Two films by Israelis win awards at Toronto fest

Prizes were announced at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sunday, and two films by Israelis were among the winners.

Fig Tree, the debut feature by Alamork Davidian, won the Audentia Award for Best Female Director, presented by the festival and the Council of Europe’s Eurimages Fund, which comes with a €30,000 cash prize.

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The movie is based on the director’s own experiences growing up in Ethiopia and moving to Israel. The judges said in a statement that Fig Tree “takes us on an unsentimental journey and shows us the tragic effects of civil war on ordinary people. Confidently directed with grit and compassion, Fig Tree is a beautifully rendered, big hearted story about a Jewish teenage girl’s attempt to save those she loves, but it’s also an intimate coming-of-age story of self-discovery and female empowerment.”

The movie will have its Israeli premiere at the Haifa International Film Festival, which opens on September 22.

The prize of the International Federation of Film Critics, the FIPRESCI – Special Presentations Prize, went to Skin, an international film by Israeli director Guy Nattiv. The judges said, “Skin is a gripping study of a group of extremists and the choices available to them. It’s raw yet intelligently paced, with stunning performances.”

The movie, which stars Jamie Bell (Defiance, Billy Elliot), is a fact-based drama about a skinhead who ends up rejecting racial hatred.
Nattiv has directed the Israeli films Mabul, Strangers and Magic Men.

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