13 films will compete for the Best Israeli Documentary award, and over 100 new local and international documentaries will be screened at the festival

Total prizes awarded to this year’s winners will amount to NIS 336,000

The 23rd edition of Docaviv returns to Tel-Aviv–Yafo’s cinemas on July 1–10 to celebrate brilliant documentary filmmaking once again.

Docaviv is the Tel Aviv International Documentary Film Festival. This year’s edition will take on an up-to-date hybrid format, with both in-person and online screenings—all in compliance with social distancing guidelines. Events will take place indoors and outdoors throughout the city and on the festival’s website.

The winner of the Frank Lowy Best Israeli Documentary award will receive a NIS 70,000 prize, plus a NIS 100,000 grant from Docaviv to be used towards promoting the winning film in its Academy Awards campaign. This is the biggest cash prize offered in Israel for documentary filmmaking. Other honors include the Mayor’s Award for Best Debut Film, Honorable Mention, the Yossi Kaufman Best Director Award, and the Editing, Cinematography, and Research awards.

Docaviv’s Beyond the Screen Award is now named after and presented in memory of Docaviv’s founder Ilana Tzur, who served as the festival’s director during its first decade and passed away last year. The nominees for this award are Israeli and international films whose subjects work to change our political, social and ecological reality. Anchored in current events, these films have the power to change hearts and minds.

Israeli Competition Selection Committee: Artistic Director of Docaviv Festival Karin Rywkind Segal; director, producer, and screenwriter Nitzan Giladi (Paper Wedding, In Satmar Custody); and director Roni Aboulafia (Honorable Men, School of Hope, Measures of Merit).

Student Competition Selection Committee: Documentarist and web series creator Shachaf Dekel (Artopia #Belfast, YOTSRIM); Asaf Mor, independent producer and filmmaker and owner of a Los-Angeles-based production company; and Docaviv Program Manager Yaara Ozery.

NEXT! Curators: Ori Levin, video artist and film scholar (Tel Aviv university) and Tal Yahas, curator.


ISRAELI LINE-UP – DOCAVIV 2021

Israeli Competition

Blue Box

Israeli Premiere
Director: Michal Weits
Production: Assaf Amir, Ina Fichman, Eric Goossens, Frederik Nicolai, Uri Smoly

Israel / Canada / Belgium 2021, 82 min, Hebrew
The Jewish National Fund’s Blue Boxes were part of a successful fundraising campaign to support the purchase of land in Palestine. Joseph Weits, the filmmaker’s grandfather, was the man who orchestrated the acquisition and expropriation of Palestinian lands. Weits’s private diaries reveal an uncomfortable truth.

Yes Docu

Dirty Tricks

International Premiere
Director: Daniel Sivan
Production: Daniel Sivan, Danna Stern, Guy Lavie

Israel 2021, 100 min, Hebrew, English and Norwegian
When the world’s best Bridge player is accused of cheating, the scandal threatens to bring the entire competitive Bridge world down in the true-crime comedy titled: DIRTY TRICKS.

Yes Docu

The Fourth Window

Israeli Premiere
Director & Production: Yair Qedar

Israel 2021, 86 min, Hebrew and English, Hebrew & English subtitles
Following his death in 2018, the film unveils the double tragedy of the Israeli writer, Amos Oz, in a sensitive portrait of darkness, peace, trauma and stardom.

KAN – Israeli Public Broadcast Corp

Holes

World Premiere
Director: Shirly Berkovitz
Production: Zahi Cohne, Noam Pinchas, Eric Friedler, Shirly Berkovitz

Israel 2021, 79 min, Hebrew
A sudden shuddering tragedy forces Danny to revisit a dark secret from his past, one he buried years ago. Running out of time, while battling internal and external wars, Danny faces his own demons, and the desire for revenge.

HOT8

How to Say Silence

World Premiere
Director: Shir Newman
Production: Dana Shalev, Uzi Karin, Tzipi Baider

Israel 2021, 59 min, Hebrew
An old photograph launches a cross-generational journey, revealing how national values were enlisted in early-days Israel for the patriarchal control over women’s bodies and wombs. With her grandmothers’ painful stories, the director breaks the bond of silence.

Yes Docu

I Am Not

World Premiere
Director: Tomer Heymann
Production: Barak Heymann, Tomer Heymann

Israel / Guatemala 2021, 96 min, Hebrew, English and Spanish
Putting a label on Oren Levi is impossible. After years of battling mental illness Oren, equipped with the video camera that is his only outlet for human interaction, goes on a life-changing journey to Guatemala.

HOT8

Nelson’s Last Battle

World Premiere
Director: Avi Maor Marzuk
Production: Avi Maor Marzuk, Lilach Shayo

Israel 2021, 82 min, Hebrew and English
The story of Rafi Nelson’s holiday village, caught in a border conflict between Israel and Egypt. Nelson, a colorful character, goes out to fight for his land. The story of the Middle East through a struggle on the beach.

HOT8

Queen Shoshana

World Premiere
Directors & Production: Kobi Farag, Morris Ben-mayor

Israel 2021, 100 min, Hebrew and English
Shoshana Damari was the first Israeli diva. She graced local and international stages, stirring millions with her voice. Hers was the life of a Hollywood legend and she paid the price for it. The woman behind the crown will come to light.

HOT8

Riding With a Spy

World Premiere
Director: Shlomi Eldar
Production: Ehud Bleiberg, Yoav Ze’evi, Omri Uzrad

Israel / United States 2021, 92 min, Hebrew and English, Hebrew & English subtitles
After being convicted of espionage, ostracized by her people, and marked as a traitor, Israeli whistleblower Anat Kamm tried to rebuild her life in New York, but her past still haunts her.

Yes Docu

Summer Nights

World Premiere
Director & Production: Ohad Milstein

Israel 2021, 53 min, Hebrew and French
How does the world look through the eyes of a 6-year-old child? A journey into the subconscious of an innocent and ingenuous child, as he falls asleep and drifts into the depths of his own mind.

KAN – Israeli Public Broadcast Corp

The therapy

World Premiere
Director: Zvi Landsman
Production: Ori Szternfeld, Zvi Landsman

Israel 2021, 85 min, Hebrew and English
An exclusive look inside “Conversion Therapy”. Lev and Ben attend conversion therapy in order to battle their same sex attractions and marry a woman. While Lev struggles to make it work, Ben has doubts that are about to change his life.

KAN – Israeli Public Broadcast Corp

Viral

Israeli Premiere
Directors: Udi Nir, Sagi Bornstein
Production: Udi Nir, Sagi Bornstein, Christian Beetz, Georg Tschurtschenthaler

Israel / Germany 2021, 86 min, English
Seven YouTubers from around the world document their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic: the story of a generation that was born into social media, and now has to grow up in a viral world.

Yamna’s Blessing

World Premiere
Director & Production: Ilanit Swissa

Israel 2021, 55 min, Hebrew and Moroccan
Yamna (82) is a miracle-worker and righteous woman from Sderot. The film depicts her unique character and rituals, her eastern culture, and her journey to bequeath her mystical power, passed down from generation to generation, to one of her daughters.

Beyond the Screen Award

A Happy Ending – Anat Gov

World Premiere
Director: Tamar Tal Anati
Production: Stav Meron Morag

Israel 2021, 65 min, Hebrew
While preparing for her death, Anat Gov calls upon Kenler, the agent who will be the executor of her will.
The recorded conversation is a dialogue between Anat who has accepted her near end, and those who will remain after she is gone. The film presents her spiritual legacy: on life, creation and death.

HOT8

A Reason to Live

World Premiere
Director & Production: Arik Alon

Israel 2021, 56 min, Hebrew
The Second Lebanon War left Jonathan Levin paralyzed and unable to speak. Holding his writing hand, Adva helps him to seek meaning in his life. Shot from Jonathan’s point of view, the film invites viewers to a fascinating, extraordinary inner world.

Two Minutes to Midnight

Israeli Premiere
Director: Yael Bartana
Production: Yael Bartana, Naama Pyritz

Israel / Germany 2021, 47 min, English
An all-women government of a fictitious country must take a stand on an imminent nuclear threat from a foreign nation. The film is the final stage of the hybrid-experimental project “What if Women Ruled the World.”

Depth of Field Competition

One-Way Street

International Premiere
Director: Erez Pery
Production: Elad Peleg, Haggai Arad And Erez Pery

Israel / United States 2020, 51 min, English
Erez Pery, an Israeli filmmaker living in downtown Manhattan, observes the street below from his apartment’s window. The obsessive observation of the street becomes a cinematic reflection on the connection between reality and fiction.

State of Emergency

World Premiere
Director & Production: Idan Glikzelig

Israel 2021, 68 min, Hebrew
Through a plan of exercises, drills and educational programs, the citizens of Israel are required to prepare for the country’s ongoing wars. A funny and alarming journey through Israel’s “culture of preparedness” and the people living in its shadow.

Arts and Culture

Grossman

World Premiere
Director: Adi Arbel
Production: Arik Bernstein, David Silber

Israel 2021, 52 min, Hebrew
“What I search for in my writing are the moments that I’m able to touch both life and death” says Grossman, whose novels have touched many hearts. Grossman, reveals a close and intimate side of himself and shares personal stories alongside great novels.

KAN – Israeli Public Broadcast Corp

Panorama

Apples and Oranges

World Premiere
Director: Yoav Brill
Production: Amir Harel & Ayelet Kait

Israel 2021, 80 min, Hebrew and English
Around 350 thousand youngsters from around the world came to work in the kibbutz during the 1970s – 80s. Ideology, adventurism and hormones turned the volunteering movement into a hot trend . Why did it end? How many broken hearts were left behind?

Yes Docu

Hot blood

World Premiere
Director: Arthur Abramov
Production: Osnat Trabelsi

Israel 2021, 52 min, Hebrew and Russian, Hebrew subtitles
Daniela (16) and Ohad (17) dream of winning the World Kickboxing Youth Championship. Alongside the demanding lifestyle of training, they face strong opposition from their conservative families to the violent sport. Will their persistence and perseverance come to fruition?

Sports Channel

People Forever

World Premiere
Director: Ranni Midyan
Production: Erez Laufer

Israel 2021, 96 min, Hebrew and English
The Eternal Flame group believes in eternal life. They become hugely successful until everything comes to a grinding halt. A touching story that spans the U.S. and Israel told by the director – a former prominent group member.

Yes Docu

Music

Shlomo Bar – A Musical Documentary

World Premiere
Director & Production: Gilad Inbar

Israel 2021, 56 min, Hebrew
Shlomo Bar is one of Israel’s most important and original musical artists.
In the film, which is presented in musical format, Shlomo examines his life’s trajectory through a series of encounters with key figures from the past and present.

KAN – Israeli Public Broadcast Corp

That Orchestra With the Broken Instruments

World Premiere
Director & Production: Yuval Hameiri

Israel 2021, 79 min, Hebrew, Arabic and English
100 musicians rehearse for an extraordinary performance – a symphony of broken instruments. A poetic, engaging look at the broken and the whole through Jerusalem characters determined to create, if only for a moment, harmony in a discordant city.

Masters

Our Beds Are Burning

World Premiere
Director & Production: Igal Bursztyn

Israel 2021, 62 min, Hebrew
A documentary essay about the intellectual history of fascism. Writings and speeches of radical right-wing ideologues, quoted by actors, staged in contemporary situations in Israel, in Hebrew, at relevant locations, accompanied by archive footage and period music.

The Good Soldier

World Premiere

Director: Silvina Landsmann
Production: Silvina Landsmann, Pierre Olivier Bardet, Christof Menardi

Israel / France / Germany 2021, 88 min, Hebrew and English
A film by Silvina Landsmann (“Soldier/Citizen”, “Hotline”), known for her films examining institutions and organizations, offering a look inside the work of Breaking the Silence

Shorts Competition

The Girl Who Didn’t Know What to Do

World Premiere
Director & Production: Maya Klar

Israel 2021, 12 min, Hebrew and English
The solar system is shaking, a girl sheds a tear, and a monster drinks blood. Personal childhood drawings and stories raise questions about hereditary melancholy.

Students Competition

Fifty Old Dogs

Director & Production: Neta Amiram

Israel 2021, 43 min, Hebrew
What happens when owners can no longer take care of their old dog? Moral dilemmas arise frequently at “Hofshi” (“Free”), a dog retirement home, and escalate rapidly when facing the threat of being shut down.

Gen Tree

Directors: Ronni Shalev, Alon Sharabi, Hod Adler
Production: Bezalel Academy Of Art And Design

Israel 2020, 3 min, Hebrew
In a town where the adults live on the ground and children on the treetops, a series of interviews sets out to discover – what is it that the generations misunderstand about each other?

Greeting From the Hilltop

Director & Production: Iftach Leor

Israel 2020, 10 min, Hebrew
Two paralleling stories; the first is about the everyday life of the hilltop youth on the hill where they live, the second is the personal story of the filmmaker searching fot the ideal masculine identity.

Hadar HaCarmel

Director & Production: Hila Chessen

Israel 2021, 20 min, Hebrew
A portrait of Haifa’s neglected neighborhood Hadar HaCarmel, told through the stories of a few of its most intriguing residents who still remember its glorious past.

Herd

Director: Omer Daida
Production: Roni Caspi

Israel 2021, 37 min, Hebrew
Ten-year-old Na’ama deals with a big philosophical question regarding life & death. Working on her father’s ranch that raises cattle for slaughter makes her question the meaning of life.

Rothschild 16

Director & Production: Noam Israel

Israel 2021, 17 min, Hebrew, Arabic and English
Rothschild 16 is where Israel first declared its independence 73 years ago. For Palestinians, this event marks the “Nakba” (‘catastrophe’).
The film discusses the formation of memory surrounding a historical site with a dual meaning.

Vacant Space

Director: Shmueli Cohen
Production: Omer Harel, Shmueli Cohen

Israel 2021, 30 min, Hebrew
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a group of combat fighters gathers virtually for the annual Memorial Day meeting. The casual conversation through the screens takes an unexpected turn.

We Used to Sing

Director & Production: Lidia Morozov

Israel 2021, 31 min, Hebrew and Russian
From Moscow to Tel Aviv. A family of four women in a small Tel Aviv apartment: the loneliness, the sisterhood and the longing.

Keshet 12

NEXT! Projects

Just Another Mammal

Michal Baror

A fictional portrait of two anonymous human skulls found in the ‘Beit-Hankin’ Museum.

Masada

Gaston Zvi Ickowicz

Artistic rituals commemorating fortitude and bereavement encounter contemporary reality.

Portable Us — Journey Anywhere Nowhere Everywhere

Charles Weinberg and Shai Ben-Ami

Three contemporary jet journeys unveil a personal documentation through the network of airports and virtual spaces.

The Day After

Roy Menachem Markovich

Small disasters in the artist’s studio are brought together in a video that examines the documentation process itself.

The First Moments of Marwa el Sherbini

Noa Gur

A choreographic reenactment of a murder that took place in a German courtroom.

The Naked Astronaut

Haviv Kaptzon

A video essay exploring the emergence of human language.

Two people will come, with balloons

Hadas Neuman

While her mother is undergoing surgery, the director documents her waiting-room experience, whimsically trying to control reality.