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Dalia Hager, born in 1963 in Israel, studied film directing and film scriptwriting at the University of Tel Aviv. In addition, she completed a film scriptwriting seminar, headed by Robert McCay, in the United States. Since 1993 she works as a screenwriter, producer, journalist, and professor. Her award-winning feature films have been screened at numerous international festivals. In the film “Close to Home,” Dalia Hager and Vidu Bilu tell the story of two eighteen-year-old female soldiers in Israel. During their military service, the rebellious Smadar and the accommodating Mirit are required to patrol the streets of Jerusalem. While they check Palestinian pedestrians and keep them under surveillance, they concentrate most on their own private affairs: crushes, getting their hair done, and dates. But the political reality erupts in their everyday life as well.

“Close to Home” is the first film to deal with the role of women in the military in Israel. Since the founding of the State of Israel, the three-year compulsory military service also applies to women. The time spent serving in the military is one of the most fundamental experiences of every young Israeli. Using two unalike recruits, the filmmakers Dalia Hager and Vidu Bilu show the extent to which an underlying sensation of permanent threat and the omnipresence of the military in everyday life influences their country. Authorized to handle questions of national security, both adolescent protagonists come to understand what responsible action means for them personally.

In 2006 “Close to Home” was shown in movie theaters throughout Europe as well as in Asia, the United States, and South America. The film was not only praised at the 2006 Berlinale, but also at the London Film Festival, at festivals in Pusan, Copenhagen, Vancouver, and Los Angeles, and other international film festivals. It was nominated for the 2006 European Film Award. In 2005, at the Jerusalem Film Festival, Dalia Hager and Vidu Bilu received the award for Best Screenplay. At the Berlinale, the film won the C.I.C.A.E. (International Confederation of Art Cinemas) Award.

In her thesis film, “One Summer with Erika,” Dalia Hager tells the story of the nine-year-old Uri, who has to spend the summer with his grandmother Erika. To rid himself of her too-watchful eye, the grandchild tries to pair her off with her new, Romanian neighbor Jacob. With fabricated letters and skillful lies, he arranges a meeting between the two grownups. With brevity, Hager’s film casually explores human transitoriness against the suggested backdrop of a politically-charged daily life. Jacob, who collects death notices, belongs to the large group of citizens not born in Israel. For his school class, little Uri has to write a paper on “What would happen if we had peace?” Uri’s frustrated grandmother, unsuccessfully casted as an actress in his matchmaking scheme, has only one answer: “War!”. Finally, when Uri’s plan begins to bear fruit and Jacob makes overtures for Erika’s hand, she refuses him point blank. But now too, Uri can also complete his paper for school…

At the Mograby Competition in Tel Aviv, this low-budget student film racked up the awards for Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Production. In 1993, at the Cinema Jov Film Festival, in Valencia, the leading actress from “One Summer with Erika” won the Best Actress award. Screened at many other international festivals, the film was also shown in Israel in movie theaters and on television.

Films (Selection): 2005 Close to Home (feature film in collaboration with Vidi Bilu) 1992 One Summer with Erika (feature film) 1987 Dvora Bertonov (documentary film) The Landlady/ Pink Letters (short films)
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