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'Newland' Premiere to Kick Off Israel Film Festival Oct. 5

August 31, 1994|KEVIN THOMAS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Israel Film Festival opens at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills on Oct. 5 with a gala premiere of Orna Ben-Dor Niv's "Newland," a post-Holocaust drama about a brother and sister searching for their mother in the new state of Israel. Shimon Peres, Israel's foreign minister, will be guest of honor.

The festival will continue at the Music Hall Theater through Oct. 20, presenting 16 feature films and documentaries. It will then play at New York's Angelika 57 Theater Nov. 8-22.

Other films are: Dan Wolman's "The Distance," in which an Israeli architect must choose between living in the U.S. or returning to Israel; Rami Na'aman's "The Flying Camel," about an unlikely friendship between a Jewish history professor and an Arab garbage collector; and Michal Bat-Adam's "Imagined Autobiography," in which a young filmmaker is driven by her father's ambition.

Enrique Rottenberg's comedy "The Revenge of Itzik Finkelstein" tells of a disgruntled 40-year-old, still living with his mother, who makes one last stab at independence and success. Idit Shechori's "In the Name of Love" centers on five people making each other miserable. Leonid Gorovets' "Coffee With Lemon," drawn from the filmmaker's own experiences, finds a successful actor joining in the massive migration from Eastern Europe to Israel. Jacob Goldwater's "Max & Morris," a musical comedy about a group of petty criminals hoping to make it into the big time, is based on a popular play.

The seven documentaries are: Nizzar Hassan's "Istiklal," which deals with the dilemmas of Israeli Palestinians; Eli Cohen's "Wordmaker" chronicles Eliezer Ben-Yehuda's struggle to revive and preserve Hebrew in the early 20th Century; and Dan Setton's "Eichmann, The Nazi Fugitive" combines documentary with dramatic re-enactments.

Amit Goren's "Six Open, Twenty One Closed" reveals life inside Beer Sheeva Prison; Shiri Shahar's "The Flower in My Garden" charts the self-destructive life of soul singer Zohar Argov; and Asher Tlalim's "Don't Touch My Holocaust" examines why some choose to remember while others prefer to forget.

Michael Lev's "A Known End" follows the last year in the life of '60s rebel Larry Martinez, now dying of cancer, and Ilana Tsur's "Atalena" examines an incident that nearly caused a civil war in the newly formed state of Israel. Nine short films, produced in Israeli film schools, will also be screened.

Tickets and the screening schedule will be available two weeks before the festival's opening through THEATIX (213) 466-1767. For opening-night ticket information contact the Israfest Foundation at (213) 966-4166.

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