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

  • Hugh Jackman Sings Happy Birthday to

    Hugh Jackman Leads Massive One-Man Show Crowd in 'Happy Birthday' for Ian McKellen

    Hugh Jackman may have had to skip Ian McKellen’s birthday party to perform his one-man show, “The Man, The Music, The Show,” but that didn’t mean he couldn’t celebrate his “X-Men” co-star’s 80th. Jackman took a moment at the Manchester Arena Saturday to lead the sold-out audience — some 50,000 strong — in a rendition [...]

  • Aladdin

    'Aladdin' Dominates International Box Office With $121 Million

    Disney’s “Aladdin” is showing plenty of worldwide drawing power with $121 million overseas for the weekend, opening in first place in nearly all international markets. The reboot of the 1992 animated classic has received strong family attendance with a significant gain on Saturday and Sunday. China leads the way with an estimated $18.7 million for [...]

  • Aladdin

    Box Office: 'Aladdin' Taking Flight With $105 Million in North America

    Disney’s live-action “Aladdin” is flying high with an estimated $105 million in North America during the four-day Memorial Day holiday weekend. It’s the sixth-highest Memorial Day weekend total ever, topping the 2011 mark of $103.4 million for “The Hangover Part II.” The top total came in 2007, when “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” [...]

  • Agustina San Martin Talks Cannes Special

    Agustina San Martin Talks Cannes Special Mention Winner ‘Monster God’

    CANNES – An exploration of the ramifications of God, “Monster God,” from Argentina’s Agustina San Martín, took a Special Mention – an effective runner’s up prize – on Saturday night at this year’s Cannes Film Festival short film competition. It’s not difficult to see why, especially when jury president Claire Denis own films’ power resists [...]

  • Atlantics

    Netflix Snags Worldwide Rights to Cannes Winners 'Atlantics,' 'I Lost My Body'

    Mati Diop’s feature directorial debut “Atlantics” and Jérémy Clapin’s animated favorite “I Lost My Body” have both been acquired by Netflix following wins at Cannes Film Festival. “Atlantics” was awarded the grand prix while “I Lost My Body” was voted the best film at the independent International Critics Week. The deals are for worldwide rights [...]

  • Stan Lee, left, and Keya Morgan

    Stan Lee's Former Business Manager Arrested on Elder Abuse Charges

    Stan Lee’s former business manager, Keya Morgan, was arrested in Arizona Saturday morning on an outstanding warrant from the Los Angeles Police Department. The LAPD’s Mike Lopez confirmed that the arrest warrant was for the following charges: one count of false imprisonment – elder adult; three counts of grand theft from elder or dependent adult, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content