Monday, February 11, 2013

Film Festival Welcomes International Guests for A Day in the Negev

In between sold-out films and VIP receptions on a full Sunday of the San Diego Jewish Film Festival (SDJFF), the Federation and Center for Jewish Culture hosted a unique collection of films as well as some very interesting guests. A Day in the Negev was a collection of clips from films created by film students at Sapir College in Israel. A project of Partnership 2Gether, this cinematic and cultural exchange invited San Diegans to take a glimpse into what life is like in Israel’s Negev (desert) as well as in Sha’ar HaNegev, San Diego’s sister-city. 

“This is a great project to bring San Diego and Sha’ar HaNegev together,” said Debbie Kornberg, Director of Israel & Overseas Center at the Federation. “This program is a direct outcome of the Cinematic Bridge project funded by Partnership 2Gether.”

At a reception prior to the screening, Film Festival attendees were treated private and one-on-one conversations with Dr. Avner Faingulernt, a professor at Sapir College’s School of Audio and Visual Arts, as well as Evgeny (“Jenia”) Uretsky, one of the students whose film was featured in the collection. “I’m excited to be here, it was very surprising!” exclaimed Jenia. “Maybe by meeting people here, we can have more films in the festival, my work and other students’.” 

Dr. Avner Faingulernt

Dr. Avner Faingulernt was clearly very proud of his students and the work they were screening at the Film Festival. “It is a great honor and a pleasure to be here, enjoying San Diego and meeting people, getting to know each other,” he said. “Cinema is something important to both Sha’ar HaNegev and San Diego.” Faingulernt added that he looks forward to exploring further opportunities for partnership, and what we can learn from each other, “I wish people who come from San Diego will find that film festivals are a great opportunity to learn more about Israel, especially the parts of Israel beyond Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Tzfat.” 

Michael Sonduck, newly appointed CEO of the Federation, explained how the project came to be. “Sandra Kraus [SDJFF Producer] visited Sapir College and the students and faculty of the film department.” The Federation’s Partnership 2Gether program and the Center for Jewish Culture (who host the SDJFF) were able to put together a massive collaboration. “I think the really cool thing about this program is that it is a collaborative effort among these programs based on Sandra’s idea.” Sonduck noted that both San Diego and Sapir College host among the largest film festivals in their respective countries, and they hope this project will grow and foster more student exchange.

Following the reception, approximately 200 people enjoyed A Day in the Negev, featuring six short films directed by six different talented film students. Dr. Avner Faingulernt and Jenia Uretsky followed the films with a discussion.


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