|From its very beginning, the Jerusalem Cinematheque has embraced the role of exposing the very best of classical and modern, known and rare, world and local cinema. Initiated by Lia and Wim van Leer, the film archive is the pillar around which the Jerusalem Cinematheque was developed and built, emphasizing the importance of collecting, preserving, and cataloguing films from Israel and the world. From here, screening of these films and creating programs that put a spotlight on local and international filmmakers and subjects. It was quickly understood that educating towards a love of cinema would become a key objective, and so we developed and established seminars for elementary and high schools, and begun to conduct workshops and courses for teenagers and adults.
It was the 1980s, the cable TV revolution was no where in sight, videos were few and far between, and the Cinematheque became one of the only places where one could get to know, learn, and love cinema.
The passing years brought further commitment to these traits. In 1984, the Jerusalem International Film Festival was established (www.jff.org.il) and quickly took center stage in the local film culture.
© Anne Maniglier / OFF
Over the past two decades, the Jerusalem Cinematheque has become one of the leading cultural institutes in Jerusalem, a place where cinema has an essential role in the education and quest for tolerance, peace, and freedom. As an establishment working in Jerusalem, the Cinematheque is committed to maintain openness and pluralism, all are welcome within our walls as we promote internationally relevant art, ideas, and issues. As part of this dedication, the Cinematheque has initiated and conducts the IMUR project, the Jewish Film Festival, and the In the Spirit of Freedom prize in the Jerusalem Film Festival. These and other activities best reflect the spirit of our establishment, founders - Jerusalem Foundation, Ostrovsky Family Foundation, and Van Leer Group Foundation, and supporters - The Ministry of Science, Culture & Sport, Jerusalem Municipality, and many others.
The Cinematheque has always taken upon itself the role of promoting and assisting the local film industry. The heart of this activity is the Israeli Film Archive, working to collect, preserve, and make Israeli cinema accessible to the public. Additionally, the Cinematheque regularly screens Israeli cinema, old and new, thus becoming the sole platform for films and filmmakers that would usually not receive exposure in commercial venues.
The Jerusalem International Film Festival has placed Israeli film in the limelight and turned the Festival into an esteemed stage for local cinema. In its 30 years, the Festival has awarded over 2 million dollars worth of prizes to Israeli filmmakers.