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Poster for Cinema Sabaya (2023)
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Cinema Sabaya (2023)

Opens on March 31

Director: Orit Fouks Rotem Run Time: 91 min. Release Year: 2021

Starring: Amal Murkus, Aseel Farhat, Dana Ivgy, Khawlah Hag-Debsy, Orit Samuel

Country: Israel
Language: Hebrew, Arabic, English

About the film:

Israel’s official submission for Best International Feature at the 95th Academy Awards

A group of Palestinian and Israeli women attend a video workshop at a small town community center run by Rona (Dana Ivgy, Zero Motivation), a young filmmaker from Tel Aviv, who teaches them to document their lives. As each student shares footage from her home life with the others, their beliefs and preconceptions are challenged and barriers are broken down. The group comes together as mothers, daughters, wives, and women living in a world designed to keep them apart, forming an empowering and lasting bond as they learn more about each other… and themselves.

Inspired by writer-director Orit Fouks Rotem’s own experiences as a teacher, Cinema Sabaya (2023) presents a deft and heartfelt portrait of art’s capacity to unite disparate communities, moving effortlessly between the gravity of their conversations and the genuine joy of this unlikely group of friends.

“Understated, powerful… Rotem’s light, authentic touch makes it an engaging journey… paint[s] a colourful picture of life as a woman in modern Israel.”

—Nikki Baughan, Screen Daily

About the filmmaker:

Orit Fouks Rotem is an Israeli film director. Her feature directorial debut Cinema Sabaya (2023) won the Best Debut Film Award at the 2021 Jerusalem Film Festival and five Ophir Awards — including Best Feature Film, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actress for Joanna Said — and was Israel’s official entry for Best International Feature at the 95th Academy Awards.

Her other acclaimed projects have screened at festivals all over the world, including the short films Staring Match (2012) and Veil (2020). After graduating from the Jerusalem Sam Spiegel School with honors in 2012, Orit co-directed a documentary series for the Israeli Channel YES Doco, worked as a film facilitator and director for Israeli NGO making films with at-risk youth, and worked as a filmmaking teacher of groups of women in Acres and Givat Haviva.

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