Sand Storm (2017): Israel’s Entry for the Oscar, Top Sundance Fest Winner, in Arabic

Israel has selected for the first time a film entirely in Arabic, Sand Storm, to represent the country at the Best Foreign Language Oscar.

Sand Storm won six Ophir Awards (Israel’s Oscars) given out by the Israeli Academy of Film and Television, including for best film. The winner of the best film award is entered as Israel’s submission for the foreign film award at the next year’s Oscars.
A family drama set in the Bedouin community, poor and often marginalized subset of the Israeli population, Sand Storm is the feature debut for Elite Zexer, a Jewish Israeli.

At this year’s Sundance Film Fest, in January, the film won the Grand Jury Prize in the World Cinema Dramatic section.

Miri Regev, Israel’s minister of culture and sport, caused a stir at the Ophir Awards show in Ashdod, walking out in protest while Arab-Israeli rapper Tamer Nafar performed a poem by the late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish.

Regev returned to present the best film award and was loudly booed.