Israeli movie ‘Asia’ scoops 3 prizes at Tribeca Film Festival

Shira Haas wins best actress in international category, director Ruthy Pribar awarded Nora Ephron prize, Daniella Nowitz takes cinematograhy award

Shira Haas arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of 'The Zookeeper's Wife' at The ArcLight Hollywood on March 27, 2017. (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
Shira Haas arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of 'The Zookeeper's Wife' at The ArcLight Hollywood on March 27, 2017. (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

An Israeli movie, “Asia,” won three awards at the Tribeca Film Festival, including Best Actress for Shira Haas and the Nora Ephron Award, organizers announced Wednesday.

“From the writing, to the directing, to the camera moves, to the direction for the acting, to the way Ms. Pribar told a story through non-speaking was just outstanding,” the jury said of Israeli director Ruthy Pribar’s mother-daughter drama.

The Nora Ephron Award is given to a female writer or director who is said to embody the spirit of the late writer, director, journalist and feminist.

Shira Haas, of the series “Unorthodox,” picked up Best Actress in the international category for the movie.

“Her face is a never-ending landscape in which even the tiniest expression is heartbreaking; she’s an incredibly honest and present actress who brings depth to everything she does,” the jury wrote in its comments on Haas.

“Asia” also won Best Cinematography in an International Narrative Feature for Daniella Nowitz. “We were impressed with how the cinematography was supporting the emotionality of the story and was allowing us to really deeply feel with the characters,” the jury said.

The coronavirus pandemic forced the festival to reschedule, but jury members were able to view the films electronically and vote on winners.

Jane Rosenthal arrives at the 92nd Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon at the Loews Hotel on Jan. 27, 2020, in Los Angeles. (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

“We are fortunate that technology allowed for our jury to come together this year to honor our filmmakers,” said Jane Rosenthal, Tribeca Film Festival co-founder and CEO, in a statement. “Despite not being able to be together physically, we were still able to support our artists.”

Festival director Cara Cusumano added: “The jury chose to recognize a daring, innovative, entertaining, diverse group of films and filmmakers, and the festival is pleased to honor all of them with our first ever virtual awards ceremony.”

The Polish film “The Hater,” from director Jan Komasa, was selected as the best narrative feature. Jury members included Danny Boyle, William Hurt, and Demián Bichir.

Lucas Hedges, Terry Kinney and Cherien Dabis made up the jury for the US narrative categories, and selected Assol Abdullina (“Materna”) as Best Actress and Steve Zahn (“Cowboys”) as Best Actor. Alice Wu’s “The Half of It,” a teenage spin on Cyrano de Bergerac, won the top award.

Best Documentary Feature went to Bo McGuire’s “Socks on Fire,” which McGuire describes as a “transgenerational docudrama couched in the battle royal for my Nanny’s throne.”

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