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Movies lessen distance between Taiwan, Israel

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The distance between Taiwan and Israel is being lessened by movies and performances, with Raphael Gamzou, the representative of the Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei (ISECO) , meeting recently with locally renowned movie director and producer Lee Khan to discuss filmmaking ideas.

According to the ISECO, Gamzou and Lee talked about potential Taiwanese-Israeli co-productions in their meeting, in which art-lover Gamzou invited Lee to meet with Gila Almagor, an actress from Israel's Habimah National Theatre who is dubbed the "first lady" of Israeli cinema.

Almagor is scheduled to visit Taiwan in October to present an autobiographical one-woman stage play and to share with local audiences several of her films at the Performing Arts Festival organized by the Taipei National University of the Arts.

Gamzou and Lee were brought together not only because of their shared passion for cinema but also for good wine, as the top Israeli representative to Taiwan learnt that Lee had two bottles of Israeli wine he bought in Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport confiscated at Bangkok Airport due to the restrictions on carrying liquids aboard aircraft.

Lee, who is the brother of world renowned director Ang Lee, went to Israel in May to attend the 2009 "Docaviv" international documentary film festival, as it featured a special tribute to Taiwan's documentary filmmaking.

Invited by the film festival to show his production Starts -- a documentary about young people pursuing their dreams of becoming singers -- Lee was among six Taiwanese filmmakers and directors who screened their work at the festival.

After returning from Israel, Lee wrote a letter to ISECO and recounted among other things his disappointment regarding the wine incident. Gamzou therefore decided to offer Lee two bottles of prestigious Israeli wine at their meeting.

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