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Jerusalem kicks off with aim for business as usual

Most festival guests’ travels aren’t impacted by the unrest in Israel; festival makes minor scheduling changes.

The Jerusalem Film Festival got underway last night, and is making very minor adjustments in the wake of security issues. Yet the organisers are mostly aiming for business as usual. In addition to postponing the Sultan’s Pool gala of Dancing Arabs by one week (full story here), the festival has also made other scheduling tweaks.

Instead of the Sultan’s Pool gala on opening night last night with 6,000 guests in an open-air screening, the festival welcomed 200local and international guests with a smaller reception in the garden at the host Cinematheque. Films that screened on the opening night included Kevin Macdonald’s How I Live Now; Gotz Spielmann’s October-November; and Mark Levinson’s Particle Fever.

The awards ceremony will now be held on Saturday night instead of Thursday at the Mishkenot Sha’ananim (to avoid a clash with the new Dancing Arabs gala).

A gala event honouring European Film Market veteran Beki Probst on Tuesday, which had been planned at the Rockefeller Museum in the Old City, is being moved to the Waldorf Astoria.

According to organisers, there have been at least 10 film industry guests cancelling their trips — none of the filmmakers or speakers has changed their travel plans as of now.

Festival president Noa Regev admitted that Wednesday had been a challenging day (with the decision to postpone Dancing Arabs) but that the festival team was “very excited” that the festival would carry on as usual as much as possible. “Cinema provides a different perspective and those perspectives are especially needed at these times,” she said.

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