Shemi Zarhin's epic comedy-drama Passover Fever (1995) has been chosen to open Australia's first Israeli Film Festival, to take place in Canberra from August 4-10.

Israeli writer-director Joseph Pitchhadze will introduce the festival with a screening of his road movie Under Western Eyes (1996), part of a five-hour seminar examining representations of Israeli culture through its cinema.

The festival is a joint venture between ScreenSound, the country's national film and sound archive, and the Israeli Embassy. Other films in the programme include Jonathan Sagall's comedy Urban Feel (1998), Ari Folman and Ori Sivan's offbeat fable Saint Clara (1996), Yossi Somer's The Dybbuk (1997) and Amos Gitai's Kadosh (1999).