Sand Storm is chosen to represent Israel at the Oscars
by Fran Royo
- Elite Zexer's drama will represent Israel in running for the 2017 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Feature after receiving Israel's Ophir Award
While different countries have different ways of selecting their Oscar entries, Israel chooses to automatically send winner of the Ophir Award. As such, Sand Storm [+see also:
film profile] will represent represent the country in the race for the Oscar for the Best Foreign Language Feature after being proclaimed as the best Israeli film of 2016.
Young Israeli director Elite Zexer worked with both Jewish and Arab communities for her latest production, Sand Storm, which explores women struggling in a patriarchal society through the story of Layla, played by Lamis Ammar, whose love affair with a young man outside of her tribe challenges the traditions of her Bedouin mother and father.
The film, which entered the competition with more nominations than any other, won the Ophir Award over its rivals, One Week and a Day, by Asaph Polonsky, Our Father, by Meny Yaesh, Beyond the Mountains and Hills [+see also:
film profile] by Eran Kolirin and Through the Wall by Rama Burshtein. Her victory will make Zexer the second female director to represent Isreal at the Oscars in the last three years, following the late Ronit Elkabetz and her title, Gett, the Trial of Viviane Amsalem [+see also:
Between 2007 and 2011, Israel had a string of three straight nominations, and four in five years, with Beaufort, Waltz With Bashir [+see also:
film profile], Ajami [+see also:
film profile] and Footnote. But the nation has not been nominated since then. Over the last 52 years of submissions, ten Israeli films have been nominated for the Oscars, though none have ever won. Perhaps Sand Storm is the country’s big chance.