November 21, 2019

Israel film fest event honors entertainment industry leaders [VIDEO]

“I’m not a temple Jew, I’m not a ritual Jew, I don’t follow the holidays, but I am a Jew from the tip of my toes to the top of what remains of my hair,” actor Richard Dreyfuss announced at the International Ballroom of the Beverly Hilton, where the Gala Awards Dinner, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Israel Film Festival (IFF), took place Oct. 20. “I have a pride that I am a member of a group of people who have astonished the world in such a consistent way and who have given more gifts to mankind than anyone else.”

The event brought together leaders from the American Israeli entertainment community, friends of the honorees and filmmakers being represented at the Israel Film Festival, being held at Laemmle theaters in the Los Angeles area through Nov. 4. Comedian and actor Elon Gold emceed, and IFF founder and executive director Meir Fenigstein made opening remarks.

Longtime UCLA Hillel director Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller presented Dreyfuss with the Career Achievement Award for a career spanning five decades. He is best remembered for his roles in such films as “American Graffiti,” “Jaws” and “Mr. Holland’s Opus,” but Seidler-Feller also acknowledged the actor’s political activism and dedication to ethical values and social justice.

Sylvester Stallone introduced Avi Lerner, blockbuster action film producer and co-chairman and CEO of Nu Image/Millennium Films, as the man who “put his money where my mouth is.” Their working relationship dates back to Lerner’s production of the “Rambo” franchise and continued with the recent release of the box office hit “The Expendables.”

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