Oren Adaf’s ‘Darwin’ Wins Sam Spiegel Alumni Fund for First Film

JERUSALEM, Israel — Oran Adaf’s feature debut project, “Darwin,” has won the Sam Spiegel alumni fund for first features award.

The award comes with a grant – Israel’s largest — of $100,000 and will be shared by Adaf and his producer Eitan Mansuri.

“Darwin” was selected by a jury comprising Carlo Chatrian, Locarno film festival’s artistic director, Israeli director Joseph Cedar, ZDF’s chief exec Meinolf Zurhorst, Rabinovich Film Fund’s artistic director Yoav Abramovich, French distributor Michele Halberstadt (ARP Selection) and Sam Spiegel school’s founding director Renen Schorr.

“The screenplay was chosen for its originality, boldness and unique writing.
The director’s submission of a scene from the film to be, showed great promise and a unique artistic stamp,” said the jury about “Darwin.”

The grant is provided by the Sam Spiegel film school and Paris-based distribution company ARP Selection which has acquired French distribution rights to “Darwin,” whose script was developed at the 2015 Sam Spiegel Lab.

An Israeli director, Adaf previously directed the short film “In Praise of the Day” as his thesis film. The semi-autobiographical short which deals with homosexuality and takes place in Jerusalem’s Independence Park competed at Berlin and 2013 and won best film at Tel Aviv Student Film Festival.

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The 2016 Sam Spiegel Film Lab’s pitching event kicks off July 8 in Jerusalem. Hosted alongside the Jerusalem International Film Festival, the Sam Spiegel lab will present 11 projects to industry players, including Dylan Leiner, senior VP of acquisitions at Sony Pictures Classics, Adam Berkowitz, CAA agent, Remi Burah, managing director of Arte France Cinema, Caroline Benjo, c-founder/producer at Haut et Court, Vanessa Saal, head of worldwide sales at Protagonist Pictures, Guillaume de Seille, producer at Arizona Films and Michel Zana, producer at Sophie Dulac.

This edition’s high-profile jury is chaired by Polish cinematographer Slawomir Idziak, topper of Cannes’ Critics’ Week Charles Tesson, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg’s director Kirsten Niehuus, Israel Film Fund’s director Katriel Schory, Celluloid Dreams’ president Hengameh Panahi, Pyramide Films president Eric Lagesse, Eurimages’s exec director Roberto Olla and Haut et Court producer Carole Scotta.

The Sam Spiegel Lab’s competing projects are made up of five international projects and give Israeli ones.

The international selection includes Gonzalo Tobal’s “Dolores,” produced by Argentina’s Rei Cine, Serhat Karaalsan’s “Passed by Censor,” produced by Turkey’s 90 Film Production, Bibhusan Basnet and Pooja Gurung’s “The Whole Timers,” produced by France’s Les Films du Tambour, Jow Zhi Wei’s “Tomorrow is a Long Time,” produced by Singapore’s Akanga Film Asia and Mikko Myllylahti’s “The Woodcutter’s Story,” produced by Finland’s Aamu Film Company.

The Israeli projects competing are Orit Fouks Rotem’s “Cinema Sabaya,” produced by Green Productions, Yona Rozenkier’s “Decompression,” produced by Kobi Mizrahi Productions, Asaf Austin’s “Desert’s End,” produced by 2-Team Productions, Noam Ellis’s “Girl and Child,” produced by EGG Productions, Margarita Linton-Balakav’s “Life is Anywhere Else,” produced by 2-Team Productions and Shai Caemeli Pollak’s “Voice of the Sea,” produced by Frescofilms.

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