Samaria Film Festival
Samaria Film FestivalPhoto: Etrog Studios

About 140 left-wing Israeli filmmakers decided to boycott the Shomron Cinema Fund and according to a report in Haaretz, they will not apply to the fund for budgets, will not participate in its projects, and will not seek employment in the organization.

The filmmakers Avi Mograbi, Rachel Leah Jones, Liran Atzmor, Yasmine Kini, and Noam Sheizaf initiated a public letter that claims that the fund that operates in Samaria is "part of the apartheid mechanism." The letter was also signed by Ari Pullman, Shira Geffen, Hagai Levi, Keren Yedaya , Ran Tal, and Nadav Lapid, who call on the heads of the Israeli Film Academy to refuse to hold the Ophir Awards ceremony in Samaria in the future. The Ophir Awards is commonly referred to as the Israeli Oscars.

According to the filmmakers, "This political foundation is headed by Aster Alush, the spokesperson of the Samaria Regional Council, and Yossi Dagan, the chairman of the Samaria Regional Council. The foundation and the festival invite Israeli artists to take an active part in whitewashing the occupation in exchange for financial support and prizes."

The dozens of signatories to the letter intend to boycott the Shomron Fund and not to cooperate with it, "not in greenhouses, not in lectures, and not in filmmaking. We will not agree to hold an Ophir Awards ceremony in an area subject to a military regime. We call on the Israel Academy of Film and Television, its members and leaders, not to turn Israeli cinema into another tool to oppress the Palestinian people."

Interestingly, this boycott of Samaria on the part of Israeli filmmakers stands in contrast to a letter signed by over 200 American celebrities against boycotting an Israeli film festival in October 2021.

About two months ago, the Shomron Film Festival was held for the first time. The opening ceremony of the festival in Ariel was attended by Yossi Dagan, Minister of Culture Hili Trooper, former minister Miri Regev, the heads of the Rabinovitch Foundation, and the producer and owner of Cinema City Moshe Adri who expressed hope that the Ophir Award ceremony will be held in Samaria in the future.