‘First we need to win an Oscar.’ – A Conversation with the Israel Film Council Chairman

Eyal Boers is one of Israel’s top film experts.

In 2011, he was appointed head of the film and television track at Ariel University’s Moskowitz School of Communication. And in 2018, Eyal was named chairman of the Israel Film Council.

He was also a member of the Israeli Documentary Filmmakers Forum from 2008 to 2018, as well as a member of the Israeli Academy of Film and Television from 2014 to 2018.

In addition, Eyal has participated in the production of four titles, including producing and directing the feature documentary film Live or Die In Entebbe, which you can watch on IZZY.

We caught up with Eyal to learn more about Israeli cinema.

IZZY: Why do you think Israel is one of the countries with the most film schools per capita?
Eyal Boers: You cannot disconnect this from the fact that Israel is one of the most academic countries on Earth. The number of people here in Israel with a B.A. or M.A. per capita is one of the highest in the world. There’s this mentality here, if you want to be a chemist, you study chemistry. You want to be in film? You study film.

IZZY: When did Israeli cinema become a formidable industry?
Eyal: The golden age of Israeli cinema started in 1999. You had the initial film law that came into action, which created the Israel Film Council and has guaranteed government funding of local films. The budget started with 20 million shekels and it has climbed to more than 100 million shekels for making Israeli films in Hebrew or Arabic, made in Israel by Israeli filmmakers.

IZZY: What is the purpose of the Israel Film Council?
Eyal: Almost every country has an equivalent of the Israel Film Council. Once you use government money, you need a public organization or body to supervise the money, monitor the film laws, and design policies and criteria that allow for the distribution of the government money in a moral, equal, and efficient way. It’s like a board of directors. We also make sure the Israeli film industry reflects and represents the different groups and values in Israeli society.

IZZY: What would you like to see happen in the Israeli film industry over the next 5-to-10 years?
Eyal: First we need to win the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It’s not the pinnacle of everything, but it’s about time. We’ve come close, and we have to get there. And of course we need to continue with critical success at important film festivals — like Cannes, Berlin, and Venice — to expose the world to Israeli cinema. In the future, I’d also like to see films be a point of collaboration with new countries, perhaps even with our current enemies, such as Iran, which has a great film industry.

IZZY: What would you like people to know about the film and television track at Ariel University’s Moskowitz School of Communication?
Eyal: It’s very colorful. The students I have really come from everywhere in Israel, geographically and culturally. There’s an incredible mixture between Orthodox Jews, secular Jews, Jews of Ethiopian descent, and Arab Israelis. I get access to stories that I’ve never personally been exposed to. And the location is incredible. We have vineyards, the desert, mountains. Incredible scenery. This should be the Hollywood of Israel, or at least a perfect background for “Israeli Westerns.”

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