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Annual Israel Film Festival Has Been Expanded in Size and Scope This Year

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Israeli film magnate Menahem Golan and American actor Chuck Norris joined a crowd of American and Israeli film personalities to mark the opening of the fourth annual Israel Film Festival in New York Wednesday night at the Waldorf Astoria.

Festival producer Meir Fenigstein said the festival has expanded in size and scope this year, with an added run in Los Angeles for the first time.

During the festival, November 22 through Dec. 4, 14 Israeli films will play several runs each at the New Carnegie Theater in Manhattan. Eight of the 14 films are premiering in New York.

Six of the festival films have received nominations for Academy Awards as Best Foreign film: “Sallah,” “I Love you Rosa,” “The House on Chelouche Street,” “Operation Thunderbolt (Entebbe)” “Beyond the Walls,” and “Avanti Popolo.”

Fenigstein said a major goal of the festival and the company he founded and directs to produce the festival, Israfest Foundation Inc., is to promote film production in Israel. In 1986, the number of foreign films shot in Israel jumped from six the previous year to 17.

Golan, chairman of the Board of Cannon Group Inc., said Wednesday that he hopes a $30 million studio Cannon is building outside Jerusalem will further encourage foreign producers to make films in Israel.

Golan said Cannon is in the midst of filming 16 fairy tales in the not-yet-completed Jerusalem studio. “We are building the biggest studio in the whole Mediterranean,” said Golan. “this marks the new potential of making films in Israel.”

Three Golan-Globus productions will play in the film festival: “The Lover” based on A.B. Yehoshua’s popular novel, “Gloves,” the story of a Polish immigrant boxer, and “Queen of the Class.” Other films in the festival include: “Smile of the Lamb,” “Irit Irit,” “Nadia” “Bar 51,” “You’re in the Army Girls,” and “Hamsin.”

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