Cinema Sabaya has not only won the 2022 Ophir Award, but also now stands a chance at an Academy Award. The Israeli version of the Oscars is in fact the qualifying path to the coveted golden statuette in Hollywood, as the winner each year automatically becomes the country's submission.
Orit Fouks Rotem's film is a narrative about eight women, Arab and Jewish, who take part in a video workshop hosted by Rona, a young filmmaker. With each camera take, the group's dynamic forces the women to challenge their beliefs as they get to know one other.
Cinema Sabaya received five awards in all, along with its Best Picture Prize. The film also won Best Director for Rotem, as well as Best Supporting Actress for Joanna Said, who portrays an Arab woman who dreams of getting a driver’s license and becoming independent of her husband.
The Best Actor award went to Sasson Gabbay, whom audiences probably best remember for his role in Eran Kolirin's The Band's Visit. This was the fourth win for Gabbay, who becomes the most awarded thespian in the history of the Ophir Awards. The Best Actress award went to Rita Shukrun -- Gabbay and Shukrun star as a married couple fascinated by a seductive new neighbor in Moshe Rosenthal’s Karaoke.
Shlomi Elkabetz’s Black Notebooks, a personal film where the Moroccan-Israeli filmmaker tackles the loss and longing for his late sister, actress-director and writer Ronit Elkabetz, won in the Best Documentary category. The movie, told in two parts, had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival last year.
Image by Green Productions and Ella Barak, used with permission.