Julie Shlez

Julie Shlez -

Julie Shlez, born on November 29, 1960, is an Israeli filmmaker and actress. She is the recipient of the Ophir Award for Best Director for her film "Afula Express."


Julie Shlez is a graduate of the film department at Beit Zvi School of the Performing Arts. In 1993, she directed the documentary film "Sangeen," which followed the lives of residents of caravans near Acre and the unique stories of the community living in the area. Following its release, Shlez received the Wolgin Award at the Jerusalem Film Festival.

In 1995, she directed another documentary film called "Baba Luba," which followed the journey of singer Danny Bassan in search of his biological father in Brazil, exploring the concepts of paternity and parenthood. This film also achieved success and won the Ophir Award in the documentary category.

One of her most notable and acclaimed films is "Afula Express," which was released in 1997. The story follows David (Tzvika Hadar) and Batya (Esti Zakheim) as David embarks on a journey to fulfill his dream of becoming a famous magician. "Afula Express" received tremendous success and positive reviews.

At the Ophir Awards ceremony that year, the film won six awards, including Best Director for Shlez. It also participated in international film festivals, including the Berlin Film Festival and festivals in various countries, such as the Czech Republic and the United States.

In 2002, she co-directed with Doron Tsabari a six-episode documentary series called "Dromah (The Seamstress from Mitzpeh)," which followed the struggles of female seamstresses from Mitzpeh Ramon against the closure of their sewing factory. The series combined unique interviews and a different perspective on the connected cases that the seamstresses handled. This series also achieved success and received the Academy Award for Best Documentary Series.

Over the years, Julie Shlez directed special documentary television programs for the investigative program "Fact," including "If You Can Hear Me, Answer" about the murder of Hanit Kikos, "Hebron," "Line 16," and "The Myrtles." In 2004, she was appointed head of the documentary department at Reshet, a television network in Israel.

In the same year, she directed a short film as part of the project "Stories from the Movies" called "The Game of Truth and Lies," starring Evelyn Kaplun. The film tells the story of two couples who meet to celebrate one woman's birthday, with various events unfolding throughout the evening. During this period, she played a significant role in various struggles by creators against cable companies, including the struggle of creators against HOT.

In 2005, Shlez directed the film "Forced to Be Happy," starring Rivka Michaeli, Tal Friedman, and Keren Mor. The film follows a family with a troubled past of parental conflict, pursued by the parents throughout the family's existence. Simcha (Sigalit Fuchs) tries to lead the family to a better place through a unique reality show. The film did not achieve success in Israeli cinemas but received five Ophir Awards.

In 2015, she was a member of the judging panel at the Haifa International Film Festival. In 2021, Shlez released her documentary film "Why Did I Say I Did," revisiting the case of the girl Hanit Kikos, this time focusing on the process of the indictment in the murder of Suliman al-Abid.

The film delves deep into the decision-making process in this case and raises questions about the functioning of law enforcement and the justice system in Israel. The film participated in the Jerusalem Film Festival and received critical acclaim.

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