Director Talya Lavie's Zero Motivation won the Tribeca Film Festival's top prize yesterday.
Lavie described her feature debut as "a comi-tragic glimpse into Israeli military society" in an interview with Women and Hollywood.
"During my mandatory military service as a secretary," she continued, "I dreamed of making an army movie with the pathos and epic proportions of classic war films, but about the gray, mundane service that my friends and I had, hardly ever getting up from our office chairs. I was inspired and amused by the idea of using envelopes, coffee cups, office intrigues, staple guns, and solitaire in order to create a female response to the Israeli male-dominated army-film genre."
As the recipient of the Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature, Lavie will receive $25,000. The competition jury praised Lavie as a "new, powerful, voice."
Zero Motivation also won the second annual Nora Ephron Prize, co-presented by Delia Ephron. Lavie will receive another $25,000 as part of the award. The Nora Ephron jury noted, "In her unique and ambitious first feature, this filmmaker deftly handled such difficult themes as the military, sexism, love, ambition, and friendship. This filmmaker also pulled off the awesome feat of managing multiple characters and storylines. In what was definitely the most hilarious film we saw at the festival... the winning film is a fresh, original, and heartfelt comedy about life behind the scenes in the Israeli army."
In the documentary genre, Nancy Kates' Regarding Susan Sontag received a Special Jury Mention.
Ne Me Quitte Pas directors and editors Sabine Lubbe Bakker and Niels van Koevorden received honors for Best Documentary Editing. The jury commented, "This year's prize for editing celebrates a pair of filmmakers' ability to give shape, rhythm, and even mythic beauty to a story that might have been, frankly, a sodden mess. For finding luster in the most unlikely places, the winners of this year's prize for Best Documentary Editing goes to Sabine Lubbe Bakker and Niels van Koevorden for their bittersweet portrait of two Belgian boozers."
The festival's audience awards will be announced on April 26. Screenings of the award-winning films will take place on April 27.