2018 Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival celebrates women in cinema

Twentieth edition of festival draws film students and distinguished Israeli and international directors

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The Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival — one of the largest and most influential student film festivals in the world, according to CILECT, the International Association of Film and Television Schools — celebrated its 20th edition June 10-16 at the Cinematheque and other Tel Aviv and Jaffa locations.

“We focused on women in film,” said Danielle Angel, co-director of this year’s festival with Ori Aharon. “Fourteen of the 26 student films in the Israeli competition were made by women. Nelly Tagar, our opening ceremony emcee, is a woman. The opening teaser for the festival, which is screened before each program, deals with being a female filmmaker today. And both films screened at the opening ceremony — Rachel by Or Sinai and How to Swim by Noa Gusakov — are by women and based on personal narratives about women’s experiences.”

Among the prize-winning films were Invisibly by Hungarian film student Àron Szentpéteri, Well Done by Aryeh Asfari and Omer Ben Simon of TAU’s Steve Tisch School of Film and Television, and Intergalactic Samurai by filmmaker and actress Hagar Ben Asher.

The festival was founded by students from Tel Aviv University‘s Steve Tisch School of Film and Television in 1986 and is now an annual event supported by the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality, the Israel Film Council and Tel Aviv University. The Tisch School is the only film school in the world where student filmmakers own the rights to their student films. The School’s admission policy is equally unique. All qualified applicants — high school graduates with appropriate college entrance exam scores, etc. — are admitted to the first-year BFA program. Sixty-five students are invited to continue on to the second year, after faculty and lecturers have had the opportunity to gauge the quality and artistic merit of their work.

TAU President Prof. Joseph Klafter recognized Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, Dean of the Faculty of Arts Zvika Serper, Head of the Steve Tisch School of Film and Television Prof. Raz Yosef and others who were at the opening ceremony.

“Tonight we are celebrating the festival’s 20th edition, in which it continues to promote young and original work,” Prof. Klafter said. “Each year the festival presents the future generation of local and international cinema and preserves the spirit of innovation and creativity by integrating students from the various faculties in all the management and production aspects of the festival.”

The 2018 festival showcased more than 100 short films from 28 countries and drew more than 100 film students, filmmakers and directors from around the world for special screenings, master classes and cultural pop-up events across the city. The festival’s unique Film Bus, a traveling theater that brings the short films to all parts of the country, made its seventh nationwide circuit.

Special guests this year included some of the world’s most distinguished filmmakers: BAFTA-winning writer and director Jacques Audiard, award-winning Mexican filmmaker Carlos Reygadas, Greek filmmaker Athina Rachel Tsangari, American producer Adam Mirels, Hungarian actor and director Kornél Mundruczó, Hungarian playwright and scriptwriter Kata Wéber and Romanian film editor Dana Bunescu.

The festival, in cooperation with Israeli fashion house Renuar, also highlighted the special connection between cinema and fashion. A variety of fashion-centric lectures by designers and international stylists and screenings of fashion films were held across the city. A masterclass with speakers from Keshet International and Yes Studios on the success of Israeli TV was among the best attended festival events.

The 2018 festival showcased more than 100 short films from 28 countries and drew more than 100 film students, filmmakers and directors from around the world.