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Ronit Elkabetz - Director

Ronit Elkabatz is the eldest daughter of Moroccan parents who immigrated to Israel in 1963. In high school she majored in fashion design and graduated with honors. She believed that some day she’ll become a famous fashion designer. But the world had other plans. In the late 1980’s, after being discharged from the army, a commercial director recommended she audition for a Daniel Waxman film titled “The Intended”. Ronit had no acting experience or education, and she now jokingly tells that she didn’t even know what a “feature” was back then. But as she walked into the audition, she was overwhelmed by the sensation that for the first time in her life, she was home. The next morning, she was told she got the part, and this was when it all began. After that role, she was offered a part in the motion theatre of the Acre Festival, in Atore Scolla’s “Dance Night”. Her next roles were in the following films: Gidi Dar’s “Eddie King “ (1992), Shmulik Haspari’s Sh’chur, for which she won an Israeli Academy Award for Best Actress (1994). That same year, she also played in Haim Buzaglo’s “Scar”, which she co-wrote with the director. After playing many roles in theatre and TV productions, Ronit decided to leave Israel in 1997, and fulfill her dream of living in Paris. Without speaking the language or knowing anyone there, she lands directly in Arian Menushkin’s “Sun Theatre”. After spending a year cleaning the theatre and auditioning intensively, she decides to put on a one-woman show about Martha Graham’s life, and submit it to the Avignion Film Festival in France. In the summer of 1998 she puts the show together for the festival, along with Emanuel Pinto, an Israeli director, and wins rave reviews. She later tries to use these reviews to attract additional producers to support the show in Paris, this time with Mandy Yunnes, a French director. The show runs in paris every night until 1999, at first in the circus tent in Place De Clichy, and later in one of the 20th quarter’s theatres. In the audience on closing night are film directors Zakiah and Amed Buschala, who offer Ronit her first starring role in a French film titled “Origine Controlee”. Her dream is coming true. After shooting wraps, for the first time Ronit feels ready to go back home, after three years in France. She return to Israel to shoot Dover Kossashvili’s Late Marriage” (2000). For her role in this film she wins several awards: Best Actress in The Israeli Academy Awards (2001), in the Salonika International Film Festival (2001), in the Argentina International Film Festival (2002), and The Critics’ Choice Award in the US (2003). In 2000, while wrapping the shoot of Late Marriage, she flies to New York, to her brother Shlomi, and suggests he co-write a script with her, titled “To Take A Wife”, which they intend to direct together. In 2001, Ronit returns to Paris and accepts an offer from theatre director Dan Jamet, to play Mother Obo in Alfred Jerry’s “King Obo”. The King Obo tour lasts until mid 2002, after which she returns to Israel, to promote “To Take A Wife”. After Marek Rosenbaum, one of Israel’s top film producers, decides to produce the film, the Rabinovich-Tel Aviv foundation approves the script and grants 400,000$ for its production. Ronit continues fundraising for a budget and a French crew, and commissions producers Jean Philip Razzet and Erique Cohen for the project. In the summer of 2003, Ronit and Shlomi shoot their directorial film debut, in “To Take A Wife”. Ronit also plays the lead role, alongside Simmo Abkarian and Gilbert Malki. That same year, Ronit also stars in Keren Yedaaya’s Or”, that wins the Camera D’Or award in the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. Both films are screened during the International Film Festival in Jerusalem, and award Ronit Elkabatz with the Best Actress Award for “To Take A Wife” and “Or”.
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