Trio of Israeli films win Pitch Point coin

Jerusalem fest hosted co-production contest

JERUSALEM — Three Israeli film projects were awarded cash to move into production on Monday thanks to the 7th Pitch Point, an international co-production contest at the 29th Jerusalem Film Festival.

Eleven teams got seven minutes each to tubthump their projects before a panel of seven producers and cinephiles, who then met with each team before picking the winners.

To be eligible for Pitch Point, films must have secured one-third of their funding and be ready for screening within three years. Last year, about one-third of the money backing Israeli features came from outside the country.

Serving on the panel were Andre de Margerie, director of international relations for ARTE France; Daniel Leconte, director and founder of Gaul’s Film en Stock; Brit producer Janine Marmot, founder of Hot Property Films; U.S. producer Dan A. Jarvey, founding member of Court 13; Petri Kempinnen, head of production at the Finnish Film Foundation; Tony Wosk, who left the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. after 12 years to found Middle Child Films; and Paul Stephens, co-founder of Canuck shingle The Film Works.

The panelists admitted that choosing only three winners was no easy task.

“Some of the strongest films I’ve seen in the past few years have come out of Israel,” said Marmot.

“A Screw,” from “Jellyfish” helmer Shira Geffen won the French Film Foundation (CNC) award of $8,575. The film traces the lives of an Israeli woman, Efrat, and a Palestinian, Nadine, who switch places when they are confused for one another at a West Bank checkpoint.

The $7,350 prize from Franco-German TV network ARTE was awarded to “Nowhere Man,” from first-time helmer Benjamin Freidenberg, about an Israeli everyman who finds intimacy in a phone-sex hotline.

A new award of about $10,000 from the Van Leer Foundation, headed by Jerusalem Cinematheque founder and former fest director Lia Van Leer, was given to “Away From His Absence,” an exploration of father-daughter incest from “Jaffa” and “Or” director Keren Yedaya.

Jurors also gave a special nod to writer-turned-director Lee Gilat, who brought “Encirclements” to Pitch Point, for, they wrote, “dealing with the complex and rich distinction of an Israeli family.”

A joint initiative of the Israel Film Fund and the Jerusalem Film Festival, Pitch Point is carried out in co-operation with the Joshua Rabinovich Foundation for the Arts in Tel Aviv and the Jerusalem Film and Television Fund.

Past Pitch Point winners include Itai Tamir’s “The Policeman,” Samuel Maoz’s “Lebanon,” and Assi Dayan’s “Dr. Pomerantz.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • German Cinema Is Diverse, But Is

    German Cinema Is Varied, But Is It Too Risk Averse?

    One of the strengths of German cinema is its diversity, says Simone Baumann, managing director of the national film promotion agency German Films. As well as the three films at Toronto directed by female German helmers, there was also German filmmaker Thomas Heise’s documentary film essay “Heimat Is a Space in Time.” Then there were [...]

  • Female Filmmakers in Germany Make Progress

    Female Filmmakers Surge Forward in Germany, But Still Face Obstacles

    Four feature films by German filmmakers screened at the Toronto Film Festival, and three of them were directed by women – Angela Schanelec’s “I Was at Home, But…,” winner of the Berlinale’s best director prize, Ina Weisse’s “The Audition,” and Katrin Gebbe’s “Pelican Blood,” the latter two both starring Nina Hoss. Germany’s Oscar entry this [...]

  • Bull

    Annie Silverstein's 'Bull' Takes Top Awards, Robert Pattinson Starrer 'The Lighthouse' Wins Jury Prize at Deauville

    Annie Silverstein’s feature debut “Bull” swept three awards at the 45th Deauville American Film Festival, including the Grand Prize, the Revelation Prize for best first film and the Critics’ Prize. “Bull,” a portrait of a rebellious teenage girl from South Texas, world premiered at Cannes’s Un Certain Regard and marks Silverstein’s follow up to her [...]

  • Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez star

    Jennifer Lopez's 'Criminal' Striptease: How 'Hustlers' Landed the Fiona Apple Hit

    Contrary to what you might be expecting, the number of songs by Jennifer Lopez, Lizzo and Cardi B in “Hustlers,” their newly released acting vehicle, adds up to … zero. Meanwhile, the standout music sync in a movie that’s full of them belongs to no less likely a choice than Fiona Apple. The scene in [...]

  • Game of Thrones Season 8

    'Game of Thrones,' 'Avengers' Win Big at 45th Annual Saturn Awards

    As Jamie Lee Curtis picked up her first trophy ever at the 45th Annual Saturn Awards Friday night, she had a good luck charm on her arm: former manager Chuck Binder, whom she said was the reason she became an actor. “I was in college and had no thought of being an actor,” Curtis told [...]

  • Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu star

    Box Office: 'Hustlers' Dances Toward $32 Million Opening Weekend

    “Hustlers” is eyeing the biggest opening weekend ever for STXFilms, following a Friday domestic ticket haul of $13.1 million from 3,250 theaters. If estimates hold, the stripper saga could take home around $32 million come Sunday, marking the best live-action opening of Jennifer Lopez’s career. “Hustlers” follows a group of former strip club dancers, led [...]

  • Hustlers intimacy coordinator

    Meet the Stripper Consultant Who Gave 'Hustlers' Authenticity, Dignity and Sexual Freedom

    At last week’s Toronto Film Festival premiere of “Hustlers,” an audience of Hollywood heavyweights and Canadian locals applauded as a statuesque woman strutted on stage, rocking six-inch platform heels and a pastel tie-dye bodysuit. This adoration was not for stars Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu or Keke Palmer, nor was it for the film’s acclaimed writer-director [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content