Despite heavy security measures that resulted in a number of venue changes and the absence of the US majors - the 19th Jerusalem Film Festival proceeded without any major hitches.
While there were cancellations and no-shows - Shapira Films, one of the leading Israeli distributors, among them - the festival maintained its 150 screening average and its two top events, the first night open-air screening and the grand first-half wrap party at David's Tower in the Old City, went ahead as planned. Even David Mamet made an unscheduled, if brief, visit.
The festival program included tested favourites like Pedro Almodovar's Talk to Her (for the opening night), Alexander Rogoshkin's The Cuckoo, Laurent Cantet's Time Out, Ashutosh Gowariker's Indian spectacle Lagaan, Lynn Ramsay's Morvern Callar and Caroline Link's Nowhere in Africa.
Polish directors Krzystof Zanussi and Amos Gitai were chosen for achievement awards and Paul Greengrass' Berlin winner Bloody Sunday received the spirit of freedom award. In the Ninth Month by Ali Nassar was given a Special Jury Prize.
Broken Wings, a first film by Nir Bergman, banked the director $45,000 after it secured the much sought-after best film and best script awards in the Wolgin Competition, which is open to Israeli productions only.
David Ben Shitrit's controversial 240-minute investigation into Israel's Jewish-Moroccan community, Kaddim Winds won top honours and $10,000 in the documentary section.