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Bezalel Film Academy Represents at Ottawa

Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design 2011 graduate Yoram Cohen screens his work at the Ottawa International Animation Festival.

Jerusalem --

Yotam Cohen’s undergraduate short film, Peacemaker Mac – The Island of Dispute, will be screened at the Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF) between September 19 and 23. He is the only filmmaker from Israel to present his work at the prestigious animation festival this year. Cohen graduated from the Screen-Based Arts Department at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design Jerusalem in 2011.

The Ottawa festival is the largest event of its kind in North America and is a major film event attracting delegates from around the world. The screenings are some of the best new animation works selected from nearly 2,500 entries and they include a mixture of short independent films, TV commercials, series, student films, music videos, and more.

Bezalel Academy’s Screen-Based Arts Department has featured some of its top students’ animated films at the Ottawa festival in past years and has won “Best School Showreel” twice – in 2007 and 2011.

Cohen’s short film will be presented in the student competition category, Undergraduate Animation. Peacemaker Mac – The Island of Dispute is a pencil-on-paper-style animated film, which he produced as his graduation film in 2011.

The animated short film is about Peacemaker Mac, who arrives on the Island of dispute to settle a land conflict. He tries his usual methods – handshakes, peace accord-like ceremonies and even a separation barrier. After realizing that he only escalated the already aggressive situation, his real concern is for his untarnished resume. So he quickly escapes the island and destroys all evidence behind him.

“Yotam’s excellent film is the result of many months of hard work, love and dedication,” says Professor Rony Oren, head of Bezalel’s Animation Track. “We are extremely proud of the fact that one of our students is representing Israel at this festival in Ottawa and we know that this is a sign of only good things to come for Yotam in his animation career.

“Bezalel’s film students are well-known internationally for their creativity and innovation, and the more than 80 awards our students have won over the past decade is testament to the quality of the work that comes out of Bezalel. It also reinforces the Academy’s status as one of the leading institutions of its kind in the world,” says Oren.

The recent 2012 Bezalel animation graduates produced a variety of interesting and thought-provoking animated short films, some of which are mentioned below.

Stitches by Reut Bortz

The film deals with the question whether Is it possible to adapt every child to one specific mold? In an enclosed city, in which everyone looks the same and follows the same path, in which everything is done by the book — one girl sprouts wings. The idea that their daughter will be “exceptional” in their society is too difficult for the family. They feel they cannot allow the  difference to continue to grow, and must therefore alter her to fit the existing framework. Now the girl must face her difference and choose between her family and her freedom.

Romance by Ore Peleg and Roni Cohen

Computer generated animation. Dodke and Levana are an elderly couple, married for over 60 years. Throughout the day, Dodke tries to fix a broken old alarm clock. Levana is always around him, cleaning, tiding and disrupting his work. Together, they go through their daily ritual and show the true meaning of romance.

God Is Kidding by Boaz Balachsan

The film illustrates an eternal philosophical question rooted in our sub-conscious and talks about God and faith through the imagination of children. As the film bases itself on interviews with children from the different sectors of Israeli society, we get a wide array of world views represented through the different images of God. The use of animation makes the subject more approachable for all ages and helps us find the added value of the film through the magical world of children's imaginations.

Stairs to no end by Daniella Koffler 

The stairs of knowledge lead to the light. A curious girl in a dark world tries to reach it, but must face those for whom light is an obstacle.

Source: Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design Jerusalem

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.