Anne Frank, Arab-Jewish relations, karaoke in focus at upcoming Israeli film awards

Israeli Academy of Film and Television will award ‘Israeli Oscars’ to movies in 18 different categories on September 18

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

From 'Cinema Sabaya,' about eight Arab and Jewish women in a film workshop, now up for 12 Ophir Awards in the upcoming September 18 ceremony (Courtesy Ella Barak)
From 'Cinema Sabaya,' about eight Arab and Jewish women in a film workshop, now up for 12 Ophir Awards in the upcoming September 18 ceremony (Courtesy Ella Barak)

The Ophir Awards, Israel’s version of the Academy Awards, will be held on September 18.

The nominated films were chosen by the Israeli Academy of Film and Television from a selection of 95 movies of all different genres, a record number of entries for the awards competition.

The competing features nominated in the Best Film category are Ari Folman’s “Where Is Anne Frank?” his 2021 animated film narrated by Kitty, Frank’s imaginary friend from her diary; “Karaoke,” in which a middle-aged couple gets to know their neighbor through his karaoke parties; “Cinema Sabaya” takes eight Arab and Jewish women through a film workshop; “Valeria is Getting Married,” which tells the tale of two Ukrainian sisters, one who married an Israeli and the other who is about to do the same; and “35 Downhill,” about a son and his estranged, kibbutz-dwelling father traveling across Israel on a tractor.

Four of the films nominated for best picture are also up for best director, including Michal Vinick for “Valeria is Getting Married,” Moshe Rosenthal for “Karaoke,” Orit Fouks Rotem for “Cinema Sabaya” and Yona Rozenkier for “35 Downhill.” They are joined by Maor Zaguri for “Virginity,” a coming-of-age story.

Actress Dana Ivgy is up for the Best Actress award for two films, “Savoy” and “Cinema Sabaya,” along with Levana Finkelstein for “Hashtika,” Lena Fraifeld for “Valeria” and Rita Shukrun for “Karaoke.”

Shukrun’s movie husband in “Karaoke,” veteran actor Sasson Gabbay, is also up for the Best Actor award, along with Yoel Rozenkier, the director’s brother, in “35 Downhill,” Yaakov Zada Daniel for “Valeria” and Morris Cohen for “Hashtika.”

Lior Ashkenazi is nominated for best supporting actor in “Karaoke,” along with veteran actor Moni Mashanov for “All I Can Do,” about a young prosecutor tackling a sexual assault case.

In the Best Screenplay category, “Savoy,” “35 Downhill,” “Virginity,” “Valeria is Getting Married,” “Karaoke” and “Cinema Sabaya” are all nominated.

The Ophir Awards also include nominations for Best Documentary, Best Documentary Short, Best Short Feature Film, Best Cinematography, Best Original Music, Best Editing, Best Artistic Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Makeup, Best Casting and Best Soundtrack.

The awards will be held on September 18 at 11:00 p.m. on Channel 12.

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