The Jerusalem Sam Spiegel International Film Lab (JSFL) has unveiled the 12 feature film projects that will participate in its 10th edition, which will run from December 2021 to July 2022.
The selection is split equally between Israeli and international projects.
Israeli plans include Inbar Horesh drama Birthright, which follows a young Russian woman who embarks on a “birthright tour” of Israel, having recently discovered she has Jewish roots during her father’s funeral.
Horesh recently attended the spring 2021 session of the Cannes Film Festival in Paris residency program with the project.
It won the CNC Development Prize in July, awarded by a jury made up of filmmaker Karim Aïnouz, Lincoln Center programmer Florence Almozini and producer Gabrielle Dumon and awarded to projects participating in the residency throughout the year.
Oshri Zeituni to participate with his first feature film American Ice Cream about a young woman living with her fragile and abused mother and brothers in Haifa, who fights her father’s attempts to reunite the family.
Other Israeli participants include Yair Agmon with Come here baby, about a young couple who discover that their unborn child has a serious birth defect; by Roni Kuban Debts, following a 17-year-old boy whose career dreams are threatened by his father’s misfortunes, and that of Aleeza Chanowitz Elka is not a Shiksa about a woman who has 24 hours to save her best friend from what she thinks is a disastrous marriage.
Writer Lev Brodinsky is also present with Milk & Honey about an immigrant teenager living with his family in a temporary caravan site built by the government in the early 1990s.
The international selection fears Zejtune, the second feature film by US-based Maltese director Alex Camilleri following his Sundance Award winner Luzzu. He reunites him with The White Tiger writer and director Ramin Barhani and Rebecca Anastasi, who produced his first feature film.
It revolves around a woman who is introduced to the ancient art of Maltese folk singing when she takes on the responsibility of caring for her previously estranged grandfather.
Albanian director Erenik Beqiri participates with Anear the dark. Set against the Albanian capital of Tirana, it revolves around a young couple whose quest to get married is complicated by the fact that one of them is a vampire.
Belgian director Catherine Cosme attends with Fist fights revolving around a mother and her 12-year-old autistic son, who begins a new stage in his life when he starts a new school and falls in love.
Mathieu Volpe participates with Red gold about a woman who travels from Cameroon to southern Italy to repatriate her son’s body, where she discovers he was living as an exploited as a tomato picker.
Other international projects include Danish director Illum Jacobi Trance mountain, about the wife of an ambassador who escapes from a mental hospital, and the surreal musical comedy by German filmmaker Lillah Halla Flehmen Response in which a broth made from the meat of suicidal horses triggers an unexpected effect.
“We are grateful to continue our intercultural discourse despite the global conditions. I am extremely excited about the 12 new projects – diverse in story and tone, all challenging the cinematic form, ”said Aurit Zamir, Director of JSFL.
Launched in 2011, the lab has supported more than 100 projects to date. Past entrants include Oscar winner Lazlo Nemes Son of Saul, Winner of San Sebastian Gold Seashell from Georgian director Dea Kulumbegashvili Start and Antoneta Kusijanović Murina which won the Camera d’Or at Cannes this year, after a world premiere at the Directors’ Fortnight.
The lab will conclude with a pitching session and awards ceremony in Jerusalem in July. The lab is also planning special events and artistic initiatives that will include contributions from prominent alumni, including Philippe Lacote and Nadev Lapid.
The complete program:
Night fallen (Fr, Albania)
Real. Erenik Beqiri
Prod. Olivier Berlemont, Origine Films (Fr), On Film Production (Al)
American Ice Cream (Isr)
Real. Oshri Zeituni
Production: Kobi Azran, Kobi Azran Productions
Real. Inbar Horesh
Production: Maya Fischer, Green Productions
Come here baby (Isr)
Real. Yair Agmon
Prod. Tal Becher. Yalla Films
Real. Roni Kuban
Producer: David Mandil, Movie Plus Productions
Elka is not a Shiksa (Isr)
Real. Aleeza Chanowitz
Prod. Alona Refua, Green Productions
Fist fights (Bel)
Real. Catherine Cosme
Prod. Julie Esparbes, Hélicotronc
Flehmen Response (German)
Real. Lillah halla
Prod. Julia Niethammer, Chromosom Film GmbH
Milk & Honey (East)
Writer. Lev Brodinsky
Prod. Yael Perlov and Alma Ben Zeev
Red gold (That, Bel)
Real. Mathieu Volpe
Prod. Delphine Tomson, Les Films du Fleuve
Trance mountain (Lair)
Real. Illum Jacobi
Prod. Katja Adomeit, Adomeit Film
Zejtune (Malta, United States)
Real. Alex Camilleri
Prods: Ramin Bahrani, Noruz Films, Rebecca Anastasi, Luzzu