Israeli Competition

Israel's largest documentary competition

The Frank Lowy Award for the Best Israeli Film

70,000 NIS Prize
The Best Israeli Film is also eligible for a marketing grant of 100,000 NIS for the American Academy Award Campaign.

Love It Was Not by Maya Sarfaty, produced by Nir Sa'ar and Kurt Langbein

Courtesy of: Frank Lowy
With the support of: Glikson and Edit Studios

Jury's justification

Rare in its powerful dramatic effect, this story unfolds before the viewers as they are led with confidence to meet captivating characters, experience superb editing, and discover brilliantly-treated archive footage. From beginning to end, the film balances the thin line between aggressor and victim, while managing to capture the horrors of war, present moving, living testimonies, explore the themes of memory and forgetting, and raise poignant questions about the deceptive power of love.

The Yossi Kaufmann Award for Best Director

25,000 NIS prize
Efim Graboy for The War of Raya Sinitsina

Courtesy of: Makor Foundation for Israeli Films

Jury's justification

Together with other aging Soviet veterans of the Siege of Leningrad, 94-year old Raya Sinitsina struggles to preserve her memories of heroic resistance and sacrifice during the war. In Efim Graboy’s incisive and poignant film, this act of bearing witness evolves in surprisingly tender ways to become an expression of the love between a young filmmaker and his elderly subject. Through his deft interweaving of intimate portraiture and candid self-reflection, historical documentation and vivid storytelling, Graboy awakens our sense of humanity and humility in the face of unfathomable trauma.

Special Jury Award

10,000 NIS prize
No Hard Feelings by Arthur Abramov, produced by Osnat Trabelsi

Courtesy of: Harel Insurance Investments and Financial Services

Jury's justification

Through its vibrant and fascinating central character, Sarah, No Hard Feelings unravels the complex layers of immigrant subjectivity and experience. A portrait of longing, resilience, depletion, and dreams deferred, marked by the dramatic endurance of a patriarchal social structure.

The Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo Award for Best Debut Film

30,000 NIS prize
Rain in Her Eyes by Ron Omer, produced by Shula Spiegel and Dana Eden

Courtesy of: Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo

Jury's justification

A sensitive, intimate film that reveals new insights about writer Dvora Omer—the filmmaker’s mother. Delving into her past, the film exposes Omer as a fragile, vulnerable woman, who lived for years with the knowledge that her parents had abandoned her. Using archive footage, journal entries, and excerpts from her works read by cultural figures influenced by her writing, the director manages to draw a uniquely lyrical portrait of this eminent Israeli author.

Best Cinematography Award

7,000 NIS prize
Efim Graboy and Daniel Binsted for The War of Raya Sinitsina

Courtesy of: KAN - IPBC

Jury's justification

Cinematographers Efim Graboy and Daniel Binsted move adroitly from the monumental to the incidental, from the abstract to the earthbound, as they attempt to inscribe epic forces of history onto a single woman’s life. In the film’s sensuous recurrent image of a field of sunflowers, Raya Sinitsina’s memories are given the weight of poetic metaphor.

Best Editing Award

7,000 NIS prize
Tor Ben Mayor for The Three Yossi

Courtesy of: KAN - IPBC

Jury's justification

Moving dynamically between past and present, between footage shot twenty years ago and our current moment, The Three Yossi finely weaves the transgenerational struggles of a marginalized urban population. Using the original footage as a mirroring device, the film's editing synthesizes the passage of time but expands its meaning, finding vitality, pathos, and revelation in every scene.

Research Award

7,000 NIS prize
Mor Loushy for Kings of Capitol Hill

Courtesy of: KAN - IPBC

Jury's justification

This film tells the story of AIPAC—the strongest Jewish lobby in the United States. Based on information obtained through incredibly comprehensive research, the film establishes a chronological narrative through interviews with former high-ranking liberal members of the movement. The film takes the viewers through the political breaking point in AIPAC, which is currently controlled by conservative Jews. The voices of the former members, who criticize the policy of the Israeli government, are heard for the first time in this film. As their voices grow stronger, they raise questions about the mechanism behind Israel’s relationship with American Jewry.

International Competition

Bold, important, and extraordinary documentaries from around the world, carefully selected from this year's releases

Best International Film Award

20,000 NIS prize
Collective by Alexander Nanau

Courtesy of: Ministry of Culture and Sport - The Israeli Film Council

Jury's justification

Director Nanau’s masterful film unfolds in a compelling, suspenseful way from beginning to end. The story of the bravery and futility of individuals trying to fight large-scale political fraud is argued with great cinematic power. His panoramic portrait of systemic corruption is universal and especially urgent for our time.

Honorable Mention

The Painter and the Thief by Benjamin Ree

Jury's justification

The exceptional storytelling work creates a multi-layered narrative about two unique outsiders. Ultimately about the redemptive possibilities of art, the film makes surprising discoveries in the power of human compassion.

Depth of Field Competition

Films that push the envelope of the genre, redefining the word ''documentary''

Artistic Vision Award

10,000 NIS prize
Tokyo Ride by Louise Lemoine and Ila Bêka

Courtesy of: Ministry of Culture and Sport - The Israeli Film Council

Jury's justification

It is as if it is a road movie, but without its epic aspect. On the contrary – the movie rejects any pathos, and the decision of the filmmakers to stick to what seems to be a small-scale production is not taken for granted when it comes to a world-renowned architect. This decision is revealed to be accurate as the movie unfolds. The directors do not pretend to encompass the entire oeuvre of Ryue Nishizawa, but something in the intimacy of the car ride (the car being the undeniable film's supporting actor), creates exceptional conditions to getting to know his personality and his world. The movie ends at Moriyama house, which was the subject of Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine's previous movie. This reveals the reflexive aspect of the movie, which gives it its special and unexpected character.

Honorable Mention

State Funeral by Sergei Loznitsa

Jury's justification

It is a monumental film, which presents via archive footage everything we have to fear from power, monuments and the cult of personality. The films length – more than two hours-long, does not make viewing easy. The film plays on the tension between what we see and what we know, in retrospect. The few sentences which appear at the end, about Stalin and his doings, bring forth the sub-text of the movie: Beware. Of the cult of personality of leaders, of dictatorship, of false pretense of unity and of caring for the poor. It is a demanding movie, and repetitive, and yet – a must-see.

Beyond the Screen Award

Films that drive social, environmental, and political change

Beyond the Screen Award

5,000 NIS prize
Aswang by Alyx Ayn Arumpac

Courtesy of: Ministry of Culture and Sport - The Israeli Film Council

Shorts Competition

Best Short Film Award

4,000 NIS prize
Huntsville Station by Chris Filippone and Jamie Meltzer

Courtesy of: Ministry of Culture and Sport - The Israeli Film Council

Jury's justification

A splash of perfume on one's clothes, a phone call to a family member. How does one experience the first free moments after having been imprisoned for years? And what is next? In this winning documentary, the filmmakers observe a group of men who have left an infamous Texas prison waiting at a bus stop for a bus that will take them to their new (old) lives. A loving, touching observational documentary about past crimes and hopeful futures.

Honorable Mention

Horst by Miki Polonski

Jury's justification

Horst is a beautiful, thought provoking short film, which expands beyond its seemingly confined space. The experience of sound is a main element in the film, and the image functions as an invitation to various small journeys into this sound. These nonlinear journeys are characterized with freedom and possibility regarding what to pay attention to, and they give rise to thoughts and realizations regarding the nature of movement.

The Students Competition

The finest films produced in Israel’s film schools
In the name and memory of Ruthi Gottesman

First Award

10,000 NIS Prize
Home by Smadar Epstein Plagi | Sapir College

Courtesy of: Edit Studios and Glikson Camera Rental

Jury's justification

During this entire film we never see the protagonist’s face, but still we get to know her deeply: she is a woman with compulsive hoarding syndrome and the proud owner of twelve cats, who finally cleans out her apartment with the help of her friend. Slowly but surely the chaos subsides. This film tells a life story through the many objects that the protagonist holds on to, accompanied by the two cleaners’ often-humorous conversation. What could have easily become the subject of a banal reality show, becomes a deeply humanistic portrait instead.

Second Award

6,000 NIS Prize
With Slight Steps by Guy Hodes | The Jerusalem Sam Spiegel Film School

Courtesy of: Yoav Gottesman

Jury's justification

The film provides a fascinating two-generations perspective on life and art. The director creates a heartfelt portrait filled with nostalgia of his grandmother, and combines it with a smart genesis story of Israeli folk dancing.

Third Award

4,000 NIS Prize
Bleeding by Moaad Gader | Bezalel Academy Of Arts And Design, Department of Screen Based Arts

Courtesy of: Yoav Gottesman

Jury's justification

A very brave and personal dialogue of the director with his past trying to understand a traumatic event, while he remembers something that may or may not have happened. Watching the images, it feels like an art piece and made us listen even more to the conversations, a way of telling a story, both visually and narrative-wise.

Student Scholarship for Excellence in the Field of Cinematography

5000 NIS Prize
Nachshon Taishi Tanaka for the film The Last Fishermen in the Sea of Galilee | Bezalel Academy Of Arts And Design, Department Of Screen Based Arts
In the name of Moshe Lev. Courtesy of Dafna Lev

Jury's justification

The contrast between the Japanese director and the personality of Menachem, a fisherman on the shores of Galilee, is caught in striking images. The camera always seems to be in the right place to catch the action: on the fishing boat, during a confrontation with the water police or at a family gathering. At the same time there are moments of contemplation: the pristine lake at sunrise or a fish gasping for air, its bloodied skin caressed by the director’s hand in close-up. The jury sees a lot of potential in the visual storytelling here and awards the grant for cinematography to The Last Fisherman in the Sea of Galilee.

Student Scholarship for Excellence in the field of Editing

5000 NIS Prize
Yuval Nitzan for the film With Slight Steps | The Jerusalem Sam Spiegel Film School
In the name of Moshe Lev. Courtesy of Dafna Lev

Jury's justification

Powerful and compelling editing sprinkled with spectacular intercutting scenes that creates a unique collage of old and modern Israel, told through the prism of folk dancing.

NEXT! Award

For Innovative Projects

NEXT! Award

4,000 NIS Prize
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