Ajami, directed by Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani, won the Wolgin Award for best full-length Israeli feature at the 26th Jerusalem International Film Festival, which ended this weekend (Saturday).
The prize of $30,745 (NIS120,000) is divided between the two directors and the film’s two producers Mosh Danon and Thanassis Karathanos.
The jury for the Wolgin Awards for Israel Cinema consisted of Michal Govrin (Israel), Frederic Boyer (France), Judith Guetta (Israel), Goren Markovic (Serbia) and Chaim Sharir (Israel).
The jury named Dana Goren’s Diplomat best documentary film and Benjamin Friedenberg’s Guided Tour won best short film.
Commenting on Ajami, the jury said: “The originality of the film comes from the inward gaze of the two directors on the complexity of Arab society in Israel and its relationship to Jewish society. The achievement of the script lies in the interwoven stories of the Arab residents of the Ajami neighborhood on the margins of Tel Aviv-Jaffa with Palestinian illegal workers and the Jews: their neighbors, the crime world, and the police. In addition to reflecting the reality of the situation, the film manages to hint at the tragic dimension of life in this context. The use of non-professional actors grants the film an aspect of quality and authenticity, and the energetic editing reflects the volatile reality.”
The jury also noted Haim Tabakman’s Eyes Wide Open for its “sensitive and original treatment of male desire in the ultra-Orthodox world.”
A $2,560 (NIS10,000) prize for best actress went to Hana Rita Zohar for her performance in Mrs Moskowicz And The Cats and the award for best actor went to Zohar Strauss for Eyes Wide Open and Lebanon.