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Over the past ten years, as we have continued to showcase Israeli films, both at the Festival and during our year-round programming, the TJFF programmers have noticed the increasingly sizeable contribution by women to Israel’s film industry. This year, we honour this rich body of work by highlighting new films from both first-time directors and seasoned pros.

Fig Tree, directed by Aäläm-Wärqe Davidian, and Virgins, by Keren Ben Rafael, are two very impressive directorial debuts. The very timely Working Woman is the latest feature by Michal Aviad, who, known for her long list of documentaries, made her foray into feature drama with Invisible starring Ronit Elkabetz, which TJFF screened in 2012.

TJFF also presents several short films, showcasing emerging female voices: the very funny and smart, Offspring by Dana Keidar-Levin and Shirly Sasson-Ezer; Noa, a powerful film produced at the Ma’ale Film School by Shulamit Lifshitz; the cinematically inventive Dreams of Elsewhere by Naama Shohet; as well as the latest short by Noa Gusakov, How to Swim, a wonderfully charming comedy starring Orly Silbersatz and Dina Senderson.

This year also marks the 30th anniversary of the famed Sam Spiegel Film School in Jerusalem, the launching pad for such filmmakers as Talya Lavie (Zero Motivation), Maya Kenig (Off White Lies) and Mihal Brezis (Aya). The school’s founder Renen Schorr will join us for our screening of Voice Over, which will be followed by a panel discussion on the history of female storytelling in Israeli cinema.

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