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Shlomi Eldar’s film among 15 documentary features shortlisted for Academy Award. ‘I started dancing when I heard about it,’ Eldar tells Ynet
Israeli director Shlomi Eldar’s film “Precious Life” is among 15 documentary features shortlisted for an Academy Award in the Best Documentary Film category.
“I just received the news,” Eldar told Ynet. “I am at JFK Airport, after taking part in the Israel Film Festival in New York. I was completely unprepared for the announcement, which I was informed of by the HBO production people.
“This is the first time I’m really excited, after the film has been screened all over the world for months, in quite a few festivals. It’s unbelievable. I began shooting this film although no one believed in it, and it wouldn’t have been made if it wasn’t for producer Ehud Bleiberg. After him, HBO believed that it would succeed from the very beginning.
“When I received the email, I simply started dancing. It sounds immodest, but the truth is that when I saw the American audience’s response and the warm welcome the film got, both among the audience and among the critics, it was clear to me that we are heading in the right path. I’m very excited.”
“Precious Life” tells the story of Mohammed Abu Mustafa, a four-month-old Palestinian infant who suffers from a genetic disorder in his immune system which may lead to his death.
A TV report by Eldar helped transfer the boy and his mother from Gaza to the Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, and later found a Jewish donor who gave $55,000 to cover the medical expenses.
Part of the film takes place during the Israeli offensive in Gaza, and takes a dramatic turn when the infant’s mother, Raida, says in one of the scenes that she hopes her son will become a suicide bomber. In response, Eldar decided to stop shooting, but was drawn back to the camera due to the events and the child’s deteriorating condition.
“Precious Life” is the only Israeli film shortlisted for the Best Documentary Film Category. Another film on the list is “The Tillman Story” by Amir Bar-Lev, an Israel-born director living in the United States.