New Aussie Movie Star premieres in Jerusalem

June 27, 2011 Agencies
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Jerusalem’s Cinematheque was packed to the rafters on Sunday night for the opening of the eighth annual Australia Israel Cultural Exchange’s Australian Film Festival.

Movie Star Koko

Andrea Faulkner pic: Ariel Besor

Among the audience were Australian Ambassador to Israel Andrea Faulkner, MKs Roni Bar-On and Shlomo Molla (both of the Kadima party), as well as Nelson Woss, the producer of the opening night’s film, Red Dog.

Based on the true story of a charismatic kelpie who united a mining community in Dampier in northwestern Australia in the 1970s and ’80s while roaming the Outback in search of his master, Red Dog will also screen on the opening night of the AICE festival in Haifa and Tel Aviv.

Having recently received a standing ovation at the Berlin Film Festival and captivated audiences at the London Australian Film Festival, Red Dog – starring Josh Lucas, Noah Taylor and Keisha Castle-Hughes – will be commercially released in Australia in August.

Woss, who is in Israel to address audiences at the premieres, said: “It was terrific to see Red Dog roam to Israel and an honour to screen at the prestigious Jerusalem Cinematheque with such a warm reception. Having spoken to some of the audience after the film, I was moved to discover that they connected so well with an Australian film and its themes of love and loss. Thank you to everyone at AICE for this opportunity.”

Albert Dadon pic: Ariel Besor

Nelson Woss pic: Ariel Besor

Three dogs were employed in the film, said Woss, who also produced Ned Kelly. “One played an older version of the dog, one was just hopeless,” he said, adding that the third was Koko, who he has since adopted.

“I have about 30 friends on Facebook, and Koko has 1600,” Woss told the Jerusalem Post. “He’s like a rock star. But he’s not spoiled.”

The Jerusalem screening was preceded by a reception and speeches by AICE Chairman Albert Dadon AM, Roni Bar-On MK, Ambassador Faulkner, the Cinematheque’s Aviva Meirom, the festival’s Artistic Director Keith Lawrence and producer Nelson Woss.

“This is the eighth annual Australian Film Festival in Israel and the response to the opening night’s film, Red Dog, is a measure of the success, not just of the festival, but of the Israeli public’s interest in Australian culture,” said Mr Dadon AM.

“It also underscores the bridge that we have been building between Australia and Israel since AICE was founded in 2002, and we look forward now to the Israeli Film Festival later this year in Sydney and Melbourne.”

The Australian Film Festival opens tonight in Haifa and next week in Tel Aviv.


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