23rd Haifa International Film Festival
Israel, September 27 - October 4 2007
The 23rd edition of Haifa International Film Festival was composed of five competition programs: The Golden Anchor for Mediterranean Cinema, won by Branko Schmidt (The Melon Route, Croatia); Israeli Feature and Drama, won by Yuval Granot (Julia Mia); Israeli Documentaries, won by Tamar Yarom (No Place for a Lady); Israeli Shorts and Animation, and the Young Filmmakers Competition. Although Israeli cinema has taken a flight in recent years, this year the jury for Israeli Features (led by Danish film maker Bille August) had to pick from a less fruitful harvest.
Smaller, additional programs revolved around Palestinian cinema, new German cinema and films from Eastern Europe. American journalist and critic David D’Arcy selected and introduced seven documentaries for the Haifa festival.
Meanwhile festival director Pnina Blayer — who unfortunately broke her leg the night before the closing ceremony — and her staff made sure the circa 40 foreign guests received a warm welcome and pleasant stay in the coastal city.
Having already been granted credits, among other festivals, in Venice, Warsaw and Kiev, the FIPRESCI jury simply couldn’t get around the obvious stand out among the ten films screening in the FIPRESCI competition: Euphoria (Eyforiya) by Ivan Vyrypayev. A poetic tragedy wrapped in Russian tradition and captured in daring, powerful and mesmerizing cinematography. (Saskia Legein)
Haifa International Film Festival: www.haifaff.co.il