39 Pounds of Israeli pride in Hollywood

Tuesday, October 24, 2006 |  by Staff Writer  

A little Israeli pride in Hollywood: The movie of Israeli director Dani Menkin, “39 Pounds of Love,” has won the Media Access Award for best documentary film. The award ceremony is held each year for media organizations which allow for the exposure of stories about people with disabilities.

The award, closely associated with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, is given to honor a member of the entertainment or media industry who has given exemplary support and has made a superior effort to assist with the employment of artists with disabilities. The award which has been increasingly talked about in the US over the past few years was also given to the producer of the movie, Daniel Chaplin, who worked on the film alongside Menkin.

The film, “39 Pounds of Love” depicts the emotional journey of Ami Ankilewitz, a 34 year old animator who is confined to a wheelchair and was diagnosed with an extremely rare and often fatal form of SMA/2 that severely limits his physical growth and movement. At 34, Ami embarks, along with his friends, on a journey in search of the doctor who told his mother he wouldn’t live past the age of six to tell him “I’m alive!” Ami, who can only move his thumb on his left hand, did all the animation for the film.

In addition to receiving the Media Access Award, the film was also nominated for the Oscars and made it to the top 15 films considered for the award.

During the ceremony, Menkin told the crowd that he is very proud of the award and that as an Israeli director of an Israeli film he wants everyone to “look what beautiful things come out of Israel.”

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