A special day

Sophia Loren named honorary fellow of Jerusalem film school

Sam Spiegel Film School honors iconic actress for her indelible mark on European and Hollywood cinema

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

Iconic film star Sophia Loren, who will be honored by Jerusalem's Sam Spiegel Film School at an upcoming February 22, 2021 graduation event (Courtesy Edoardo Ponti)
Iconic film star Sophia Loren, who will be honored by Jerusalem's Sam Spiegel Film School at an upcoming February 22, 2021 graduation event (Courtesy Edoardo Ponti)

Iconic film star Sophia Loren is being honored by Jerusalem’s Sam Spiegel Film and Television School for its 2021 fellowship.

The honorary fellowship, which will be granted at the film school’s online February 22 graduation event, recognizes the Italian film star for her “authentic, realistic and instinctive acting” that has left “an indelible mark of talent, beauty and powerful femininity” in both European and Hollywood cinema.

The school’s statement added that the honor was “for her portrayal of moving characters which have earned her awards and high praise; for her embodiment of female cinematic breakthrough; and for her personification of a mythic cinematic time whose heritage continues to influence contemporary film.”

Sam Spiegel grants this annual honor to leading and inspirational cultural persona. Past recipients included President Reuven Rivlin, former Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek, film director David Lynch and late actress Ronit Elkabetz.

“I am so touched by this fellowship,” responded Loren, who is 86. “The future and the soul of our industry lies in the hands and hearts of these very talented graduates and many more around the globe just like them. It is an honor to be able to send them off into the world. I can’t wait to be moved and dazzled by the stories they will tell.”

The exterior of Jerusalem’s Sam Spiegel Film School, which will celebrate its annual graduation event on February 22, 2021 (Courtesy Sam Spiegel)

The Hollywood Reporter in 2020 named the Jerusalem Sam Spiegel Film School one of the best 15 film schools outside of the US for the fourth year in a row. Sam Spiegel was also included on the 2019 Variety list of the 50 best film schools worldwide.

The school trains filmmakers as directors, screenwriters and producers, and around 30 films are produced at the school annually. The school’s graduation events are the culmination of study for all three tracks. Student films are screened for the audience during the graduation event, before being sent out to film festivals in Israel and worldwide, with prizes given to outstanding students in all three tracks.

Sam Spiegel director Dana Blankstein Cohen thanked Loren and her son, director Edoardo Ponti, for their support and appreciation of Sam Spiegel, and for championing the creation of meaningful, impactful cinema by young filmmakers.

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