ASWAT ACHERIM (Other Voices) Director: Ose Oyamendan / U.S.A. 2021 Category: Current Affairs & Politics Producers: Eric Conner, Ose Oyamendan;
Executive Producer: Mark Jonathan Harris; Co-Producer: Cassie Arison Language: English, Arabic, Hebrew. Subtitles: English Length: 84 minutes.
Logline: As their war-weary towns go up in flames, unlikely friends across the Sderot-Gaza war zone come together in an attempt to save their neighborhood.
Synopsis: The battle line in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is drawn at the border towns of Sderot and Gaza. People on both sides hate each other; their governments interact only through bombs and wars.
A few people on either side are working to change that narrative with friendships across the hostile borders. They have lost friends and families. Instead of hate, they are bridging the river of blood in their neighborhood with friendship. Unlike most friendships, they hardly ever meet. They communicate and organize through phones and social media, often at the risk of their lives. ''Aswat Acherim'' (Other Voices) is their story.
FFP Film for Peace Film Festival, Toronto - Canada 2021
Gold Remi Award: Documentary Film: WorldFest International Independent Film Festival, Houston, Texas - U.S.A. 2021
I was born in Nigeria. I have cousins who are Christians and Moslems. My friends and playmates were Nigerians, Lebanese Arabs and Jews. We celebrated religious festivals and birthdays together. We played together, ate together and were proudly reserve members of one of the worst youth soccer teams in history.
In the summer after my tenth birthday, it all changed. It was our first semester home from high school. My Jewish and Arab friends started avoiding each other. By the summer, they were no longer friends. They had never even had a fight!
My mother tried to explain it to me. But I read the newspapers too and it didn’t make any sense to me. I didn’t understand why events a world away, of which we are not part of, have come between my friends.
I think I’ve been subconsciously trying to bring my friends together since that summer. I wrote a short story about a Palestinian boy and an Israeli boy living in different parts of Jerusalem who became friends through soccer. That story led me to this group of friends in the war zone of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
I knew of Gaza but I had never heard of Sderot. I travelled to Sderot and later Gaza to meet these unlikely friends who have chosen love over hate. In a region filled with voices of vengeance and war, they are the other voices – the voice of hope. That started the journey of ASWAT ACHERIM (Other Voices).
Before I started this story, there was a lot I took for granted in life. I never understood the importance of a hug or kiss for a child on the way to school or park. You take it for granted that you will see them in a few hours. In this neighborhood, there is no such guaranty. Every goodbye may be the last.
I know what it means to live in the shadow of fear and death. While making this film, I damaged my knee and required surgery after falling as I ran to a bomb shelter during an attack. I missed being at the site of a bombing in Gaza by a couple of minutes because of the audacity of our sound mixer to spend a few extra minutes with his morning coffee.
The world of ASWAT ACHERIM is unlike any other – deep pain, mistrust, destruction, fear and hope.
This is an inspiring story in the midst of despair, promise on an island of gloom. This is a story that will warm the iciest heart. For me, life is about hope and the promise of tomorrow. ASWAT ACHERIM is a film about that hope and promise that comes with it. This is the story about the other voices in the conflict that you hardly ever hear. They are the hope of an entire region.
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
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.
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