‘The Cakemaker’ whips up Best Film win at Israel’s Oscars
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‘The Cakemaker’ whips up Best Film win at Israel’s Oscars

Movie about gay German baker who moves to Israel takes home six Ophir Awards; high hopes for ‘Flawless’ fizzle

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

“The Cakemaker,” a film about a young German baker who comes to Jerusalem after his married Israeli lover suddenly dies, won the Best Picture award at the 2018 Ophir Awards on Thursday night.

The Best Picture winner at the Ophir Awards, the country’s most prestigious cinema awards ceremony, is traditionally sent on to compete as Israel’s entry for Best Foreign Picture at the Oscars.

“The Cakemaker,”directed by Ofir Raul Graizer, took home six awards, including Best Screenplay, Best Editing and Best Actress, which went to Sarah Adler.

The Best Actor award went to Neveh Tzur for his role in Marco Carmel’s “Noble Savage,” about a troubled 15-year-old boy with an eating disorder. Shira Haas won Best Supporting Actress for her role in “Noble Savage.”

There had been high hopes ahead of the awards ceremony for the film “Flawless,” about three Jerusalem teenage girls, one of whom is transgender, who sell their kidneys to a Ukrainian trafficking ring in order to buy breast implants before their prom.

Tal Granit and Sharon Maymon’s film was nominated for 12 awards, but it took home only three, for Best Makeup, Costumes and Casting.

The biggest snub, though, went to Culture Minister Miri Regev, who wasn’t invited to the Ashdod gala for the second year in a row.

Regev was disinvited from last year’s ceremony after angrily criticizing Samuel Maoz’s “Foxtrot,” a film about IDF soldiers. The film went on to win the Best Picture award and seven other awards.

A year earlier, she angrily stormed out of the ceremony when a poem by late Palestinian writer Mahmoud Darwish was recited.

Regev, who has famously clashed with Israel’s mostly liberal creative community, was not invited to the 2018 ceremony in protest over a law she is pushing that would give her control over what films receive state funding.

Currently, official film funds are responsible for deciding on how to disburse state money. Critics fear Regev will politicize the process and blackball films that don’t fit her right-wing worldview, and Regev’s political machinations came up several times during speeches at the awards ceremony.

In July, Regev said she would cut the film fund budget by NIS 50 million per year after the Knesset shelved her bill.

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