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van Leer, Lia


VAN LEER, LIA (1924– ), founder of the Jerusalem Cinematheque and Jerusalem Film Center. Van Leer was born in Bessarabia, Romania, and immigrated to Israel in 1940. In 1955 she established, together with her husband, Wim van Leer (who died in 1992), the Israel Film Club in Haifa. A year later the couple established film clubs in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. In 1960 they founded the Israel Film Archive, in 1972 the Haifa Cinematheque, and in 1973 the Jerusalem Cinematheque. The latter screens quality films seven nights a week and houses the Jerusalem Film Center as well as the archive. It has a collection of 30,000 films and 50,000 negatives, including the world's largest collection of Jewish films, and 20,000 videos and cassettes, a library, and an education department. In 1983 Van Leer was a judge at the Cannes Film Festival and in 1984 she founded the annual Jerusalem Film Festival. In 1988 she hosted a large delegation from Russia at the Festival. She has also been a judge at the Berlin, Chicago, and Venice film festivals. In 1998 she was awarded an Israeli Film Academy Award. She also received the French Chevalier des Artes et Lettres award in homage to Israeli culture and art. In 2004 she received the Israel Prize for her special contribution to Israeli society.

[Shaked Gilboa (2nd ed.)]

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