Josef Cedar's Campfire,a coming of age story and a portrait of the right wing settlers on the WestBank and their less than idealistic motivations, picked up five of the topawards at the Israeli Film Academy at its annual ceremony on September 27.
Campfire will now automatically go forward asIsrael's submission to the Oscars in the best foreign language category.
Nominated in all of theAcademy's 13 categories, it won the best film, best script and best directorprizes, as well as a supporting actress prize for Hani Furstenberg and editingprize for Einat Glazer-Zarhin.
Shuli Rand took the bestactor award for Ushpizin, a dramatic comedy about the religious fervorof a former criminal who finds faith. Dana Ivgi's performance in Cannes' CameraD'or winner Or gave her the best actress award, while her father,veteran Israeli movie star Moshe Ivgi, added another statuette to hiscollection for his best supporting performance in Metallic Blues.
Assaf Sudri's stunning widescreen images in Atash (Thirst) were rewarded with a best cinematographyprize.
Yoram Sheier (art direction)and Rona Doron (costumes) were the only representatives of the year's top boxoffice hit Turn Left at the End of the World, which has garnered closeto 400,000 admissions.
Meanwhile, Campfire'schoice to represent Israel for the best foreign language Oscars has raisedeyebrows, even by amongst its supporters. Many feel that its profile may be toolocal, and Israel might have a better chance with other pictures which havealready proved themselves on the international stage. Eran Riklis' TheSyrian Bride, for example, has won audience awards in Locarno and Montreal,best picture in Montreal, and is playing next week in Chicago.
Though the ceremony itself,broadcast live on Israeli TV, could stand much improvement, this was thecrowning event in the country's most prolific film year in history, with noless than 23 feature films competing for honours.
The awards, referred to untilnow as "the Israeli Oscars" for lack of a better name, will be known in futureas the "Ophirs", bearing the name of the late, distinguished Israeli film actorShay K. Ophir.