Every year the Vancouver and Toronto Jewish Film Festivals screen the latest Israeli films as part of their annual festival offerings.
Then the quest begins !
Armed with their festival guide books I travel to Israel in the hopes of buying some of the films I have just enjoyed. In the North American film industry there is usually a six month to a year lag between a film’s showing and the point at which it is made available in DVD format for sale to the general public.
In Israel this lag seems to average 1 – 2 years ! And when they are released it is invariably in PAL format, not the NTSC format used in North America. Even then the trick is finding them on store shelves !
Even though armed with cold hard cash they are nowhere to be found.
Most Israeli CD/DVD stores have never even heard of them. I am usually directed to the Israeli section (should they have one) which is generally confined to a 8 by 4 foot bookshelf hidden amongst the re-released Steve Mcqueen, ‘Dirty Harry’ and ‘Crank’ DVD offerings.
Music CD’s present similar problems and most years after having flown half way around the world I will enter an Israeli CD store with Aretha Franklin playing full tilt to try and find the sound track to the ‘Srugim’ series or ‘Ballad of the Weeping Spring’. Compilations of Ofra Haza they have, but no ‘Srugim’.
Perhaps some Israeli government ministry could arrange to assist the Israeli film industry in making Israeli DVD movies commercially available in a timely and cost effective manner.
I realize that economies of scale may play a part in all this, but there must be many others like myself who are of a certain age and who do not have the technical know how to down load (legally or illegally) films from the internet and who are dependant on purchasing DVD’s in order to watch their favourite Israeli movies.