Israel’s Ophir Awards were handed out yesterday and the results were definitely unexpected. With more nomination than any other film “The Kind Words” seemed like the favorite to take home the Best Film award, thus automatically becoming Israel’s Oscar entry, but that was not the case. Instead, “Baba Joon” a smaller film in Farsi about the Iranian Jewish population, became the winner of the top award and is now the country’s official entry in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 88th Academy Awards.
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“Baba Joon” is the firs-ever Farsi-language film to represent Israel and stars Iranian actor Navid Negahban, who has had several roles in American TV shows such as “Homeland” and “The Messengers.” Directed by Yuval Delshad, the film tells the story of an Iranian immigrant in Israel who runs a turkey farm and wants to teach his teenage son the trade and other traditions so that they can live on after he is gone. “Baba Joon” recently screened at TIFF.
International sales are being handled by Eastgate Pictures. U.S. rights are still available.
Israel has received a total of 10 nominations in the category, the most recent one in 2012 with “Footnote.” The country has never won the statuette.