During the opening ceremony an appreciation prize will be awarded to Mike Medavoy, founder and chairman of Phoenix Pictures, who has worked with directors such as Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, Terrence Malick, and more. Another prize will be awarded to British director Michael Winterbottom, who directed such films as "Wonderland" and "24 Hour Party People".
Scene from Israeli movie "Hashiva", nominated for award. (Photo: Gadi Dagon)
Among the other important guests slated to participate in the ceremony is actor John Malkovich, who will take part in an artists' workshop presented by Itai Tiran and a question and answer session following the screening of his movie, "Being John Malkovich". Director Michael Wilson is also planning to make an appearance to present his documentary, "A Life in Film", about the life of actor Clint Eastwood.
During the festival prizes will be awarded to Israeli and international films in the categories of plot, documentary, short films, best actor, and best actress. The theme of this year's festival will be children and teens, so it will include three full-length movies and a number of short films that have recently won worldwide appreciation with this audience in mind. Children's workshops will also be held throughout the festival.
An event honoring the Exodus and its captain Yossi Harel is also scheduled for the festival. Exodus was a ship used for clandestine immigration and carried 4,554 Holocaust survivors from France towards Israel in 1947. The survivors were not allowed to enter Israel, and were returned after a fierce struggle to the hostile environment in Europe.
The ship's story was made into a movie in 1960, which was recently reproduced by MGM as a gift to Jerusalem's cinema. This reproduction will be screened during the festival, with a special dedication to the immigrants of the ship and the memory of Yossi Harel, who died in April.