Haifa's top prize goes to Asaf Korman's debut feature, Next to Her
by Daniel Litani
- The title was awarded three major prizes at the Haifa Festival
The 30th Haifa International Film Festival ended yesterday with a clear winner: Asaf Korman's debut feature, Next to Her (read the review), won the three major prizes: the Best Israeli Feature Film; Liron Ben-Shlush won the script prize; and the film also won the Directors of Tomorrow Prize. The jury stated: "The film is delicately woven with many nuances creating a sensitive portrait of a very complex relationship. The script manages to outline a story about compassion and love in all its forms."
Ben-Shlush, Asaf Korman's wife and the scriptwriter of the film, who also plays the lead character, Chelli, portrays a security guard who is raising her mentally disabled younger sister, Gabby (Dana Ivgy), on her own. Chelli devotes her life to looking after her sister. When she is forced to put her in a special institute, a gap is created in Chelli’s life, allowing a man to enter it; but the complex relationship with her sister ends in an unhealthy love triangle. The producers of the film are Haim Mecklberg and Estee Yacov-Mecklberg, while the associate producers are Moshe Edery, Leon Edery and Yigal Mograbi.
The Debut Feature Film Award went to Sophie Artus for her film Valley. The movie also won Best Actor, awarded to Nave Zur. "The film reveals realistic violent situations in the Israeli periphery, while keeping the right rhythm, fine cinematic language and fine editing. Nave creates a very hard role which develops gradually over 90 minutes. From an unpopular figure he manages gradually to evoke sympathy and respect among the viewers," the jury said. The film tells the story of three teenagers from a remote town in Israel who face violence at home and at school. It was directed by Artus, and was produced by David Mandil, Moshe Edery and Leon Edery.