25th Annual Jewish Film Festival of Dallas

Emerging Filmmaker Prize, A Series of Shorts

Expired May 13, 2022 5:00 AM
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Jewish Film Festival of Dallas Presents

Emerging Filmmaker Prize, A Series of Shorts

Please REGISTER HERE to watch the Dallas Emerging Filmmaker Prize winning films, MAZEL TOV, First Place Winner, and THE UGLY SWAN, Honorable Mention. These films are available to stream any time between Tuesday, May 10th and Thursday, May 12th.

Jewish Film Festival of Dallas Emerging Filmmaker Prize winner for 2022 is Eli Zuzovsky, Writer and Director of MAZEL TOV.

Meet this award-winning young filmmaker on Thursday, May 12th at 7:30 PM during an online Talk Back with Michael Granberry, Arts and Feature Writer at The Dallas Morning News. A few days before the 12th, we will send you a zoom link to join our Talk Back event.

Emerging Filmmaker Prize Winner

MAZEL TOV directed by Eli Zuzovsky

Honorable Mention

THE UGLY SWAN directed by Rachel Lévy

Honorable Mention (Not Screening)

SWITCH directed by Gidon Dayan Forse

Sara, 23, is ultra-Orthodox and about to go on her fourth date with Yossi. Sara knows Yossi is serious about her but she carries a heavy secret.

Director Bio:

Rachel Lévy began her full-time studies at the Maaleh film school after a number of years in education, running pre-schools in Israel and abroad. “The Ugly Swan” is her second year graduating film. Now in the fourth year of her studies, Rachel is editing her graduating fictional short, which she shot this last summer.


Director Statement:

When I was 16 I found out that I would never be able to get pregnant. I grew up in an ultra-Orthodox family and neighborhood, so this was kept secret. I knew that according to social norms, I would have no chance of finding love in the "normal" way, through matchmaking, and that I would have to wait for someone widowed or divorced with children to agree to meet with me. This thing always made me upset, and I didn't want to give up on my dream of true love and relationship. At 19, I met a guy, a Yeshiva guy, and we really hit it off. I wanted to tell him my secret, but in my environment they told me there was no way he could marry me and that I should stop thinking about him. To this day, I regret that I didn't go all out and tell him. In this film, I tried to raise the complex issue of infertility versus relationships, which is expressed in a tough way in ultra-Orthodox society but relevant in every society. I wanted to express this difficulty of living with a secret, and how much it can ruin a life. I think making this movie is also a kind of self-acceptance and a desire to live fully, to get out of the secret. Visually, the film reflects a poetic atmosphere that prevails between the two protagonists: the flowers, the colors, the blue of the dress that combines with the mosaic stones of the location, the fountain with the water, the "European" composition of the frames against the background of the Jerusalem stone. My intention was to make a movie that resembled a song, a dream. I couldn't talk to the guy I really wanted to talk to and tell him my secret. If I was more at peace with my situation, if this sterility hadn't been kept as a big secret, as a flaw to be ashamed of, I think my life would have looked different. No one in the world should be ashamed of who they are.

  • Year
  • Runtime
    13.5 minutes
  • Language
  • Country
  • Social Media
  • Director
    Rachel Levy
  • Screenwriter
    Rachel Levy
  • Producer
    Ella Deutsch
  • Cast
    Danielle Eliya Zaints, Adiel Ariel, Dafi Zilberman
  • Cinematographer
    Shaya Chesner
  • Editor
    Rachel Levy, Brit Magari
  • Sound Design
    Mitch Kleinman
  • Music
    Leib Yaacov Rigler