Merging Cultures at the Israel Film Festival

Meir Fenigstein founder and executive director of the Isra-Fest Foundation requested Truth For Gold cover the 31st Israeli Film Festival Sponsor Luncheon. Isra-Fest brings Israeli films to Los Angeles each year as part of the Israel Film Festival (IFF). Meir certainly knows how to thank his supporters. Several months before each festival, he invites them to a delectable Awards Luncheon at the Four Seasons hotel in Beverly Hills. For 30 years, the Israel Film Festival has played a vital educational role in spotlighting Israel’s thriving film and television industry. The annual event provides an intercultural exchange to advance tolerance and understanding among diverse audiences and to enrich the American vision of Israel’s social and cultural diversity. The LA based Israel Film Festival is the largest showcase of Israeli films in the U.S. The IFF has presented nearly 1000 feature films, documentaries, television dramas and student shorts to hundreds of thousands of film-goers, and brought more than 500 Israeli filmmakers to the U.S. to connect with the Hollywood Community, opening doors for distribution and co-production.

The Festival launched its 31st Awards with Master of Ceremonies Elon Gold, honoring CAA’s Adam Berkowitz, award-winning producer David Shore and real estate developer/philanthropist Max Webb. Berkowitz, the co-head of the television department at Creative Artist Agency (CAA), was named the 2017 IFF Career Achievement Award recipient. Writer/producer Shore received the 2017 IFF Visionary Award. Max Webb, the founder of Shapell Properties, collected the 2017 IFF Lifetime Achievement Award.

Adam Berkowitz, IFF Career Achievement Award recipient has been instrumental in packaging and selling numerous television programs, including Seinfeld, Everybody Loves Raymond, Arrested Development, Two and a Half Men, Masters of Sex, True Detective, Justified, Rescue Me, Big Love and Netflix’s House of Cards, amongst others. Additionally, he sold the first Israeli series ever to Netflix, The Greenhouse, as well as the critically acclaimed Israeli series Fauda. Berkowitz also represents many of Israel’s leading production companies, writers, directors and actors. Prior to joining CAA in 1997, he was an agent at the William Morris agency. He currently serves on the board of the Hollywood Radio & Television Society and is chairman of the entertainment division of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.

David Shore, 2017 IFF Visionary Award winner created what was at one point the world’s most watched television program, House. The first-season episode “Three Stories” won him a Peabody, a Humanitas Prize and the 2005 Emmy® Award for Outstanding Writing. Since then, David co-created Battle Creek for CBS and Sneaky Pete for Amazon, and served as an executive producer of Houdini and Doyle, which aired on Fox in 2016. David has served as a director of the Writers Guild of America, West; the Writers Guild Foundation; the Humanitas International Foundation; and the International Board of Israel based Save a Child’s Heart.

Max WebbIFF Lifetime Achievement Award beneficiary is the founder of Shapell Properties who just celebrated his 100th birthday was born on March 2, 1917 in Lodz, Poland. During the war, Max survived twelve labor camps and six concentration camps, including Auschwitz Birkenau, where in 1943 he met lifelong partner & friend Nathan Shapell. Max, along with his brothers-in-law Nathan and David Shapell, founded Shapell Industries in 1955. For over 60 years they have provided thousands of homes throughout California as well as commercial areas. Having survived the nightmare of the camps is a constant reminder that his life was given back to him as a miracle from God. Following liberation Max promised to do whatever he could to help those less fortunate and to rebuild the Jewish people. As a great humanitarian, he has kept that commitment over the years by giving generously of his time and money to numerous worthwhile causes and organizations.

Sponsors of the 31st Israel Film Festival include: long-time partners Millennium Films, Rabinovich Foundation, New Regency Productions, Adelson Family Foundation, Israel Film Fund, The Hollywood Reporter, Eclipse, Variety, IAC (Israeli American Council), Israel Consulate in Los Angeles, Maurice Marciano Family Foundation, Diane & Guilford Glazer Foundation, Izek & Aline Shomof, IDB Bank, Four Seasons Hotel, The Orlando Hotel, Clear Channel, joined by Creative Artists Agency (CAA), Netflix, Showtime and Lionsgate.

Past festival honorees include: Israel’s President Shimon Peres, Sacha Baron Cohen, Danny DeVito, Kirk Douglas, Richard Dreyfuss, Miloš Forman, Elliot Gould, Jonah Hill, Arthur Hiller, Larry King, Jon Landau, Martin Landau, Sherry Lansing, Avi Lerner, Penny Marshall, Mike Medavoy, David Nevins, Amy Pascal, Natalie Portman, Carl Reiner, Rob Reiner, Liev Schreiber, Aaron Sorkin, Sharon Stone, Irwin Winkler and Nobel Prize author Elie Wiesel.

Past festival presenters include: Warren Beatty, Cameron Diaz, Phil Donahue, Michael Douglas, Héctor Elizondo, Jeff Goldblum, Dustin Hoffman, Ashley Judd, Garry Marshall, Bette Midler, Ivan Reitman, Seth Rogan, Isabella Rossellini, Adam Sandler, Naomi Watts, Jerry Weintraub and Rachel Weisz.

The Israel Film Festival ounded by Meir Fenigstein in 1982, started out with six films and a dream. It has grown to become one of the most important Israeli cultural events in the world. The Mission is to brand Israel as the lively and innovative nation as well as shining a spotlight on Israel’s thriving film and television industry and enriching the American experience of Israel’s social and cultural diversity. The festival has opened new possibilities for cooperation and co-production between the U.S. and Israeli film and TV industries. For 30 years, the Festival has created an exciting and artistic platform for engaging diverse audiences with the richness of Israeli life and culture. TFG looks forward to participating & covering the 31st Annual Israel Film Festival in Los Angeles NOVEMBER 7-22, 2017.

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