Locarno Film Festival Changes Name of Israeli Cinema Showcase in Response to Criticism

Locarno 68th Edition Festival Poster
Courtesy Locarno Film Festival

The Locarno Film Fest has changed the name of its special showcase on Israel films in a bid to quell anti-Israeli critics, Israeli media reported Thursday.

Six unfinished Israeli titles will bow at the Swiss fest next month, offering a platform for the Jewish State’s vibrant film industry to show off some of its most promising works in progress. Locarno’s spotlight program has been called Carte Blanche in previous years, but this year the fest has scrapped that name and redubbed it First Look. The decision came after members of the international film community threatened to boycott the fest because of its partnership with the Israeli government-funded Israel Film Fund.

“In light of some of the reactions that this year’s edition has provoked, the festival has decided to change the name of the initiative, renaming it ‘First Look,’ as the previously used ‘Carte Blanche’ did not reflect accurately enough the way in which the project is organized and gave rise to misinterpretations,” Israeli newspaper Haaretz quoted Fest organizers as saying. “The nature of the project dedicated to Israeli cinema is not a ‘carte blanche,’ since it is not a platform offered to the State of Israel or to the Israel Film Fund, and because the choice of films in post-production is solely down to the festival’s artistic directorate.”

These are the selected Israeli titles screening at Locarno:

– “A Quiet Heart” (Lev Shaket) by Eitan Anner, produced by Gal Greenspan (GreenProductions)
– “Ewa,” by Haim Tabakman, produced by David Silber (Metro Communication) and Ronen Ben Tal (Plan B)
– “Hope” (Amal) by Miya Hatav, produced by Elad Peleg and Haggai Arad (Daroma Productions)
– “Our Father” (Avinu) by Meni Yaesh, produced by Marek Rozenbaum (Transfax Films Production)
– “Sand Storm” (Sufat Chol) by Elite Texer, produced by Haim Mecklberg and Estee Mecklberg (2–Team Productions)
– “The 90 Minute War” (Milhemet 90 Hadakot) by Eyal Halfon, produced by Assaf Amir (Norma Productions) and Steve Hudson (Gringo Films GmbH)