THE FIELD (aka BACK TO SEBASTIA) [Hasade] Director: Mordechai Vardi Category: Current Affairs & Politics Production: Mordechai Vardi: Veradim Productions; for Channel 8 (Hot Cable Communication), Commissioning Editor: Rinat Klein; The Gesher Multicultural Film Fund / Israel 2017 Associate Producer: Michael Treves: JMT Films Distribution & Co-productions Language: Hebrew, English, Arabic. Subtitles: English Length: 82 minutes
Logline: Ali Abu Awaad is a leading Palestinian activist who teaches his countrymen non-violent resistance and reaches out to Jewish Israelis at the heart of the conflict.
Synopsis: Gush Etzion junction, between Jerusalem and Hebron: Ali Abu Awad dedicates his family’s field as a Palestinian Center for Non-violence. Despite his life experience, four years in an Israeli prison, his mother’s five year sentence, a brother killed by an Israeli soldier - Ali creates ''Roots'' with local Israeli settlers advancing responsibility and grassroots work to enable political reconciliation. The film director accompanies the initiative for 2.5 years and documents the changes transpiring on both sides. In 2015, Gush Etzion Junction suffers a wave of violence and the activists face a reality where their own relatives are being attacked.
Long Synopsis:In the West Bank, between Jerusalem and Hebron, there is an awakening of people from both sides desiring to find hope, and working for reconciliation. In the difficult situation of national conflict with the threat of terrorist attacks and the reality of occupation.
"The Field" is a feature length documentary film that follows the "Roots" project. A first of its kind initiative between Palestinians and Israeli settlers together working towards coexistence and peace not through politics but rather through a peoples movement developing from the grass roots.
Every day, thousands of Palestinians and Israeli settlers pass through the "Etzion Junction," Near the junction you'll find the field of Ali Abu Awwad (40). Ali is a main character in the film - a charismatic leader, and his autobiography tells a story that normally produces a bitter hardened enemy. A childhood with a mother in Israeli prison, his own coming of age in the prisons because of his anti-Israel activities, his being wounded by shots fired from a passing Israeli car and his brother killed by an Israeli soldier. Ali invites Israeli settlers and Palestinians to meet in his piece of land and to hear the narrative of the other and to open to change. In Ali's field, people get liberated from the mutual fear. It's like another planet, a bubble of calm within a harsh reality. Ali's initiative is called "Roots" and it began in the winter of 2014 when he met a settler named Shaul Judelman, and they built together a partnership of peace activists. A joint project of Palestinians and Israeli settlers to find a way to live together in the hope of a better future.
« 300 meters from the junction ‘the field’ is God's Little Acre of coexistence between Palestinians and settlers. ‘’Roots’’ is trying to succeed where politics failed. »
Roots of Peace / Ruthi Kadosh / Maariv Daily Newspaper (Hebrew)
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HOLY ZOO Director: Katharina Waisburd Category: Current Affairs & Politics/Human Interest Production: Anna Martensen:TM Film, for SWR (Commissioning Editor: Dr. Gudrun Hanke-El Ghomri) / Germany 2016
Advisory Producer: Vadim Jendreyko, Producer Filmacademy: Denise Neustadt;
Associate Producer: Hercli Bundi: Mira Film GmbH, Zurich, Switzerland Language: Hebrew, Arabic, English. Subtitles: German/English Length: 60 minutes.
Synopsis:In Jerusalem’s Biblical Zoo Israelis and Palestinians work hand in hand. This would be considered as normality in many places around the world, but here it happens in an environment, which is constantly shaken by violence and war. Even though coming from the same city, people’s living realities seem to be far away from each other and are marked by deep cuts in society. In the microcosm of the zoo among animals and on green refreshing grounds their cooperation seems to be easy. Holy Zoo discovers an extraordinary place in the heart of the Middle East Conflict and dares to revive questions about freedom and hope in a desperate situation.
« Katharina Waisburd offers a new, original look at the subject matter of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She thoroughly illustrates the relations of the Jewish and the Muslim employees of the zoo in Jerusalem – full of friendship, though not devoid of tensions. » Focus on Germany / Krakow Film Festival
« "Holy Zoo": This interesting fly-on-the-wall documentary, receiving a world premiere, drops us into the going-ons at the Biblical Zoo, a Jerusalem attraction where school kids from different faiths visit a tranquil environment and at which Israeli and Palestinian employees work side by side. Director Katharina Waisburd understands the advantages of showing not telling, and her appreciation of broader implications results in a quiet film that says more than words often do. » SF Jewish Film Fest: Here are movies you shouldn't miss / Randy Myers / The Mercury News
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ON THE LEFT (the story of the Israeli Left 1948-2012) [Al Tsad Smol] Director: Ron Cahlili Category: Current Affairs & Politics Production: Ron Cahlili: Docudrama Productions, for Channel 8 (Hot Cable Communication) / Israel 2013 Language: Hebrew, Arabic. Subtitles: German/English Length: 4x59 minutes.
Synopsis:“On the Left” is a 4 chapters' documentary series that tells the story of the Israeli left (Zionist and non-Zionist, Marxist and non-Marxist), from the founding of the state of Israel in 1948 until present time. The series investigates, among other things, how Israel evolved from a nation that at least rhetorically was built from a leftist majority into a proud right wing majority nation and how the compliment “Leftist” turned into a curse word. The narrative of the series is chronological, while it conveys the changes, upheavals, and dramatic turn points along the years.
FIPA International Film Festival Biarritz - France 2014
Other Israel Film Festival, New York - U.S.A. 2014
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WITHIN THE EYE OF THE STORM [BeEyn Haseara] Director: Shelley Hermon Category: Current Affairs & Politics Production: Nisan Katz and Shelley Hermon / Israel 2012
Co-produced with France Télévisions Language: Hebrew, Arabic Subtitles: English Length: 52 / 68 minutes. HD
Synopsis: Bassam and Rami, a Palestinian and an Israeli, were once dedicated fighters willing to kill and be killed by one another for their nations. Yet, when faced with the tragic loss of their daughters in the conflict, they chose to do the unexpected and instead of seeking revenge, they turned from enemies to brothers.
WAR MATADOR [Matador Ha Milhama] Director: Avner Faingulernt & Macabit Abramson / Israel 2011 Category: Creative Documentary / Current Affairs Production: Language: Hebrew, Arabic Subtitles: English Length: 60 / 70 minutes. HD
Synopsis: In January 2009, during the war in Gaza, two courageous Israeli directors grabbed their cameras to shoot material along the common border. The bombs are filmed from a distance, out of focus and at extreme focal length – the tourists’ point of view. The impact of the bombs in the distance is muffled, which is why the visual opposition between close up/long shot draws the attention to the spoken words, which are blunt, without compassion. The result of their journey is a disturbing essay about war and tourism, an absurd, surreal journey.
KALANDIA - a Checkpoint's story Director: Neta Efrony/ Israel 2009 Category: Current Affairs Language: English, Arabic, Hebrew. French / English narration & subtitles Length: 59 minutes
Synopsis: Over a span of six years, Neta Efrony, Filmmaker and a member of ''MachsomWatch'', documented an Israeli military Checkpoint - on the road between East Jerusalem and Ramallah - who grew and expanded into becoming a Terminal. Kalandia's Checkpoint does not separate between Arabs and Jews; it separates between Palestinians and Palestinians. The film is an authentic and disturbing testimony to the daily struggle of Palestinians who wish to continue their routine lives, on their way to work, education, medical care or religious reasons.
6 FLOORS TO HELL Director: Jonathan Ben Efrat / Israel 2008 Category: Creative Documentary Production: Claudia Levin: Claudius Films Language: Arabic, Hebrew, Subtitles: English Length: 52 minutes
Synopsis:Illegal Palestinians workers live in an unfinished mall near Tel Aviv, six floors underground, with no electricity and water. Among them is Jalal who dreams of his fiancée, who is waiting for him to return. At one of central Israel’s largest junctions, deep in the concrete skeleton, six floors down, the workers sleep. A life between darkness and light.
PLAY ME ALLEGRO - an optimistic borderline story Director: Alon Alsheich & Eran Yehezkel / Israel 2008 Category: Creative Documentary Co-Produced: with the Sapir College Language:Hebrew, Russian, Arabic. Subtitles: English Length: 52 minutes
Synopsis: 4 km from Gaza, kibbutz Nir-Am is located on the border between Israel & the Palestinian Authority. In spite of Israeli missiles & helicopters soaring above their heads, and Palestinian rockets falling in their yard, Julia, a Russian immigrant, and her 5 years old daughter, choose not to give up. If it weren’t for the daily sirens and rockets, their lives would be like those of most single-parent families. Living with the constant threat, Julia struggles to maintain a dialogue with their Palestinian neighbors and lead a normal life. An abnormally normal life and a profoundly appealing film, that moves towards a surprise happy ending.
IN THE FREIMAN'S KITCHEN Director: Hadar Bashan / Israel 2007 Category: Creative Documentary Production: Nachum Landau and the Sapir College Language: Hebrew. Subtitles: English Length: 55 minutes
Synopsis: An intimate film about the Disengagement from the Gaza Strip, reflected through the elderly couple's kitchen in Neve Dekalim, Gush Katif settlement bloc. The backdrop of this film reflects the dense dynamics of marital relations, the fear of growing old, and the anxieties of the upcoming evacuation. Yaakov and Miriam have built themselves a haven of routine extending from morning till night: coffee, a joint reciting of psalms, cooking, hosting, and preparing dinner for themselves - all within their kitchen.
Festivals & Awards:
3 Continents Film Festival, Nantes- France 2010
Winner: Best Documentary Award : International Women Film Festival Rehovot - Israel 2007
Nominee for Best Documentary : Israel Academy Awards - Israel 2008
Jerusalem International Film Festival - Israel 2007
THE INVISIBLE Director: Gil Karni / Israel 2010 Category: Current Affairs / Society and Ethnology Language: Arabic, Hebrew. Subtitles: English Length: 52 / 70 minutes
Synopsis: The film documents a period of twelve years in the un-recognized village of Arab- Al-Naim in the Galilee. The Bedouins, who have lived there for over century, serve as scouts in the IDF. One of them is Fahim, the protagonist of the film. They have been living in tin huts since 1963, no electricity, rationed water and no asphalt road.
Despite the change in the status of the village that was officially recognized in 1999, the bureaucratic red tape of government offices and political considerations have delayed the construction permits. Fahim, wanting to right the wrongs and bring progress, fights his own personal battle to receive authorization for a power connection in a place where the inhabitants get by on generators and camp fires.
OLIVE PRESS (Masik) Director: Yoram Sabo / Israel 2005 Category: Creative Documentary / Current Affairs Production: Yoram Schaffer, Roni Berkovitch & Yoram Sabo : Doc Movies Language:Hebrew, Arabic. English translation Length: 50 minutes
Synopsis: As every year, towards the end of summer, the olives ripen on the trees. In the picturesque hills and valleys of the West Bank, they turn from bitter green to luscious purple. For the next three months, as autumn unfolds, the owners of the trees and their families - Palestinians and Jews - partake in the timeless ritual of the olive harvest.
In the past, olives branches used to symbolize peace. Today, they serve as a tool in the ongoing conflict about land and territory.
The film follows three characters, Palestinians and Israelis, whose lives were affected or completely changed because of those olives.
AWAITING Director: Hadara Oren / Israel 2005 Category: Creative Documentary Language: Hebrew. English translation Length: 47 minutes
Synopsis: Due to the economic crisis and a sequence of terrorist attacks in the city of Tel Aviv, the filmmaker roams the streets during a period of three years, documenting what the people of Tel Aviv experienced: alienation, anxiety and sadness. This film is a poetic observation attempting to express these feelings alongside the hope for something or someone from the outside to step in and change the unbearable situation that exists.
Festivals & Awards:
Mediterranean Documentary Film Festival - Greece 2008
The Mediterranean Film Festival of Algarve - Portugal 2006
JENIN DIARY, THE RESERVIST'S INSIDE STORY Director: Gil Mezuman / Israel 2002 Category: Creative Documentary / Current Affairs Language: Hebrew. English Translation Length: 65 minutes
Synopsis: After the deadly suicide terrorist attack on the Park Hotel in Netanya, on the eve of Passover, the filmmaker was called up with his battalion for emergency reserve duty. Eight days later, in a clash with armed terrorists deep inside Jenin refugee camp, 13 officers and soldiers in his company were killed. Jenin Diary exposes the inside story of a reservist's unit in times of war.
Festivals & Awards:
San Diego Jewish Film Festival - USA 2004
Toronto Jewish Film Festival - Canada 2003
Israel Film Festival - New York, Los Angeles, Chicago - USA 2003
Melbourne Jewish Film Festival - Australia 2003
Jerusalem International Film Festival - Israel 2002