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Israel-in-Short (10.5)

(22.5.2011)

The “Israel-in-Short” program on May 10 at the JCC in Manhattan was one of surprise and delight, comprising the top-10 animated shorts by graduating students of the Jerusalem-based Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design.

The films ranged from exquisite to disturbing. “The Good Knight Story,” a 3-D, computer-animated film from **Shoham Blau , Amos Naim and Or Kantor about a knight named Atheir, was the winner in the best short film category at this year’s Israel Film Festival in Nice. “On My Doorstep,” a classic animation piece by Anat Costi that tells the disturbing story of a phobic young woman who is unable to find a place to hide from the world around her, was this year’s Cinéfondation Selection at the Cannes Film Festival.

“Miracle Lady,” a 10-minute, stop-motion gem with clay puppets, by Michal Abulafia and Moran Somer, pinpoints the randomness of luck. In it, Fortuna, an old lady wearing her wedding gown, waits for 50 years for her late husband to come home, whereas her servant waits for release from life. It garnered five major awards, including the 2010 best story award at the Stop Motion Magazine Film Festival.

Another standout was Dafna Cohen and Elad Dabush’s 3-D, computer-animated comedy, “Moon Seek.” In 1969, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin is on the moon, drinking vodka. He strands the American astronauts by stealing their Lunar Excursion Molecule. When Yuri discovers that there is only Budweiser on board, he shoots back to the moon for vodka. After the screening, Hanan Kaminsky, head of the animation track at Bezalel’s screen arts department, fielded questions from the audience.

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