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Fill The Void sweeps Israeli Academy awards, goes forward in Oscar race

Other winners include God’s Neighbours and Ballad Of The Weeping Spring.

The Venice-awarded drama Fill the Void, set entirely in Tel Aviv’s ultra-Orthodox community, collected no less than seven awards at the annual ceremony of the Israeli Film Academy, including Best Film, Best Director and Best Screenplay (Rama Burshtein), Best Actress (Hadas Yaron), Best Supporting Actress (Irith Sheleg), also cinematography (Assaf Sudri) and make-up (Eti Ben-Nun).

The film will also represent Israel in the Foreign Language race of the Oscars.

God’s Neighbours by Meni Yaesh, which played earlier this year in Cannes’ Critics’ Week, picked an award for Best Actor (Ro’y Assaf) and Best Supporting Actor (Gal Friedman) while Benny Torati’s Ballad of the Weeping Spring came up with four prizes for sound design (David Liss, Gil Toren), Music (Mark Eliahu), costumes (Dvora Ohana) and production design (Eyal Elhadad).

Itzhak Zhayek won the editing prize for Rock the Casbah by Yariv Horovitz and Tamar Tal’s The Camera was awarded in the Best Documentary category. Shemi Zarhin’s The World is Funny, a hit in the domestic market and the film which originally gathered the highest number of nominations, won only Best Casting (Orith Azulay), a category inaugurated this year for the first time.

A Life Achievement Award went to veteran scriptwriter Eli Tavor, who is 78.

The ceremony itself unfolded under the massive protest of all industry sectors against the intention of Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnath to tamper with the present Cinema Law, which has proved, in the last decade, to be a success. Yona Yahav, the mayor of Haifa, the city hosting the event, who, as member of Parliament, was one of the original instigators of the present law, pleaded to keep it intact; producers Eitan Even, the president of the Academy, as well as Assaf Amir, the president of the Producers Association, demanded to keep politics out of cinema, which evidently the new law proposal is attempting to do but Limor Livnath responded by claiming the 11-year-old law needs revamping, promising however that all the voices of the opposition will be heard and taken into consideration.

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