The festival is laying on a packed programme of film industry events this year, headlined by the Jerusalem Pitch Point meeting.

The meeting revolves around a central pitching event on July 14, open to both industry professionals, film students and the public, aimed at connecting Israeli filmmakers with international partners on their upcoming projects.

Participants this year include celebrated experimental director Nina Menkes, established filmmakers Nir Bergman and Dina Zvi Riklis and up and coming director Eitan Gafny, whose Lebanon-set zombie picture debut Cannon Fodder has sold well internationally.

For the first time, the event will also screen a selection of Israeli works-in-progress to selected industry professionals, including Madame Yankelova’s Fine Literature Club, the feature debut of Guilhad Emilio Schenker, whose 2010 short Lavan screened in more than 70 festivals and won numerous prizes. 

The projects will compete for a trio of prizes meted out by France’s National Cinema Centre, Franco-German broadcaster ARTE and the Van Leer Foundation.

This year’s jury features ARTE France Cinema’s deputy chief Rémi Burah; Belgian producer Diana Elbaum of Entre Chien et Loup, which co-produced Israeli features The Congress and Bethlehem, and Marie-Pierre Valle, head of acquisitions at Paris-based Wild Bunch.

Other festival workshops and industry events include a session on how to make the perfect trailer, by filmmaker Yonathan Gurfinkel and film critic Yair Raveh; and a talk on film festival strategy by Claudia Landsberger, the head of the Eye Film Institute Netherlands’ promotional wing EYE International.

There will also be a discussion on the future of art house cinema featuring Screen International editor Wendy Mitchell, The Kindergarten Teacher producer Osnat Handelsman Keren, and Yoram Honig, the CEO of the Jerusalem Film & Television Fund.

Sales and marketing expert Bec Smith, who is an agent for both the UTA Independent Film Group and the Motion Picture Literary Department in the US, will give a talk entitled “Global Vision: Making Movies for the World Stage”.

The festival will also host a day of pitching by the participants of the Jerusalem Film Lab, who have been developing their scripts, both remotely and in situ in Jerusalem, for the past seven months.

Filmmakers due to unveil their projects include India’s Ritesh Batra and Israel’s Talya Lavie and Nora Martirosyan. This year’s jury is presided over by Michele Halberstadt of French distribution and production company ARP and also features Cannes Critics’ Week artistic director Charles Tesson; Berlinale Co-production Market director Sonja Heinen; and Berlin-based South African-Swedish director Pia Marais.

Other industry professionals set to come to Jerusalem include Antoine de Clermont Tonnerre of Paris-based MACT Productions; Titus Kreyenberg of German production company Unafilm; Caroline Banjo and Caroline Scotta of France’s Haut et Court; and Riina Sporring Zachariassen of Denmark’s Windelov/Lassen.