About the project
In 1973 George Ostrovsky dreamt of creating a cinematheque in Israel. For years, Wim and Lia van Leer had been running regular screenings in Haifa, Tel-Aviv and then Jerusalem, of films from the Israel Film Archives. Aware of their enthusiasm and knowledge of film, George approached the Van Leers. After a year he managed to persuade them and together they inspired Teddy Kollek to share his dream. Seeking to bring new life to the Hinnom Valley beneath the Old City walls, the perfect site was located. George Ostrovsky provided a million dollars to get the project started and his family has continued to provide significant annual funding ever since. In order to complete the building, Teddy and the Jerusalem Foundation garnered further support from friends in the motion picture industry in Hollywood and around the world. The Jerusalem Foundation, and later the Van Leer Foundation, have continued to provide substantial financing in support of the Cinematheque. In 1981, the Jerusalem Cinematheque officially opened and Lia van Leer was named director. The universal language of film became an integral part of the Jerusalem landscape. The Cinematheque is now home to the Israel Film Archive, housing and preserving the world’s largest collection of Jewish and Israeli films. Screening halls and facilities include: The Samuel Edelstein Aditorium (365 seats), the Wohlstetter Screening Hall, the Cecil Bernstein Museum, the Lew & Edie Wasserman Library, the Joan Sourasky-Constantiner Holocaust Multimedia Research Center and the Lavan Restaurant. The Recanati Rescue Fund used saves films from the Former Soviet Union. The Cinematheque runs education programs and co-existence work shops as well.