Israeli Pavilion at Cannes Film Festival Highlights Movies From Gaza Border Communities Impacted by Oct. 7 Attacks

Israeli Pavilion at Cannes Film Festival Highlights Movies From Gaza Border Communities Impacted by Oct. 7 Attacks

Shiryn Ghermezian

The Israeli Pavilion at the 2024 Cannes Film Festival. Photo: Israel’s Ministry of Culture and Sports

The Israeli Pavilion at the 76th Cannes Film Festival opened on Wednesday and is dedicated this year to residents living near Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip, where the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks took place.

The pavilion will showcase films made by filmmakers from Sapir College in Sderot that highlight the lives of those living near Gaza before the atrocities of Oct. 7. The films will show the daily lives of residents in the area and also the toll it takes on children in the region who have lived for years with the constant threat of missile attacks from Palestinian terrorists.

“The opening of the pavilion during the war reflects Israeli resilience and the Israeli commitment to building bridges of culture and international dialogue even in challenging times,” said Israel’s Culture and Sport Minister Miki Zohar. “Especially in this complex time, we must amplify the voices promoting the Israeli narrative first. For the first time, we will show Israeli films in the pavilion that reflect the unfathomable reality that the residents of the border communities lived in before Oct. 7.”

One of the films is from director Michal Lavi, whose brother-in-law, Omri Miran from Kibbutz Nir Oz, is one of about 130 hostages still held by Hamas terrorists in Gaza. The pavilion will also host a panel discussion on “diversity in cinema” and another panel about women in the cinema industry who work in countries at war. The pavilion will additionally highlight film creation, co-productions, and collaborations between the Israeli film industry and foreign film industries.

The Cannes Film Festival takes place from May 14-21 in Cannes, France, and the Israeli pavilion will remain open during the entire duration of the festival.

Laura Blajman-Kadar, a survivor of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack at the Supernova music festival in Israel, attended a screening at the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday wearing a gown that honored the Israeli hostages who have been held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip for seven months.

The short film “It’s Not Time For Pop” by Tel Aviv University student Amit Vaknin is the only film from Israel taking part in the Cannes Film Festival this year and it will compete in the La Cinéf section, which highlights projects from film students. The 14-minute film is about a woman who is not interested in spending Memorial Day in Israel commemorating her father, who was killed in a war, and instead wants to focus on trying to find an apartment in Tel Aviv.

Israeli films have won a number of awards at the Cannes Film Festival, most recently in 2021, when Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid won the Jury Prize for “Ahed’s Knee.”

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