Israel's largest documentary competition


Ari Davidovich

Ari Davidovich is a documentary filmmaker. Among his works, he has written, directed and produced a trilogy of cinematic biographies of Israeli culture icons: Waiting for Godik, Bird in the Room and Shai K., a feature documentary about legendary tragicomedian Shaike Ophir. Ari founded Hypermedia Films where he produced All Happy Mornings, Holding it In, as well as the Israel Doc Challenge and various other films, new media projects and workshops with world leading speakers such as Robert McKee and Ivana Chubbuck. Ari is a graduate of Haifa University in Psychology and holds an MA in Mass Communication & Journalism from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Josh Siegel

a curator at The Museum of Modern Art, has organized more than 100 film, media and gallery exhibitions, many of which have appeared on Best of the Year lists in The New York Times, Artforum, Film Comment, and The New Yorker. He serves on the selection committee of the annual festivals New Directors/New Films and Doc Fortnight, and he is the founding director of To Save and Project: The MoMA International Festival of Film Preservation. Mr. Siegel is the co-editor and author of Frederick Wiseman (MoMA/Gallimard) as well as Modern Contemporary: Art at MoMA Since 1980 and the monographs Baby, It’s Cold Outside: A History of Finnish Cinema and The Łódź Film School of Poland: 50 Years. He serves on the executive boards of MacDowell, The Maurice Sendak Foundation, Light Industry, and Cinema Tropical.

Paulina Suárez

is General Director at Ambulante, a non-profit organization that supports and promotes documentary cinema culture across Mexico. She holds a BA from Mexico’s National Autonomous University (UNAM), an MA from the University of Chicago, and is completing her PhD at NYU. Her research and writing have focused on Mexican cinematic modernity, fictional and nonfictional melodramas, and expanded documentary cultures. Since 2016, Suárez has directed Ambulante’s film training program and its annual traveling festival, which screens nonfiction works at over 140 venues across Mexico. Paulina Suárez is committed to cinema’s vocation as a public art and a catalyst for social change.

Shosh Shlam

Shosh Shlam, is an award winning director and producer, whose
critically acclaimed documentaries have been screened internationally in theatres and on television including BBC, Arte, ZDF, PBS. Her work combines sensitive intimate observation of human nature with a deep research and social criticism. Her belief is that documentary filmmaking raises a voice that is silent, to enlighten a dark place. With incredible intimate access, Shosh’s films, among others that were made in China, include Web Junkie (2014, Sundance film festival, CPH, POV, BBC), Leftover Women (2019, Tribeca film festival, Hot Docs, DocAviv – won an award for best director and best editor, independent Lens, Arte).


The Frank Lowy Award For the Best Israeli Film

Courtesy of: Frank Lowy
With the support of: Glikson and Edit Studios

The Yossi Kaufmann Award for Best Director

Courtesy of: Makor Foundation for Israeli Films

Special Jury Award

Courtesy of: Harel Insurance Investment and Financial Services

Mayor of Tel-Aviv Yafo Award for Debut Film

Courtesy of: Mayor of Tel-Aviv Yafo

Best Cinematography Award

Courtesy of: KAN – IPBC

Best Editing Award

Courtesy of: KAN – IPBC

Best Research Award

Courtesy of: KAN – IPBC


Bold, important, and extraordinary documentaries from around the world, carefully selected from this year's releases


Benjamin Freidenberg

is a film director, cinema studies scholar, and lecturer at the Bezalel Academy’s Screen-Based Arts Department and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. He graduated from the Sam Spiegel Film School ,Jerusalem and holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the Department of Linguistics at the Hebrew University. Currently, His PhD focuses on film language in comparison to visual languages. Friedenberg researched archival documentary film projects of the Jerusalem Cinematheque and the Israeli audio-visual collection of Harvard University. CEO & Founder of Jerusalem Filmmakers Guild.

Anat Schwartz

is a director and screenwriter. She was born in Haifa in 1978. Anat graduated (with Honors) from The Sam Spiegel Film and Television School in Jerusalem and La Femis (Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Métiers de l’Image et du Son) in Paris, France. Anat received her BA (cum laude) in Philosophy and Literature from Tel Aviv University. La Promise, Anat’s debut documentary feature, which she directed, filmed, and co-produced, was screened at Docaviv 2017 in the Israeli Competition and in cinemas across Israel. La Promise was later screened on the Yes Docu channel as a 3-episode doc-series and received critical acclaim. Anat also directed the documentary The Actors (52 min), Keshet-Tv Channel, 2019. Anat is currently finalizing her short fiction film 39.

Sandi Tan

Sandi Tan produced and directed the award-winning Netflix documentary Shirkers (2018), which won the World Cinema Documentary Directing prize at Sundance and was on the 2019 Oscar shortlist for Best Documentary. Her new novel Lurkers will be published in March 2021. Her next project is the film adaptation of Elif Batuman’s bestselling novel The Idiot. She lives in Los Angeles.


Best International Film Award

Courtesy of: Ministry of Culture and Sport – The Israeli Film Council


Films that push the envelope of the genre, redefining the word ''documentary''


Ruth Direktor

The Curator of Contemporary Art at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. She started her career as an art critic, writing regularly (from the 1980s until 2009) in Israeli daily newspapers and weekly magazines (”Hadashot,” ”Ma’ariv,” ”Ha’Ir,” and ”Yedioth Ahronoth”), as well as in the blog ”Hatzofa.” Later, she became the Chief Curator of the Haifa Museum of Art, the curator of Bezalel Academy Art Gallery in Tel Aviv, and the director and curator of the Haifa University Art Gallery. She teaches and lectures on contemporary art, both Israeli and international.

Orna Levi

Orna Levi heads the film department at Sapir Academic College and teaches film-directing and screen-writing at Sapir Academic College, Minshar Art School, and The School of Visual Theater. She studied animation at the School of Visual Arts, New York, and has a bachelor’s degree in film and television studies from New York University. Orna Levi wrote and directed television programs for Israeli public television (Channel 1), and documentaries for Castel Films. In addition, she wrote, directed, and produced the independent documentaries Akkeda, Head, and Figure, as well as the dramas Mon Semblable and Untitled Images.
Her films Halva and To Take a Breath were screened at Jerusalem Film Festival and other festivals around the world, and aired in Israel, on Channel 2. Halva won the Jury’s Choice Award in the Efrati Short Film Contest. Levi is currently producing a feature film.


Artistic Vision Award

Courtesy of: Ministry of Culture and Sport – The Israeli Film Council

Beyond the Screen Competition

Films that drive social, environmental, and political change


Margje De Koning

After finishing her studies, Margje de Koning directed documentaries for various broadcasting companies for 12 years and worked as a documentary instructor at the University of Amsterdam. In 2004, Margje became Commissioning Editor for a documentary slot of 52’ docs, which meant producing and co-producing creative single 52′-documentaries on contemporary social, cultural, and moral issues with a strong human interest angle. In 2005, she became responsible for the Television Department of IKON and later became Head of TV, Radio, and New Media programming. When IKON was incorporated within EO in 2016, Margje became Head of Documentaries for EOdocs. In 2019, she left the Public Broadcaster to become the new artistic director of the film festival Movies that Matter.

Uri Levi

Uri Levi is an award-winning documentarist, cinematographer, producer, and director. His films engage with complex social issues and emphasize positive processes that drive social change.
He is the director of House of Cards (2012) and Once Upon a Boy (2019), the latter of which won the Special Jury and Audience awards at Docaviv 2019. He has worked on numerous documentaries, including Ophir and Docaviv winner Keep Not Silent (2004); Docaviv winner Family in Transition (2018); and Ophir-nominated film Comrade Dov (2019).

Zohar Wagner

Born in 1970 in Tel Aviv, Wagner is a documentary filmmaker and producer, a film critic, and the lead vocalist of ”Zohar Wagner and The Stinkers”. Her films—Zorki (2006), Stretch Marks (2009), Doll: Why Did You Dance Naked? (2012), A Tale of Two (2016), and 21 Days Inside (2019)—received critical acclaim and were screened in Israel and internationally. ”Stretch Marks” became an international hit with 7 million views on YouTube. ”21 Days Inside” won the Grand Prix Impact award at French festival FIPADOC, an award for films that engage with human rights issues.


Beyond the Screen Award

Courtesy of: Ministry of Culture and Sport – The Israeli Film Council


Shadi Habib Allah

Shadi Habib Allah was born in 1985 in Ein Mahil, a small town in the Lower Galilee, and graduated from St. Joseph Seminary & High School in Nazareth, majoring in psychology and ecology. In 2010, he completed his architecture studies at the Jordan University of Science and Technology in Irbid. Some years later, Shadi moved on to study film at the Jerusalem Sam Spiegel Film School, graduating summa cum laude in 2019. In the last nine years, he has been teaching architecture and film at schools for gifted students, focusing on the intersections between his two fields. During his studies, he wrote and directed five short films: Soft Grass (fiction, graduation film, 2019), Sky of Concrete (documentary, part of the project The Voice of Ahmad, selected for screening at MoMa NYC in 2020), Swing (fiction, 2017), The Bride’s Tree (documentary, 2017, won Honorary Mention at Jerusalem Film Festival and Second Prize at Docaviv), and The Fifth Season (documentary, 2016).

Zoe Polanski

A singer-songwriter and an experienced film score composer. Her compositions span the genres of ambient, dream-pop, and post-rock, and they have been described as ”journeys through geographies of musical time” (Ben Shalev, Ha’aretz Newspaper, 2017) and as ”hazy, yet highly stylized and precise, a bit like modern music…” (Yali Sobol, Ha’aretz Newspaper, 2017). With two solo albums already under her belt, Polanski released a third album in July 2020, with New-York Label Youngbloods. She has composed for artworks, dance performances, and films. In 2019, three of the films she composed for—If You Only Knew, Parano, and 17 Seconds—won awards at Haifa and Jerusalem film festivals, and at FICTS, in Italy, respectively. Other films she composed for include Sarajevo Songs of Woe by Fred Kelemen (Bela Tarr’s cinematographer), Inertia by Idan Haguel, and Hidden Face, a documentary by Eyal Datz. Polanski is currently working on the score for Eyal Datz’s new documentary.

Daan Vermeulen

Daan Vermeulen (1985) works for the Dutch documentary film distributor Cinema Delicatessen. He is responsible for the acquisition of new documentary films, and the marketing and distribution strategies for theatrical-, outreach-, DVD- and VOD-releases. Titles he worked on include The Cave, The Act of Killing, CITIZENFOUR, I Am Not Your Negro, Kedi, Louis Theroux: My Scientology Movie, Maidan, Those Who Feel the Fire Burning, Weiner. He is a regular guest lecturer at the Netherlands Film Academy and has been a member of selection committees for the IDFA Forum and IDFA Bertha Fund. Before joining Cinema Delicatessen, he worked at IDFA. Vermeulen holds masters degrees in Cultural Analysis and Film Studies from the University of Amsterdam.


Best Short Award

Courtesy of: Ministry of Culture and Sport – The Israeli Film Council


The finest films produced in Israel’s film schools


Avi Belkin

Born in Tel Aviv, Avi Belkin is a documentary film director and producer currently living and working in Los Angeles. His debut feature film Winding won Best Film at the International Film Festival in Haifa. His second feature film, Mike Wallace is Here, premiered at Sundance 2019 and won the Best News Archive award at the IDA Documentary Awards. He also directed a 6-part true-crime doc series produced by Blumhouse, which aired on AMC. Avi is currently directing a new documentary with Concordia Studios.

Heleen Gerritsen

Heleen studied Slavonic Languages and Economics. In 2003 she moved to Germany and started freelancing as a documentary producer. From 2014 to 2016, she was director of dokumentART Festival. Since October 2017, Heleen has been at the helm of goEast Film Festival, organized by the German Film Institute (DFF).

Naama Pyritz

Graduated from the School of Visual Arts NYC class of 1998. For over 20 years, she has worked as a freelance independent producer, producing numerous documentary films and series. Noted among these is the documentary series Slaves of the Sword (2003), The Polish trilogy by the visual artist Yael Bartana (2007-2011), The Adventures of Saul Bellow by Asaf Galay (2020), On High Ice by Gary Byung Seok Kam (2021). In 2014, she started her own company Ingenue Productions.


in the name & memory of Ruthi Gottesman Beloved and dedicated friend of Docaviv
The awards are made possible by the generous donation of Yoav Gottesman

First Award

With the support of: Edit Studios, Glikson

Cinematography and editing

The scholarships are made possible by the generous donation of Dafna Lev


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