‘It’s like a fingerprint of reality,” said Noa Regev, the CEO and director of the Jerusalem Cinematheque and the Jerusalem Film Festival, of the Israel Film Archive. “It preserves the truth.”
The Israel Film Archive is perhaps the least visible part of the Jerusalem Cinematheque empire, but it is the underpinning on which the rest of the enterprise rests. Before the late Lia van Leer, who passed away in March 2015, created the cinematheques and film festivals in Haifa and Jerusalem, she began collecting both Israeli and international films, which she would screen in a film club. The legend goes that in the early days, she kept the collection under her bed. But it grew into Israel’s national film collection, the Israel Film Archive, which is a member of the International Federation of Film Archives.