Seven Blessings
Seven BlessingsMaria Brodkin; courtesy of United King Films

The Ophir Awards ceremony for 2023, which was emceed by Alma Zak and held in the attendance of former president Rubi Rivlin, ended a short while ago in Tel Aviv.

The film industry concluded a prosperous year of creativity during which no less than 121 films of all genres were sent to the competition: 28 feature films / 23 long documentaries / 18 short documentaries and 52 short feature films. During the evening, 18 professional awards were handed out, and the lucky winners emerged one by one.

A close battle was evident between Seven Blessings, which presented 12 nominations, and Gan Kofim and The Vanishing Soldier, which presented 11 nominations each, and The Other Widow and Bayit, which contested with nine nominations each. By the end of the evening, Seven Blessings was declared the big winner of the evening and announced as the best Israeli feature film, i.e., the Israeli nomination to the Oscar awards.

Seven Blessings won in another nine categories, including best film, direction, screenplay, leading actress and supporting actress, and more, completing the magnificent comeback made by director Ayelet Menachemi after 16 years of absence from the ceremony.

Another high point of the evening was when Tiki Dayan, who has been nominated four times in the past, was finally awarded a statuette with her winning the supporting actress award for Seven Blessings. Raymond Amsalem won the lead actress award for Seven Blessings after being given a double nomination in this category for her role in The Future. This is Amsalem’s third nomination for the Ophir Award, after winning supporting actress for My Beautiful Sister in 2011 and The House on Fin Street in 2021.

The audience also cheered extensively for Katriel Shori when the 10th President of Israel, Rubi Rivlin, presented him with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Katri, who toiled for 21 years for the benefit of Israeli cinema and was one of the architects of the "Cinema Law", won the Rivlin Prize. According to the Academy: "He worked a lot to promote cinema, there is no one more appropriate than him to receive the award, Katri actually served as an ambassador of Israeli cinema around the world."