Culture Vulture – Prize and Prejudice
A photographed journey among Israeli families with Reli and Avner Avrahami – ony two weeks left before this amazing exhibit closes at The Eretz Israel Museum. For a decade photographer Reli Avrahami and journalist Avner Avrahami’s page, Family Affair, was published in Haaretz. Recently it moved to Maariv. The two visited the homes of hundreds of families in Israel, documenting their history, way of life, homes, beliefs, and dreams. Following numerous requests sent to the paper’s editorial board, the definition of the page was expanded to “all those living under one roof.” Thus the gates opened to those sharing rented apartments, incarcerated in prison, living in detox facilities, members of pre-army communes, etc. The photographs are a point of departure for the accompanying text, which takes the reader back to the photograph for additional and deeper inspection.
Visual Theater and Performance Art Festival – prepare yourselves for one of the wackier theatrical events of the year, the remarkable Festival that happens (primarily) at Teatron Clipa in Tel Aviv – this year the dates are 22 February through 2 March, and because many of the performance spaces are tiny – you should definitely book tickets in advance. Shows are coming in from Australia, Greece, Germany, France and of course Israel – performances and workshops galore.
New appointments and prizes in the dance world
The Bat Sheva dance company announced this week that Adi Salant who for the past four years has been working as Assistant Artistic Director and Rehearsal Manager of the company, has been promoted to joint Artistic Director alongside Ohad Naharin. Salant danced for twelve years at Bat Dor, and then joined the Bat Sheva ensemble. Other news for Bat Sheva this week is that the Minister of Culture and Sport’s Prize for Dance for 2012 has been awarded to the company for their work “Sadeh 21”. The NIS100,000 will be split 40% to the company and 60% to the performers. In other dance news the Minister’s Life Time Achievement Award for Dance (of NIS70,000) was awarded to the dance theoretician Rut Eshel. The awards for young choreographers, each of NIS30,000 were awarded to Daffy Altabeb, Idan Cohen and Michal Herman.
Recognized by Israeli journalists as one of the most important websites for assessing what is really happening in the journalism and media worlds in Israel – this week received the 13th annual Abramovitch Award for being a remarkably important media watchdog.
New appointments at Channel 10
Recently saved from closure, Channel 10 is now steaming ahead with new and impressive appointments. Last week Raffi Ginat (of Kolbotek fame) was appointed CEO of the channel, and this week a new CEO of Channel 10 News was appointed – Golan Yochpaz. Yochpaz is a journalist with a great track record, as editor of Channel 2’s Friday night news magazine and as a long time anchor for news programs on Galei Tsahal. Channel 10 News has suffered, like the rest of the channel from serious shock-waves over the past few years, and the hope is that Yochpaz will bring stability to the ship that almost sunk. The question is, for those of us (me) who are addicted to his radio work, is he still going to still be giving us our news fix on Galei Tsahal every morning? Not clear….
Dror Moreh makes waves on the way to the Oscars
In an interview this week with CNN, the director of the documentary The Gatekeepers managed to kick up some dust as he made it very clear in his opinion that politicians like Bibi Netanyahu were complicit in Yitzhak Rabin’s murder by playing a central part in the public atmosphere that led up to the assassination. He talked with Christiane Amanpour about how he thought that right wing rabbis and politicians who headed the rallies also bear a level of guilt for their actions, even if not as guilty as Yigal Amir who sits in jail for the murder. A spokesperson for Netanyahu told CNN that the prime minister had not seen The Gatekeepers and currently had no plans to do so.
Moreh dismissed claims that his movie hurts Israel’s image, saying that “this is the most pro-Israeli movie I’ve made. It is a credit to Israel’s freedom of speech. And it has stirred things up, which is definitely good.” Moreh said that he was inspired to make the film after being told by Dov Weisglass, Ariel Sharon’s former chief of staff, that Sharon’s decision to carry out the disengagement from Gaza was influenced by an interview given in 2003 by four former Shin Bet chiefs who said that his policies were leading Israel to a disaster. Moreh said that he knew from the outset that his interview with six former heads of the Shin Bet “would be dynamite and would create the kind of stir that it already has.”
Moving on to the Huffington Post, Moreh talked about the unrelenting love that North American Jews have for the State of Israel, and how their consequent lack of critique of Israeli government policies, is truly damaging for the State of Israel, and “is leading it to an apartheid country.” He went on to say “By not criticizing it, by accepting everything Israel does politically, and especially towards the conflict, they are damaging their own goal to protect the State of Israel as a safe haven for them.” OK – not rocket science I know, but to some North American Jewish ears, it is still way beyond acceptable. Still calling it “Israel’s Oscar Nominee”?
MasterChef Israel finale smashes TV rating records
The third season of MasterChef, the Israeli version of the U.K.-based cooking reality show, broke records this week, drawing in the highest ratings for a single TV episode in Israeli history. At its peak, some 52.3 percent of Israel’s Jewish households were tuned in to the show, in which Tom Franz, a German immigrant to Israel, beat fellow competitors Salma Fiyumi and Jackie Azoulay to take the title. Overall, the program reached a record-breaking audience of 46.6 percent of Israel’s Jewish population. Based on initial ratings figures compiled by the Israel Audience Research Board, the show’s finale, which aired on Channel 2 concessionaire Keshet, earned the highest rating for a single TV episode and was the most-watched Israeli reality TV finale ever.
Cinematic Treasures Dumped on the Streets
On Monday of this week, if you had walked past the site of the old Mograbi Cinema in Tel Aviv, you would have seen a very strange sight. Piles and piles of metal canisters containing old celluloid film, some in good condition, and some damaged, lying out on the street near the corner of Allenby and Ben Yehuda. The antique and flea market dealers swooped like vultures, sadly much faster than the director of the Tel Aviv Cinemateque, who “couldn’t find a van to take the films to the Israel Film Archive”…. The films were the collection of the deceased film producer Asfir Sasson who owned a movie production company called Sirtei Sasson (Sasson Flms). Films such as Rotseach Sachir (Hired Killer), HaSatan Haya Malach (Satan Was an Angel) and 7 Nashim Erotiot (7 Erotic Women) were amongst the films produced by Sasson, and as I assume you have guessed they never made it into the Oscar nominations. According to Alon Garbuz, director of the Tel Aviv Cinemteque, Sasson mainly produced B movies, adopting an Indian or Turkish style, kid flicks, melodramas and Westerns, that played mainly in small cinemas in the periphery. Sasson died in October 2012, and this week his family emptied out his rented office in Tel Aviv and simply dumped everything – films, posters, and banners out on the sidewalk.