Jerusalem Film Festival Artistic Director Elad Samorzik To Step Down; Orr Sigoli Named As Successor

Jerusalem Film Festival Artistic Director Elad Samorzik has announced his departure from the role later this year after ten editions in the role, to be replaced by Orr Sigoli.

Sigoli and Samorzik will work together on the next edition, scheduled to unfold from July 18 to 28, with the latter continuing to working for the next few months as Outgoing Artistic Director.

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“After a decade at the festival, I have decided to leave my position and move on to new challenges. It was an incredible honor to serve as Artistic Director of the Jerusalem Film Festival for so many years and work with a team that became such a meaningful part of my life,” said Samorzik.

“I have known Orr Sigoli for many years; he is a true cinephile and I am certain that the festival will benefit greatly from his deep commitment to the art of film.”

Samorzik took up the reins as Artistic Director in late 2013, during a challenging time for the Jerusalem Cinematheque and Film Festival, as its founder Lia Van Leer, then in her 80s, started handing over the reins to a younger generation.

He served as Artistic Director for ten festival editions, from 2014 to 2023. First, alongside Executive Director Noa Regev and later alongside Roni Mahadav-Levin, making significant strides in the festival’s local and international standing.

During his time in the position, Samorzik initiated several new competitions, developed the festival’s industry days, expanded international partnerships, and increased the number of films and screenings.

Throughout his tenure, the annual number of viewers grew to 70,000 and cash prizes reached 1 million NIS ($227,000).

Guests during his tenure included Helen Mirren, Oliver Stone, Claire Denis, the Dardenne Brothers, Ruben Östlund, Pawel Pawlikowsky, Laurie Anderson, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Quentin Tarantino, and Park Chan- wook.

Orr Sigoli is a graduate of the Sam Spiegel Film and Television School. He previously worked as a movie channels programmer for yes-satellite-TV, as well as a film critic of print media such as City Mouse, Calcalist, and Globes.

In 2010, he co-founded, Israel’s most viewed independent film site, where he serves as Head Writer and Assistant Editor. In 2019, he began working as the Artistic Director of Holon Cinematheque. In 2020, he published his first novel; his second novel is set to be published in 2024.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank Elad Samorzik for his artistic leadership over the past decade, a period during which he succeeded, alongside Noa Regev and a devoted staff, to bring the festival to the forefront of Israel’s cultural stage and grant it international standing,” said Jerusalem Cinematheque Board Chairman, Daniel Mimran, and Jerusalem Cinematheque Executive Director and Jerusalem Film Festival Director, Roni Mahadav-Levin.

“We wish incoming Artistic Director Orr Sigoli much success and believe he will continue steering Israel’s leading film festival to reflect the artistic and cultural character of Israeli and international cinema – a particularly difficult role during this time,” they added.

Orr Sigoli said of this new role: “Becoming the Artistic Director of the Jerusalem Film Festival is a dream come true. The festival and the city became a great love of mine during my time as a student in Jerusalem.”

“I am a firm believer in the role of cinema in the cultural landscape and am therefore honored and very much looking forward to being a part of this important and wonderful institution, showcasing the best of world cinema to tens of thousands of viewers every year, as well as the most noteworthy and interesting Israeli and international filmmakers. I would like to express my most sincere gratitude to the Jerusalem Cinematheque and its Board of Directors for its warm reception and trust.”

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