On August 28 the Israel Film Center at the JCC in Manhattan announced the launch of the first major film streaming website dedicated solely to Israeli films. The website will offer dozens of Israeli classics as well as fresh and original films released from Israel’s booming movie industry. The site will also host the hard to find award-winning documentaries that until now were not fully available to American viewers.
“Israeli films have been exploding in the international scene. There is not a major Film Festival in the world that does not include a few Israeli films,” Isaac Zablocki, Director of Film Programs and the Israel Film Center explains. “Very few of these films get any kind of American release, and most of the wonderful Israeli films do not get screened in the U.S. at all (beyond some festivals).”
The Israel Film Center is focused on connecting the American public with Israeli films through their streaming website initiative. The Center has already created the largest online database for Israel Films and a library where patrons can view an archive of Israeli films. The streaming website was a natural next step as people have become accustomed to video viewing websites like Netflix. Distributors too, were excited to take the next step and gave the Center the rights to some of the best Israeli films ever made.
The website, which officially launched on August 20, will offer year-round promotions and special thematic programs, and will continue to offer films at a low price since the organization functions as a non-profit. Currently you can purchase the critically acclaimed film "The Matchmaker," now playing in theaters in New York and Los Angeles. Other films that will be featured on the website include "Time of Favor" and "Beaufort", by twice Academy Award nominee and winner of five Israeli Film Academy Awards Joseph Cedar, Oscar Nominated Best Foreign Film (2009) "Ajami," "My Father My Lord" (Tribeca Film Festival Best Film, as well as Israel’s top grossing films, "This is Sodom" (Zohi Sdom) and "Turn Left at the End of the World."
The Center is already looking forward to their next venture in adding another component to the streaming website with Israeli TV shows in the future. For now, check out the website’s wide collection. For your first official stream, Zablocki recommends the film, “Aviva My Love," a sweet film that captures unfamiliar elements of Israeli society in a universally engaging way. The storytelling is phenomenal, as is the acting. Shemi Zarhin, the director, is one of Israel's best, yet the film hardly had any play in the states.”
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