×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Pini Tavger’s ‘Pinhas’ Wins Sixth Edition of Sam Spiegel Film Lab

Pini Tavger’s “Pinhas,” a film project exploring the Jewish identity through the eyes of a 12-year old boy, won the top prize at the sixth edition of Sam Spiegel International Film Lab, a program running alongside Jerusalem Film Festival.

“Pinhas,” which marks the feature debut of actor-director Tavger and is based on his student short film, received a production grant worth $50,000 from the Beracha Foundation. Haim Mecklberg (pictured above with Tavger) at Tel Aviv-based outfit 2-Team Productions (“Sand Storm”) is producing.

The project centers on a young boy, Pinhas, and his hard-working, heretic mother who are new immigrants from Russia living in Israel. The story revolves around Pinhas’s relationship with a religious man who helps him find a sense of belonging and initiate him to judaism against his mother’s will.

The Sam Spiegel Lab’s jury was presided over Hengameh Panahi, the founder and president of Paris-based outfit Celluloid Dreams, and included Beki Probst, president of the European Film Market, Carlo Chatrian, Locarno’s director, Laurent Hassid, the head of foreign film acquisition at Canal Plus, Cédomir Kolar (“Album”), Katriel Schory, the director of the Israel Film Fund, and Vincenzo Bugno, project manager of the World Cinema Fund.

“A fascinating sensitive and conflictual script based on semi-autobiographic hardships beautifully presented through a scene for the upcoming film; and an emotional presentation that touched the audience,” said the jury about “Pinhas.”

Tavger previously directed “Tipot,” a short film that was part of the Israeli-Palestinian omnibus feature which opened Venice Film Festival in 2012.

The Sam Spiegel Lab handed out its second prize of $20,000 (also from the Beracha Foundation) to two projects: “Naked Sky,” directed by Dea Kulumbegashvili and produced by Rati Oneli, and “Highway 65,” directed by Maya Dreifuss and produced by Estee-Yacov Mecklberg.

The initiative, launched in 2011 by Renen Schorr, the venerable founding director of Sam Spiegel Film and Television school – with the help of associate director Ifat Tubi — allows filmmakers to work on the scripts of their first or second feature for 6 months with high-profile mentors, such as Clare Downs, Jacques Akchoti and Eran Riklis.

So far, as much as 75% of the Lab’s projects have been shot in the U.S., France, Germany, Israel, Argentine, Sri Lanka and Iceland, among other places, and have world premiered at festivals such as Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Tribeca and Sundance. Laszlo Nemes (“Son of Saul”), Nadav Lapid (“The Kindergarten Teacher”) and Burhan Qurbani (“We Are Young. We Are Strong”) for instance participated in previous editions of Sam Spiegel Lab.

This year’s Sam Spiegel Lab event gathered more than 30 top international film industry professionals, including sales agents, distributors, festival programmers and festivals.

In 2016, Sam Spiegel Lab’s top prize was awarded to Yona Rozenkier’s feature debut “Decompression,” a comedy-laced drama about an unemployed young family man who is forced to embark on a cross-country road trip with his estranger father in Israel.

“Decompression” is back at the festival this year as part of the Pitch Point conference, another industry event organized alongside the festival.

More Film

  • Aquaman

    China Box Office: ‘Aquaman’ Sinks All Challengers With $94 Million Opening

    The decision to release “Aquaman” in China two weeks prior to its North American outing paid off handsomely. The DC Comics adaptation achieved a massive $94.1 million opening in three days, according to data from Asian entertainment consultancy Artisan Gateway. The early release meant that the film played against weak opposition – tired Hollywood and [...]

  • Alfonso Cuarón, Emmanuel Lubezki Discuss the

    Alfonso Cuarón Details 'Roma' Cinematography With 'Gravity' DP Emmanuel Lubezki

    As part of an overall push to bring Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” to awards season voters, Netflix’s “‘Roma’ Experience'” played host to guild and Academy members Sunday in Hollywood. The all-day event featured panels focused on the film’s crafts and an audio-visual installation akin to the streamer’s FYSee initiative for Emmy contenders, featuring costumes and art [...]

  • IFFAM: Erik Matti Hatches Plans for

    IFFAM: Erik Matti Hatches Plans for ‘On The Job’ Franchise

    Filipino director Erik Matti is known for his eclectic body of work that includes “Honor Thy Father” and “Seklusyon.” His 2013 effort, “On The Job” travelled widely and won several awards including two at the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival, and was nominated for an SACD Prize at the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight. Matti is at [...]

  • Joan Chen attends the season premiere

    Joan Chen Talks Diversity in Hollywood, Welcomes #MeToo

    Chinese-American actress, writer and director Joan Chen says that she was flattered when Time magazine described her as the “Elizabeth Taylor of China.” When asked at an in-conversation event in Singapore on Saturday whether she paved the way for Chinese actresses to follow in Hollywood, Chen said, “We never go to work because we want [...]

  • Kyzza Terrazas Joins Garcia Bernal, Diego

    Kyzza Terrazas Joins Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna’s La Corriente del Golfo (EXCLUSIVE)

    BUENOS AIRES — Launching their new production house, La Corriente de Golfo, last April, Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna have tapped Mexican writer-director Kyzza Terrazas as the company’s head of development. The appointment will certainly help build the company appointing an old-rounder capable of overseeing and implementing development, writing and directing, and a longtime [...]

  • IFFAM Actress in Focus: Yao Chen

    IFFAM Actress in Focus: Yao Chen Talks Performing, Producing and Public Pressure

    Macao’s Actress in Focus is a woman who has trained as a boxer, likes British actors, especially Benedict Cumberbatch and Jeremy Irons, and is now setting out her stall as a producer. Yao Chen has built a career over 20 years thanks to TV shows including “My Own Swordsman,” and films including “If You Are [...]

  • Bradley Liew's 'Motel Acacia' Shoots After

    Cautionary Tale, 'Motel Acacia' Under Way After Four Years of Development

    Production has begun on Malaysian director Bradley Liew’s upscale horror film “Motel Acacia.” With a clearly topical message, the film features a hotel bed that eats immigrants. Actor, JC Santos called it: “A cautionary tale of what’s going to happen in the future.” Indonesian star, Nicholas Saputra said the he agreed to the role “because [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content