Israeli film pioneer Van Leer dies
15 March 2015, Nirapad News: Lia van Leer, an Israeli cinema pioneer and Israel Prize laureate, died Friday in a Jerusalem hospital aged 90.
Van Leer had been hospitalised after returning from Germany, where she attended the Berlinale film festival last month, Carol Dreyfus, who worked with her, said on Saturday.
Born in Romania, Van Leer moved to Israel and studied at Hebrew University where she met her future husband, Dutch filmmaker and engineer Wim van Leer. They founded Israel’s first cinema club in the 1950s.
The two travelled extensively, collecting movies from around the world, which led to her founding the Israel Film Archives.
In 1973, she created the Jerusalem Cinematheque and, 10 years later, started the Jerusalem Film Festival.
Van Leer was awarded the Israel Prize in 2004 for her life’s achievements and the President’s Medal last year.
She was an advocate of peace, inviting Iranian film-makers to Jerusalem and supporting Palestinian cinema.
“My aim in life is to get the largest number of people to love cinema, and I will continue doing that as long as I have the strength,” she told AFP some months ago.