The ripple effects of Mideast politics are spreading as far as Hollywood's glamour-studded Oscar awards.
On the surface, it could have been any other Hollywood industry event: legendary producer Mike Medavoy and actress-director-producer Penny Marshall received awards before the festival-opening movie screening at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Business as usual in Hollywood.
If the mark of a fully matured film industry is that directors have logged enough time behind the camera that one can spot personal styles emerging over several films, then this year's Israel Film Festival proves that the Israelis have definitely reached that plateau.
Not all of them were Jewish, but they were definitely the chosen people -- five Los Angeles and 33 Israeli film students brought together for a two-week "master class" in screenwriting at Tel Aviv University. Held under the auspices of the Tel Aviv-Los Angeles partnership, the class was designed to give a boost to Israel's film industry by improving the capabilities of Israel's future scriptwriters. A further aim -- a subtext, to use the screenwriting term -- was to strengthen sympathy for Israel among American film professionals.