Israel’s Celluloid Industry That Keeps on Giving

Sometimes expressing in writing is not that simple because what goes on in the mind and heart of the expressive writer may flood all his or her senses, thus fogging the ability to express clearly.

So you turn to the camera to express yourself with past filming on celluloid, present filming, digitally.

For the younger generation who are not familiar with the word ‘celluloid,’ it is a strip of transparent film base with plastic coating that was first used for general photography, to later be the prime method for shooting and distributing motion pictures. In the days when the movie was filmed on celluloid it was mounted on a reel and a projector operator would be sitting in the projection room or booth – an enclosure for the machinery required for the display of movies on a reflective screen, located high on the back wall of the presentation space, what we call movie theater – in charge of the smooth turning of the film reel for the audience to enjoy the movie screening. At times, the celluloid strip quality caused a short disturbance in the continuity of the screening.

Celluloid Memories

The celluloid days have been replaced with innovative new technology for better quality film production and screening. However, the movie industry is still identified with the celluloid strip. Therefore, the name of this op-ed, designated to promote the celebration of Israel Film Festival (IFF), founded by Meir Fenigstein, Festival Director, 35th years ago.

2022 Festival Banner. Celluloid. Photo: Nurit Greenger
2022 Festival Banner. Photo: Nurit Greenger
Meir Fenigstein - Festival Founder & Director. Photo: Nurit Greenger
Meir Fenigstein – Festival Founder & Director. Photo: Nurit Greenger

During Israel’s Independence Day celebrations, May 5, 2022, and Cinco de Mayo, 2022, the yearly celebration held on May 5, to commemorate the anniversary of Mexico’s victory over the Second French Empire at the Battle of Puebla in 1862, the Festival that represents Israeli culture began, leaving Israel’s ethos footprint on the global map.

Israel’s Movie Industry

Since its establishment 74 years ago, among its many achievements, Israel’s movie industry, with its inspirational and imaginative content, has become a significant player and has a footprint on the worldwide movie industry.

The Israel Film Festival has distinguished itself from other festivals by being a traveling event. It takes place annually in Los Angeles, New York and Miami and Chicago and is the largest showcase of Israeli cinema in the United State. It is one of the oldest and most prestigious film festivals in the United States. It began in 1981 with screening six films; in 2022 it will be showcasing 32 new Israeli films that will be attended by several producers, directors and actors who took part of the production of the festival’s selection of films that will be screened in the theatres and online.

The Israeli film On The Map is the story of Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team that in 1977 prevailed over the Russian team CSKA Moscow (known in the West as Red Army), that refused to play against the Israeli team. After winning the game, Tal Brody, the famed Israeli-American basketball player, captured the heart of the nation when he famously said, “Israel is on the map, not just in sport, but in everything.” Tal was right. One of that ‘everything’ is Israeli film content, the most sought after by movie and TV series production companies.

The 35th Israel Film Festival in Los Angeles is the largest showcase of Israeli cinema and television in North America. Each year, the festival hosts a Gala Awards Dinner with a Hollywood Salute to Israel. However, since the world is just coming out of the COVID pandemic, this year the festival, somewhat, limited its opening night activities.

Customary IFF Awards go to individuals for acting, producing, visionary and Lifetime Achievements. At the opening night Ehud Bleiberg, the producer of Image of Victory and Riding with a Spy, received the IFF 2022 Cinematic Achievement Award.

Ehud Bleiberg, producer - 2022 Cinematic Achievement Award recipient. Photo: Nurit Greenger
Ehud Bleiberg, producer – 2022 Cinematic Achievement Award recipient. Photo: Nurit Greenger

This year the Festival will also celebrate how Israeli television series have achieved enormous success with the American TV audiences. In the last decade American television viewers have discovered and embraced award-winning Israeli TV series, Fauda and Homeland to name two, that are being produced by today’s most innovative storytellers and talent from Israel. The creators of such series have brought to the United States what Israeli audiences have long admired and enjoyed-original and fascinating stories and characters, as well as outstanding production values.

The Israel Film Festival is a production of IsraFest Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, based in Los Angeles, its mission is to enrich the American vision of Israeli life and culture through the medium of film, and to foster an intercultural dialogue through conversations with visiting Israeli artists. The festival is credited with helping Israeli films get Hollywood exposure.

Join the Israel Film Festival movie goers growing fan club.

Nurit Greenger
During the 2006 second Lebanon War, Nurit Greenger, referenced then as the "Accidental Reporter" felt compelled to become an activist. Being an 'out-of-the-box thinker, Nurit is a passionately committed advocate for Jews, Israel, the United States, and the Free World in general. From Southern California, Nurit serves as a "one-woman Hasbarah army" for Israel who believes that if you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.

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