The 17th Tel Aviv International Documentary Film Festival, Docaviv, has finalized the selection of the program. “(un)Free World” is one of the main themes. The festival will open with a gala screening of the Academy Award-winning film Citzenfour by director Laura Poitras. This riveting documentary is just one prominent example of a probing selection of fascinating films, which focus on the assault on democracy and human rights taking around the world.

Thirteen Israeli films have been selected to compete in the Docaviv Isreali Film Competition. 11 world premieres are competing for The Sarah and Michael Sela Prize

(NIS 70.000, approx. 17.000 US $) the largest prize for documentary filmmaking offered anywhere in Israel. Some 75 Israeli films have been submitted to the Israeli competition. Some well known names among the contenders are: Reuven Brodsky with 7 Days in St. Petersburg, whose previous film Home Movie has won the 2012 Docaviv competition, Avigail Sperber produced Girsa De’Yankuta by Noa Roth, Censored Voices by Mor Loushy which premiered in Sundance and Twilight of a Life, which premiered at IDFA. Previous winners of this competition have been amongst others Life in Stills by Tamar Tal, Probation Time by Avigail Sperber and Google Baby by Zippi Brand Frank.

Brett Morgen, whose classic documentaries “The Kid Stays in the Picture” and “Chicago 10” are considered milestones in the history of documentary film will present his latest film Cobain: Montage of Heck and conduct a special Master Class.

Other international guests attending the festival are film critic Boyd van Hoeij, Naum Kleiman, founder of the Eisenstein Centre and former director of the Moscow Cinema Museum David Courier (Sundance Film Festival), Niklas Engstrom (DOC:CHX); Cherelle Zheng (iDoc, Beijing),and Ina Rossow (Deckert Distribution).

Arts and Culture Competition. A new competition being launched this year by Docaviv is dedicated to the remarkable variety of local culture and its heroes. This year, five new films will be competing for a grand prize of NIS 10,000. (approx. US$ 2500) The films in this competition focus on major cultural legacies such as playwright Nisim Aloni, singer-songwriter Matti Caspi, poet Dahlia Ravikovich, author Yosef Haim Brenner, and liturgical poet David Buzaglo.

Other awards include the Mayor’s Prize for Most Promising Filmmaker, the Award for Best Editing, the Award for Best Cinematography, the Award for Best Research, and, for the first time, the Award for Original Score.

Seven films from the country’s leading film schools have been selected to compete in Docaviv’s annual Student Film Competition. Members of the selection committee for this competition include DocAviv’s Programming Manager Karin Rywkind Segal, curator Hila Avraham, and screenwriter and director Danny Rosenberg.

Update: See the complete film guide on the Docaviv 2015 Festival Website