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Media Release: New dates, venues, and a bold new competition for Israeli films and documentaries

The Australian Israel Cultural Exchange (AICE) Israeli Film Festival is thrilled to return to where it all began 13 years ago, screening at Melbourne's Cinema Nova from September 14 - 25 and for the first time at the Randwick Ritz in Sydney from September 15 - 25.

The festival is a showcase of the latest Israeli cinema, which has experienced a remarkable renaissance with local audiences over the last few years. As a showcase of national cinema it's a complex portrait of a complex nation and one that aims to increase mutual understanding between our two countries. In addition to AICE's venue changes, the 2016 festival will launch a brand new initiative for Israeli films and documentaries.

Participants will be eligible to apply for a prize of $25,000, one of the most generous in the Australian film landscape, for the best Israeli feature film or documentary, involving at least one Israeli producer. Intending to help foster talent within the industry, the competition's requirement for films to be no less than 55 minutes and an Australian premier encourages the best of the industry to be on show. AICE founder Albert Dadon AM, a longstanding developer and promoter of the arts and culture landscape, was delighted to announce this new facet of the festival to help bring independent Israeli films to the international stage.

"The introduction of the competition continues AICE's longstanding and ongoing commitment to highlighting the talent and creativity of the Israeli film industry, despite fierce competition from local festivals," Mr Dadon said.

"We will not be daunted in our task of increasing real and open dialogue between our two countries." This year's festival will be directed by Richard Moore who is known for his leadership of Melbourne and Brisbane's International Film Festival, as a former head of ABC TV Arts, and most recently for establishing the Hot Docs franchise in Australia with Palace Cinemas.

Mr Moore said this year's instalment will give real insight into the diversity of the Israeli film industry, with an array of films on show that explore and interpret genres in unconventional ways.

"The competition has brought entries from leading Israeli sales agents and production houses and represents a real snapshot of the Israeli film industry - from romantic comedies, and family dramas, spiced with a dash of horror and some hard hitting documentaries," Mr Moore said.

Melding the best of the old with the new, the festival will feature performances from star veterans of stage and screen, including the likes of Gila Almagor, Oded Teomi, and Devora Kaidar.

Tickets can be purchased at the respective cinemas following the full program announcement during the first week of August.