Sam Spiegel International Film Lab Sets New Director, Unveils Fresh Project Selection

Israel’s Sam Spiegel International Film Lab has appointed a new director and unveiled the projects selected for its 11th edition, running from now until the early summer.

Film industry veteran Mor Eldar has taken up the role of the lab’s director with immediate effect, replacing producer Aurit Zamir who arrived in 2020.

Eldar’s 20-year career includes launching and directing the Holon Cinematheque as well as holding the roles of VP of programming and commissioning editor of films at YES Satellite TV and heading theatrical marketing and distribution at leading Israeli distributor Lev Cinemas.

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A dozen projects will take part in the new Lab cycle, split 50:50 between Israeli and international projects.

International projects span French-Italian director Amelia Nanni’s At The Edge Of The World, about a young girl sent to spend the summer with her Italian grandparents in a small village inhabited only by elderly residents; Greek director Nikos Kyritsis’s teen fatherhood tale Baby, and Swedish filmmaker Jerry Carlsson’s Fires, about a lonely teenager grappling with questions of identity.

From Italy, Damiano Femfert and Tommaso Landucci will participate with Children of the Monkey, about a father who finds himself forming a stronger bond with his nephew than his disabled son; Hungarian director Hajni Kis’s Ich Bin Marika, following a woman in her 50s who moves to Germany to work as a caregiver for an elderly couple, and North Macedonia filmmaker Marija Apcevska’s Spring Cleaning, about a prodigal daughter who returns to her hometown following her mother’s suicide.

Israeli participants span Timna Perets South Tel Aviv-set, coming-of-age tale Aranchi And Reem; Nachman Picovsky & Tamar Kay’s immigrant family saga Bris; Rita Borodiyanski’s Checkpoints, about a girl who takes a job in border control to escape abuse, through which she sacrifices Palestinian girls in the same situation; Oz Zirlin’s Exile, consisting of three interlocked stories of redemption; Nitzan Rozen’s Striker No. 7, about a Palestinian soccer player who is signed by the notoriously racist Beitar Jerusalem soccer club, and Mor Hanay’s The Update, set in a world where people can order their ideal cyborg partner.

In its first decade of existence, the lab helped scored of feature film projects come to fruition, including Lazlo Nemes’s Academy Award-winning Son of Saul, to the Camera d’Or winner Murina by Antoneta Kusijanović and Nadav Lapid’s Ahed’s Knee, which won the Cannes Jury Prize in 2021.

The lab is run under the auspices of the Sam Spiegel Film School and takes place on its new premises in central Jerusalem.

The Jerusalem Sam Spiegel International Film Lab is supported by Beracha Foundation; the Rothschild Foundation; the Jerusalem Development Authority; The Jerusalem Film Fund; Mifal HaPayis; The Department of Culture and Sport; Factory 54; the Israel Foreign Ministry and the Sam Spiegel Foundation. 

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