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Launching of testimony films and Prizes awarding to young cinema creators - F. Summer Entraide

At five o’clock in the afternoon of Monday, January 25, 2010, dozens of Holocaust survivors and their families assembled on the Massuah campus to celebrate the launching of 40 half-hour testimony films produced in the framework of one the special projects Massuah has undertaken together with the Claims Committee. These films will build an educational infrastructure for the Ministry of Education in Israel and education systems in the Diaspora.

The Holocaust survivors and their families whose films were shown received a copy of the edited films; in addition they watched summaries of the testimonies screened in the adjacent hall. Reuven Merchav, Chairperson of the Claims Committee, spoke as well as Aya Ben-Naftali, Director General of the Massuah Institute of Holocaust Studies, who spoke about the importance of these personal testimonies for memorializing the Holocaust; they also serve as a first-rate educational tool.

The second part of the event followed with the awarding of prizes to the young cinema creators. Over the past year Massuah called for young cinema creators to submit their filmm for the contest, which comprised two sections; one was designed for university students and the other for high school students.

The panel of judges comprised: The panel of judges comprised: Ayala Benjamin, Foundation Summer Entraide,  David Fisher, member of Massuah’s executive committee and chairman of the Israeli Foundation for Television and Cinema; Dorit Balin, head supervisor of cinema and communications in the Ministry of Education, writer and playwright, Nava Semel, and director Yahli Bergman.

The prizes were donated by the Swiss foundation, Summer Entraide.

The films “My War” and “Closing a Circle” were awarded prizes among the high schools students.

My War” – produced by the Omer Comprehensive High School, won the best film prize for cinematic excellence.

Plot: the film deals with three generations in contemporary Israel: a child who is afraid of the rockets fired from Gaza, a high school student who is debating whether to enlist in the army on grounds of conscience, a father, who is a patriot who fought in all of Israel’s battles’ and a grandmother who is Holocaust survivor.

Closing a Circle” – produced by the Gan Yavneh Comprehensive High School awarded the school a prize for social excellence.

Plot: The story of Mrs. Kroituro whose father left her and her sister in an orphan asylum and disappeared. For the first time in her life she visits Yad Vashem and tells her story.

The judges’ decision: The prize should be granted to the cinema departments in schools for encouraging their students to deal with memorializing the Holocaust and the stories of survivors. The film was produced with a great deal of sensitivity and subtlety, and portrays the difficulty in exposing the atrocities which the Holocaust survivors suffered, and their wish to protect their dear ones from this terrible information, on the one hand, and teaches about the importance of passing the story on to the next generations, on the other.

The young cinema creators who won prizes:

A Slice of Bread” won the prize for encouraging cinematic creativity

Creator: Gomeh Ravid

Genre: short film, drama

Summary: A slice of bread – that is all that the protagonist has in his possession. He hears calls in the night, a child calling, exhausted from hunger. He asks for a slice of bread, based on a story written by Yehoshua Vigorsky,“In the Rain.”

The judges’ decision: a beautiful artistic film, the choice of the protagonist is fascinating, the film transfers a sense of distress and sadness, and manages to touch the spectator.

My Earth,” – won the prize for best story

Creator: Shachaf Michael

Genre: drama (60 minutes)

Plot: Eli, a disabled IDF soldier, shuts himself up in the house and claims that he has a box which contains the writings of the angel Gabriel. He is suspected of having scattered explosives around the house. His brother, Arnon, goes into the house to try to persuade him to go outside. While they talk we go back in time to their childhood. Things become blurred as the two are somewhere between fiction and reality, and profound questions are raised about the ethics and morality of the decision makers about the land in Israel. The film’s central theme is the theft of the land which Holocaust survivors purchased before the war.

Playground – first prize in the video art category

Creator: Rinat Edelstein

Plot: Location – the Holocaust memorial in Berlin. From the very fact that the memorial is situated in the heart of Berlin’s vibrant tourist center, we conclude about the importance of memorializing the Holocaust in German memory. On the other hand, the choice of location provides the average tourist with a touristic attraction. The memorial spans 19,000 square meters, and is built of concrete block of varying heights. Looking in from the outside the place looks seems like tombstones in a cemetery. From the inside, a kind of maze is created that is somewhat confusing; it also turns into a playground. The video art work focuses on the playing that goes on in the memorial. The images and voices are not staged – a child runs, hides, shouts, searches. The double game between real fun in the present and the images of the past, seeks to undermine the tourist attraction and make us remember what really happened.

Monday 25 January, 2010
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