Last updated November 1st 2015

Enjoy films in the beauty of the desert, under the stars! Films in the Arava Desert, now in its 4th edition, will take place from November 18 – 21, 2015, near Zuqim, in the Ashush Natural Reserve, in the Arava region of the Southern Negev.

Three full length feature films will be shown every evening on a large screen, at a specially built outdoor site. The festival presents a selection of quality films, including some that have not previously been shown at any Israeli festival! Keeping a close connection between films and viewers, almost all the films will be shown in the presence of the film’s director, producer, or one of the lead actors, followed by a Q & A. A single prize of 15,000 Euros will be awarded to the film chosen by viewers – so don’t forget to vote!

Shorts in the Desert is an initiative of the festival to encourage the production of short films inspired by the Negev, and filmed in the Arava desert. Two of these films will be shown at the festival.

Some festival highlights:

A Perfect Day

A Perfect Day

A Perfect Day will be the opening film of the festival, directed by Fernando León de Aranoa, is based on the novel Dejarse Llover by Paula Farias. Set in the war-torn Balkans in 1995, the film focuses on NGO workers Mambru (Benicio Del Toro), Sophie (Melanie Thierry) and B (Tim Robbins)  and Damir (Fedja Stukan) their local guide, over the course of 24 hours as they try to deal with an immediate crisis amid the general chaos. A man’s corpse is discovered in a well, and they must attempt to retrieve it, so that it does not contaminate the precious water supply. Actor Fedja Stukan will be attending the opening night screening of the film.

Rams

Rams

Stark landscapes and long cold winters are the terrain of Rams (Hrútar), as are the mysteries of the human heart. There is an almost Biblical heft, lightened by wry humor, to this tale of two brothers. A simple, homemade fence, easily traversed, separates Gummi  (Sigurður Sigurjónsson) and Kiddi (Theodór Júlíusson), neighbors and rivals, sheep farmers who have not spoken to one another for forty years.  Considering the small, intimate circle of farmers in this rural town, and the solitary state of these bachelor brothers, forty years is a long, long, time. The wedge between them runs deep, yet perhaps deeper still is their connection to one another. Rams is the debut feature film of Grímur Hákonarson, who will be in attendance at the screening.

In the Shadow of Women

In the Shadow of Women

In the Shadow of Women directed by Philippe Garrel, was selected to open the Director’s Fortnight section at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. A romantic drama in which the lives of documentary filmmaker Pierre (Stanislas Merhar), and his wife Manon (Clotilde Courau) – a financially challenged but artistically and romantically close partnership –  are thrown into turmoil after Pierre meets Elisabeth (Lena Paugam) an intern at the film archive where he is doing research. Clotilde Courau will be present for the screening.

Virgin Mountain

Virgin Mountain

Dagur Kari’s Virgin Mountain took first prize at Tribeca this year. The film tells a warm story of unlikely love, as 43 year old Fusi (Gunnar Jonsson), a big, lonely man who works as a baggage handler at the airport and still lives at home with his mother, meets the blonde Sjofn (Ilmur Kristjansdottir). Director Dagur Kari will attend the screening.

Films in the Arava Desert is the initiative of Eyal Shiray, and Dr. Eyal Blum, Head of the Central Arava Regional Council. Festival Director and Producer: Eyal Shiray; Artistic Director: Edna Fainaru. The festival is supported by the Central Arava Region Council, the Jewish Agency, the Merage Foundation, the Ministry for Regional Cooperation, the Ministry for Development of the Negev and Galilee, the Israel Film Fund, the Arava Australia , the Ministry of Culture, and the Foreign Ministry.

Films in the Arava Desert Festival website

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