Paying Tribute to Israeli Films

By Tom Tugend,

Contributing Editor

Yoram Ben Ze’ev, consul general of Israel in Los Angeles, left,and Meir Fenigstein, festival founder/director.

The 14th annual Israel Film Festival formally raised the curtainlast week on its two-week program of 50 feature movies,documentaries, TV films and golden oldies with an opening-night galaat the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

With American-Israeli actor Mike Burstyn as master of ceremonies,a roster of dignitaries ascended to the podium to laud the artisticstrides made by the Israeli film industry over the last 50 years andto pay tribute to the festival’s founder-director, Meir Fenigstein.

Plaques of appreciation were presented to Naftalie Alter, generalmanager of the Fund for the Promotion of Israeli Quality Films, andto indestructible producer Menahem Golan.

Noting the many Israelis who have made their names in Hollywood,Golan called on the expatriates to follow his example and return hometo contribute their talents to the growth of the Israeli filmindustry.

Director Yossi Sommer was on hand to introduce his “The Dybbuk ofthe Holy Apple Field,” a powerful film that transports the classictale of faith and star-crossed love to the present-day ferventlyOrthodox enclave of Mea Shearim in Jerusalem.

Sommer dedicated his film to “my Jewish passion and Israeliheritage.”

For ticket information and a confirmed screening schedule, callLaemmle’s Music Hall at (310) 274-6869 or Israfest at (213)966-4166.