Israeli actress Odeya Rush may be just 15 years old, but she can already mark a major achievement in her career.
Rush, who has been dividing her life between New York and Los Angeles in recent years, has earned a Young Artist Award nomination as Best Supporting Actress for her role in the 2012 feature film “The Odd Life of Timothy Green,” directed by Peter Hedges.
The Annual Young Artist Awards ceremony, which will be held in Los Angeles on Sunday, is considered a great starting point for youth performers in Hollywood. Past winners include actresses Winona Ryder and Drew Barrymore.
Rush, who is represented by the ADD agency, has made guest star appearances in television series “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Law and Order: SVU.” In 2012 she was cast as young Mary in “Mary, Mother of the Christ.”
While there’s little question that Israel would be classified as “Old World” in a historical sense—the country’s winemaking dates back thousands of years, including numerous Biblical references—Israel’s wine industry has only recently started gaining serious traction.
“Winemaking in Israel flourished for thousands of years, but largely disappeared after the fall of Byzantine rule in the region,” says Anat Levi, CEO of Golan Heights Winery. As a result, the Israeli wine industry is considered relatively young, reinvigorated only in the 20th century.
Golan Heights Winery’s history mirrors that assessment. The first vineyards were planted by moshavs and kibbutzes (both forms of agricultural cooperative communities) in 1976 after a visit from Cornelius Ough of the University of California, Davis. Ough was excited by the area’s winegrowing potential, thanks to its cool climate, high altitude and basalt-derived soils.
The grapes from the vineyards were initially sold to large cooperatives. However, after winemaking experimentation produced promising results in 1982, the Golan Heights Winery was built in time for the 1983 harvest.
In only a few decades, the winery has fostered a reputation of quality and craftsmanship. It has grown in part because of an intense pride for the land, investment in its personnel and an understanding of its vineyards.
“The foundation of our success is our terroir and the people that translate our beautiful spot on earth into high-quality grapes and wine,” says Chief Winemaker Victor Schoenfeld.
“Israeli wines today are dynamic and exciting,” says Levi. “They reflect our local Mediterranean climate. They also reflect the idiosyncratic Israeli culture of today, which is a unique mix of new innovations and ancient traditions. These are New World wines produced in the Mediterranean, close to the birthplace of the vine and wine.”
Golan Heights Winery produces three brands: Gamla, Golan and Yarden. Yarden is the winery’s flagship label, Gamla is intended as a more affordable quality line and the Golan wines are designed with great freshness for early drinking. Together, the winery’s three brands account for approximately 40% of Israel’s wine exports.
Innovation is at the center of the Golan Heights Winery, as it has embarked upon multiple progressive initiatives pioneering geographical mapping, vineyard meteorological stations, soil scanning and precision viticulture.
“We are excited that several development projects are now coming to fruition, and are already showing exciting results in the 2012 vintage,” says Schoenfeld.
Perhaps the winery’s most impressive and ambitious undertaking is its recent investment in plant propagation, in partnership with Entav of France, to develop disease-resistant clones and the world’s first insect-free “mother block” and nursery.
The goal is to eventually supply Entav-branded vines to all of Israel. Projects like this, as well as sharing of winemaking research with other producers, have helped Golan Heights Winery build an atmosphere of camaraderie and support. This not only improves the quality of its own wines, but those of the entire Israeli wine industry.
Golan Heights Winery continues to raise the standards and improve the image of Israeli wines, emphasizing its high quality and vast potential. For these reasons, Wine Enthusiast selects it as our New World Winery of the Year.
After making the Academy Awards’ short list for best documentary, the Israeli film The Gatekeepers was named one of the top movies of 2012 by The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.
Dror Moreh’s The Gatekeepers, comprised of interviews with six former heads of the Shin Bet security service, along with Joseph Cedar’s drama “Footnote,” about a father and son who are rival Talmud professors, were two of the top movies of 2012, according to film critics for The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.
Another Israeli film, Ra’anan Alexandrowicz’s documentary The Law in These Parts, also made the list compiled by Los Angeles Times critic Kenneth Turan.
Two Israeli documentaries have recently made the Academy Awards’ short list of 15 semifinals,5 Broken Cameras, directed by Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi; and The Gatekeepers, directed by Moreh.
Burnat and Davidi’s “5 Broken Cameras” is based on footage that Burnat shot in the West Bank village of Bil’in starting in 2005. Documenting the non-violent struggle against the building of the separation barrier on village lands, the film shows Burnat’s friends and family members being shot and wounded by Israel Defense Forces soldiers, and his cameras being smashed one after the other.
Two Israeli documentaries have been included on the shortlist of 15 films eligible for consideration for an Academy Award nomination for best documentary film, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced this week.
From this shortlist, five films will be selected for actual nomination for the Best Documentary Feature Oscar, which will be presented during the Academy Awards ceremony on February 24, 2013.
The two Israeli films which made it to the shortlist are director Dror Moreh’s “The Gatekeepers” and “5 Broken Cameras” by Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi.
Both films’ plots touch on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “The Gatekeepers” is comprised of interviews with six Shin Bet directors, who for the first time discuss their service, the dilemmas their struggled with and dramatic and painful moments they experienced.
The film made it to the prestigious Sundance Festival and has been sold for commercial distribution in the United States. It is also one of the Documentary Motion Picture nominees for the Producers Guild of America Awards.
“5 Broken Cameras” tells the story of Emad Burnat, a farmer and photographer from the West Bank village of Bil’in, who documented the villagers’ struggle together with activists from all around the world against the construction of the separation fence on residents’ lands.
Over the years Burnat’s cameras were destroyed by IDF soldiers, and in the film each camera documents a chapter in this life.
“5 Broken Cameras” has been sold to dozens of countries and television stations worldwide and screened in many international festivals.
The World Academy of Arts, Literature and Media (WAALM) has decides to give its annual award in the pop music category to Iranian-born Israeli singer Rita for her new album, “My Joys,” in which she sings in Persian.
Since its release, the album has created a lot of interest worldwide as it is being sold in Iran’s black market despite the tense relations between Israel and the Islamic Republic.
The news about the award took Rita by surprise. An email sent to the singer’s website informed her of the decision. The announcement stated that the Academy rewards intellectuals, journalists and artists who have left a unique mark on their professional field.
“The decision to select my album is very exciting and charming,” says Rita. “The truth is that it’s strange the Academy even heard of my album, and it’s not an obvious thing at all.”
She will receive the prize in London soon.
“Since the album’s release, I’ve been encountering many surprises,” Rita adds. “I suddenly get phone calls from China, from Japan, from France. It amazes me how this project, which began from something musical, has created such a social buzz.”
WAALM was founded in Hungary in 2005. Israeli singer Idan Raichel has received one of its awards in the past.
By David Caspi
Cable TV network Showtime has posted several short clips on YouTube teasing season 2 of its Golden Globe winning suspense drama “Homeland”. Most clips available now online feature cast and crew on set in Tel Aviv and Jaffa, as they are filming large portions of the new season’s first two episodes in the holy land almost three months ago.
The clips, presented by actor Navid Negahban, who plays CIA number-one Al-Qaeda target Abu Nazir, shows lead actors Claire Danes & Mandy Patinkin in character, as they shoot action scenes around Tel Aviv. Shooting in Israel also took place in Haifa, Nazareth and Ben Gurion Airport.
Earlier this week, while speaking at the Television Critics Association summer press tour event at the Beverly Hilton, executive producer Howard Gordon explained that the plot on paper takes place in Beirut Lebanon but it was an easy decision to have Tel Aviv double it. “Not only do we have these exotic and wonderful locations, which really do a remarkable proxy for Beirut because, when you think about it, it’s only a couple hundred miles away”, he told American reporters, “we have this tremendous production value for a great value because we had amazing professionals and we took a bunch of our key people over there”.
“Homeland”, nominated in 9 categories including Outstanding Drama Series at the upcoming Emmys, is of course based on Israeli show “Prisoners of War”, which is now available in North America via on-demand TV streaming website Hulu. Season 2 of “Homeland” premieres September 30 on Showtime.