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by Karen Pecota

The famous Israeli filmmaker Ruthy Pribar is known for her work that focuses on delicate moments of human emotions and interactions. In her debut feature film ASIA, Pribar does not disappoint her audience with a story about the challenges of a young, single mother who must walk through the shadows of darkness with her teenage daughter who is suffering from a life-threatening illness.

Pribar explains, "While Asia devotes herself to caring for Vika, she still cannot quite understand what she, as a mother, can offer her daughter. Asia's failed attempts at helping Vika, eventually bring them closer together. Asia gets to know her daughter; her fears and her longings." Pribar continues, "She learns that what Vika needs most is her unconditional love. This is a film about motherhood, sacrifice and love. It's about the ability and the choice to take responsibility for another person's life--even if it means letting go."


Asia (Alena Yiv) became a single parent at a very young age to her daughter, Vika (Shira Haas). The trials of a single mom caring for a young child were at times difficult but what became more of a challenge is when Vika was a teenager, she was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. No teenager wants to admit that sickness could derail typical teenage behavior, activities and friendships. Vika was no different. She wanted to continue her passion for skateboarding, study, grow to be old and have a serious romantic relationship.

The onslaught of her illness stood in the way of her goals, especially her desire to carry-on a normal teenage life. As much as Vika tried to muster up enough strength to appear normal when around her peers, the continued weakness of her body was the evidence that brought her back to the reality of her dismal fate.

Asia and Vika lived in the same house but rarely showed signs of a loving mother-daughter relationship. Asia was practically married to her job, as a nurse and Vika only wanted to hang out at the skate-park with her friends. Vika's illness takes a turn for the worst and their routine changes, as well as their relationship.

Asia, though unprepared to deal with the seriousness of Vika's illness, she realizes that her expertise as a nurse could be just what each of them needed. Asia is able to assist with the medical needs, but she is cumbersome in the way to show Vika the emotional love and attachment at this phase in their lives. Asia begins to put her selfishness aside to become the mother Vika needs but wonders if it is too late. A surprise discovery occurs and Vika's illness is the catalyst that brings the mother-daughter relationship to place where the two experience a special bond and a deep love that will forever abide. (Karen Pecota)

Special mention:

Winner of Three top Awards at the 2020 TriBeCa Online Film Festival

1.  Winner - The Nora Ephron Award - 2020 TriBeCa Film Festival

Jury Comment: "From the writing, to the directing, to the camera moves, to the direction for the acting, to the way Ms. Pribar told a story through non-speaking was just outstanding."

2.  Winner Best Actress in an International narrative feature film (Shira Haas) Israel

Jury Comment: "Her face is a never-ending landscape in which even the tiniest expression is heartbreaking; she's an incredibly honest and present actress who brings depth to everything she does."

3.  Winner - Best Cinematography in an International Narrative Feature Film, "ASIA" (Israel), Daniella Nowitz, Cinematographer

Jury Comments: "We were impressed with how the cinematography was supporting the emotionality of the story and was allowing us to really deeply feel with the characters." "Very simply and beautifully done."