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Yona Friedman made aliyah in 1922 together with ten young technicians specializing in making iron-concrete which was then unknown in Israel. He worked for a number of years as a contractor in Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Ramallah before the business manager for all the Rex cinemas in the Middle East including the cinema in Jerusalem. When the War of Independence broke out, the business was registered as the property of his Arab partners. Yona remained responsible for the budget. After the Rex cinema in Jerusalem was burnt down by the Etzel in December 1947, the Cairo office received its stock from the British Public Information Office. Yona gave some of this film stock to Joseph Leytes, a Polish film director, who was making a film about Jerusalem. Friedman opened a business with Yusif Alpina, head of the Arab chamber of Commerce. The business flourished and they opened offices in Cairo and Beirut and together with Gavriel Dehan, head of the Cairo office, they founded the United Films Ltd. They made about 75 films to be distributed from the Beirut office to the Polish army. For that Yona received a letter of thanks from General Anders. Leytes came to Israel and made the film "Ein Breira" for the JNF with Theodore Bikel as narrator. Leytes also directed "Faithful City" and Friedman speaks about the production of the film which was screened at the prestigious "Park Avenue Theatre" in New York. ; During the years 1930-1940 Yona worked mainly on non-Jewish films. In his view Israeli films are expected to be different: spiritual and moral. Yona speaks derisively about Israeli documentaries and TV films. The films shown in cinemas have spoilt people's morality. Before 1948, only a few short films were made for JNF or Keren Hayesod. Otto Sonnenfeld made films abroad in 1926, 1927 and came to Palestine in 1933 to make a film. Yona was in touch with the American Jewish film maker David Slaznik who wanted (in partnership,with Yona) to make a film similar to Faithful City but ; the project did not come to fruition due to Salzniks insistence that Leytes be only the assistant director. He then proposed to make a film about Colonel Marcus, but the JNF did not want to engage in another project. So Yona produced his film and took it to the USA where it was shown in the private homes of heads of the most important film companies. But it did not succeed. It was shown in the Venetian Biennale, but the audience left during the screening. The film was then shown to the general public and was a great success and highly praised by Israel's ambassador to Italy. The Vatican and its film distributor took the film by contract, made an Italian dubbing and screened it every Sunday afternoon in all its churches. This was the last film Yona made.

Title Cultural Life in Eretz Israel (Cinema, Opera, Ballet).
Additional Titles חיי תרבות בא"י-קולנוע, אופרה, בלט, מוסיקה
Co-Author Cohen, Eli OHD (interviewer)
Creation Date November 13 1970
Notes המדור לתיעוד בעל פה של מכון המחקר ליהדות זמננו ע"ש אברהם הרמן באוניברסיטה העברית בירושלים
Format 8 p.
Language Hebrew
System Number 990044204310205171

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המדור לתיעוד בעל פה של מכון המחקר ליהדות זמננו ע"ש אברהם הרמן באוניברסיטה העברית בירושלים

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