2008 – Amos Gitai
Gitai received his PhD in architecture from the University of California – Berkeley. Following the controversial reception to Field Diary, Gitai moved to Paris in 1983, where he was based for the next ten years and during this period continued to travel widely directing such documentaries as Pineapple – a humorous odyssey about the growth and marketing of pineapples. He also made Brand New Day – a film that followed Annie Lennox and the Eurythmics as they toured Japan. During this period he began directing fiction and historical films about the experience of exile. These films include the Venice critic’s prize-winning Berlin Jerusalem and the extraordinary trilogy on the Jewish legend of Golem.
In the mid-90s Gitai moved to Haifa and began the most fertile, productive period of his career to date. Over 10 years, Gitai made some 15 films, both documentary and fiction. The 1995 feature Devarim marked the return to his country and his reunion with the light and landscape of Tel Aviv. The first film in Gitai’s trilogy of Israeli cities, Devarim was followed by Yom Yom (shot in Haifa) and Kadosh (shot in Mea Shearim, the Jerusalem district of Orthodox Jews).This return to his country is also a travel back in his own history: Gitai directs Kippur (2000), a feature film based on his war memories. To date Amos Gitai has created over 80 titles throughout 38 years. In 2008 Amos Gitai receives the Leopard of Honor at Locarno International Film Festival. This life-achievement award is offered in recognition of the work of renowned directors whose creativity has had an unquestionable impact on contemporary cinema.
Amos Gitai an Israeli auteur filmmaker known for making documentaries and feature films, surrounding the Middle East and Jewish-Arab conflict. Between 1999 and 2011 seven of his films entered the Cannes Film Festival for the Golden Palm Award as well as the Venice Film Festival for the Golden Lion award.