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Directors: Oded Binnun, Mihal Brezis
Kudos: Awards of the Israeli Academy (Best Short Film); Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival (Best Foreign Short)
Lowdown: "Aya" may be the longest film in contention, but it is quite minimalist in its presentation. An airport and a car ride make up the bulk of its settings. But within that, an enchanting, heartfelt, intimate yarn is teased out about a woman confused for an assigned driver who plays through a chance encounter with a stranger just as far as her morals will take her. It's an aching story of fantasy in many ways, about longing and human impulse. It's a two-hander with actors Sarah Adler and Ulrich Tomsen, but Adler in particular sells the stakes and the intrigue. The film has also set a precedent in Israeli cinema as the first short film released stand-alone for commercial theatrical screenings in the country.