Film producers back Regev in spat over ‘Israeli Oscars’
Two prominent Israeli film producers announced on Friday that they will not attend this week’s Ophir Awards ceremony after the organizers disinvited Culture Minister Miri Regev.
Leon and Moshe Edery – brothers and financers of a slew of Israeli films including Beaufort, Footnote and Walk on Water, and part owners of Cinema City – sent a letter to Mosh Danon, chairman of the Israel Film Academy, decrying the decision.
“We believe this is an incorrect and undemocratic decision, expressing the will of an unrepresentative handful of artists who are unwilling to accept and respect the ‘other,’” wrote the brothers. “They want to boycott and silence a minister in Israel only because she holds different opinions.”
Regev, they added, has been an “unswerving supporter of the Israeli film industry,” and the decision to disinvite her should be reversed.
Danon seemed unmoved by the letter, responding only that “everyone should make his own decision.”
Last Tuesday, the Israel Film Academy announced that no politicians would be invited to this year’s awards, scheduled for Tuesday this week.
The academy lamented that in recent years the ceremony has become an “inappropriate tussle that disrespects the event, and, even worse, disrespects the artists and the artistry it is meant to honor and recognize.”
Last year Regev left the awards ceremony partway through in protest, and this year she has repeatedly slammed the film Foxtrot, which has been nominated for 13 Ophir Awards.
Regev, who called the academy’s decision “cowardly and undemocratic,” praised the brothers on Friday.
“The Edery brothers are the backbone and main engine of the Israeli cinema industry,” she said. “Today they have yelled ‘Cut’ at the handful of people who are trying to cling to power no matter what and yelled ‘Action’ to a sane Israel.”
Regev, speaking on Channel 2’s Meet the Press on Saturday evening, threatened sanctions against the Israel Film Academy.
“They invited me, but they told me, ‘If we invite you, we want to negotiate, we want it to be a holiday and we will have a ceasefire,’” she said in the interview recorded before Shabbat began. “A cease-fire means I’m supposed to sit there and applaud Foxtrot?”
Regev added that the funding deal between the state and the Israel Film Academy is up for renewal next year, and “what was is, is not what it will be.”
CULTURE MINISTER Miri Regev smiles along with film producers Leon (left) and Moshe Edery at the Cannes Film Festival last May.