Stars shine at film gala in Hollywood
Natalie Portman, Sharon Stone honored at Israel Film Festival in Los Angeles.
The 30th anniversary edition of the Israel Film Festival kicked off in star-studded style on Nov. 9 with a gala dinner at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. The event honored Natalie Portman, Sharon Stone and musician Miri Ben-Ari. It also introduced many of the Israeli filmmakers whose features, shorts and documentaries will be presented at the festival, which runs through Nov. 23 in Los Angeles.
“2 Broke Girls” star Kat Dennings presented the Achievement in Film Award to her good friend Portman, outlining the “Black Swan” Oscar winner’s accomplishments – including the upcoming Jacqueline Kennedy biopic “Jackie" – and explained how they met.
Although the two actresses starred together in “Thor” and its sequel, they actually met more than 10 years ago on the set of a friend’s music video. “She was playing a princess and I was wearing a leopard print loincloth. She was so nice to me. We have been friends ever since,” Dennings said, calling the Jerusalem-born Portman “a wonderful generous, fearless and inspirational person that I adore and am always in awe of. She can finish a New York Times crossword in three minutes, even the Thursday ones. Those are the hardest.”
Accepting her award, Portman, pregnant with her second child, said she felt “so lucky to have made my first film in Israel based on the work of the great Amos Oz,” and recited a speech that Oz gave last year.
Sharon Stone, who was given the Career Achievement Award for her work on screen in such movies as “Basic Instinct” and “Casino” and her philanthropic and activist work on behalf of HIV/AIDS, youth and other organizations, also spoke.
“The only thing that will provide unity for us is continuing to work to see our fellow man for who they are and what they need…clearly, openly and with love in our hearts,” she said. She reminded the industry crowd, “We in this town influence the world. We are powerful and what we say and do matters globally. It has impact. It has meaning.”
Grammy Award-winning Israeli violinist Miri Ben-Ari, who is working on a new album and will soon celebrate the 10-year anniversary of her nonprofit Gedenk, performed two songs before accepting the Achievement in Music Award.
Earlier, she told From the Grapevine what it meant to her. “It’s a big honor. I was born and raised in Israel and this is a very important platform to showcase Israeli art, creativity, culture and it’s an honor to be a part of it,” she said.
Although she now lives in the U.S., she went back to Israel to visit her parents in the summer. “It’s beautiful, it’s so diverse. It’s smart, it’s innovative, it’s creative,” she said. “You can find everything in Israel.”
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