competition empty handed. But the Israeli cinema can still take pride in its achievements in different events taking place alongside the prestigious festival.

 

Yuval Alder's film "Bethlehem" won an award on Friday on behalf of the Federation of Film Critics of Europe and the Mediterranean (FEDORA) as part of the independently-run Venice Days event, and on Saturday the Lion of the Future Award for a Debut Film Jury was given to Noaz Deshe for his film "White Shadow."

 

Deshe is the son of famed Israeli entertainment producer Avraham Deshe (Pashanel). "White Shadow" tells the story of a young albino boy in Tanzania. The film, a German-Italian-Tanzanian co-production, was screened as part of the International Film Critics' Week in Venice.

 

Watch: Trailer of 'White Shadow'

 

Gitai, who has been hosted many times by the Venice Film Festival which even held a retrospective of his work last year, won the Robert Bresson Award, which is bestowed each year on a film director who "has given a testimony, significant on account of its sincerity and intensity, of the difficult road in search of the spiritual meaning of our life."

 

Previous recipients of the award include directors Ken Loach, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Wim Wenders, Aleksandr Sokurov, Theo Angelopoulos and Giuseppe Tornatore.

 

In addition, Gitai's "Ana Arabia" won prizes on behalf of two organizations: The SIGNIS Award presented by the Roman Catholic lay movement for communication media professionals, and the Green Drop Award for its attention to environmental issues.

 

'Sacro Gra.' The big winner

 

The Golden Lion for Best Film was won by Italian director Gianfranco Rosi's "Sacro GRA," about people living along the ring road around Rome. It was the first documentary ever and first Italian production in 15 years to win the top prize at the world's oldest film festival.

 

The Silver Lion for Best Director among the 20 entries in the main competition went to Greece's Alexandros Avranas for "Miss Violence," about a family where the father pimps out his children and grandchildren. The cup for Best Actor was awarded to Themis Panou for his performance as the abusive father in the film.

 

'Via Castellana Bandiera.' Elena Cotta wins Best Actress award

 

The Best Actress award, which was won last year by Israel's Hadas Yaron, went to 82-year-old Elena Cotta of Italy for her role in director Emma Dante's "Via Castellana Bandiera," about a stand-off between women drivers in Palermo, Sicily.

 

Tye Sheridan, the American actor who plays a young boy from a violent background in the southern US film "Joe" starring Nicolas Cage, said after winning an award for Best New Actor that his idol was James Dean.

 

"Philomena", the Judi Dench and Steve Coogan two-hander about an elderly Irishwoman searching for the son that nuns had forced her to give up for adoption, was a festival favorite but won only a Best Screenplay award for Coogan and co-writer Jeff Pope.

 

Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-liang, a former Golden Lion winner, landed a Grand Jury Prize for his film "Stray Dogs" about a man and his two children living on the fringes of society in the Taiwanese capital.

 

Reuters contributed to this report

 

 

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