Jerusalem Film Festival
The Jerusalem Film Festival is an international film festival
Film festival
A film festival is an organised, extended presentation of films in one or more movie theaters or screening venues, usually in a single locality. More and more often film festivals show part of their films to the public by adding outdoor movie screenings...

 held annually in Jerusalem, Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

. The festival was the brainchild of Lia van Leer
Lia van Leer
Lia van Leer is a pioneer in the field of art film programming and film archiving in Israel. She is the founder of the Haifa Cinematheque, the Jerusalem Cinematheque, the Israel Film Archive and the Jerusalem Film Festival.-Biography:...

, who inaugurated it on May 17, 1984. Feature film
Feature film
In the film industry, a feature film is a film production made for initial distribution in theaters and being the main attraction of the screening, rather than a short film screened before it; a full length movie...

s and documentaries
Documentary film
Documentary films constitute a broad category of nonfictional motion pictures intended to document some aspect of reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction or maintaining a historical record...

 from all over the world are screened, and awards are presented in many categories.


After serving as a judge at the Cannes
Cannes is one of the best-known cities of the French Riviera, a busy tourist destination and host of the annual Cannes Film Festival. It is a Commune of France in the Alpes-Maritimes department....

 film festival, Lia van Leer decided to organize a similar event in Israel. Jeanne Moreau
Jeanne Moreau
Jeanne Moreau is a French actress, singer, screenwriter and director.She made her theatrical debut in 1947, and established herself as one of the leading actresses of the Comédie-Française...

, Lillian Gish
Lillian Gish
Lillian Diana Gish was an American stage, screen and television actress whose film acting career spanned 75 years, from 1912 to 1987....

 Warren Beatty
Warren Beatty
Warren Beatty born March 30, 1937) is an American actor, producer, screenwriter and director. He has received a total of fourteen Academy Award nominations, winning one for Best Director in 1982. He has also won four Golden Globe Awards including the Cecil B. DeMille Award.-Early life and...

 and John Schlesinger
John Schlesinger
John Richard Schlesinger, CBE was an English film and stage director and actor.-Early life:Schlesinger was born in London into a middle-class Jewish family, the son of Winifred Henrietta and Bernard Edward Schlesinger, a physician...

 arrived in Israel to attend the debut.

In 1989, van Leer persuaded American philanthropist Jack Wolgin to set up a competition bearing his name for the best Israeli films. The Wolgin Prize has become the country's most prestigious feature film award.

In 2008, van Leer, 84, stepped down as director of the festival and turned the job over to a new CEO, Ilan de Vries.


Competitions at the festival include the Wolgin Award for Israeli Cinema, the Anat Pirchi Drama Award, the Spirit of Freedom Awards , the Forum for the Preservation of Audio-Visual Memory in Israel Award for the Creative use of Archival Footage and the FIPRESCII competition for first time filmmakers.
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