The 21st Edition of Docaviv Festival is Ready to Kick Off!

37 Israeli films will be screened at the festival, with 15 of them making up the Israeli competition lineup

Total prizes awarded to this year’s winners sum up at NIS 430,000

The 21st edition of Docaviv Film Festival will take place in Tel Aviv from May 23 through June 1, 2019. Over 120 new local and international documentaries will be screened at the festival this year. Docaviv Festival is the largest film festival in Tel Aviv, and the only one dedicated exclusively to documentary films. Last year, on its 20th anniversary, the festival had set an all-time attendance record of 60,000 viewers and was chosen by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as one of the world’s 28 Oscar-qualifying festivals.

The festival will take place at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque and other locations around the city, including Tel Aviv Port, HaPisga Garden in Jaffa, Habima Square, Teder.FM at The Romano, Bialik Square, The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History at Tel Aviv University, and Hilton Beach.

The festival will open with Picture of His Life by Yonatan Nir and Dani Menkin, which follows wildlife photographer and explorer Amos Nachoum during his final attempt to swim with a polar bear as he seeks personal redemption.

This year, Mifal Hapais Council for Culture and Arts will allocate up to NIS 150,000 to market and promote the winner of the Israeli Competition at Docaviv in preparation for the Oscars. The new prize will be awarded alongside the Howard Gilman award for Best Israeli Documentary—NIS 70,000—Israel’s largest prize for documentary filmmaking. Other awards include the Special Jury Award, the Mayor’s Award for Best Debut Film, the Yossi Kaufman Best Director Award, as well as the Editing, Cinematography, and Research Awards.

Israeli Competition Selection Committee:

Artistic Director of Docaviv Festival Karin Rywkind Segal, producer and director Ron Ofer (The Wounded Healer, Wild Kids, Pursued, and Haredim), and screenwriter and director Noa Aharoni (By Summer’s End, Shadows), who also hosts psychodrama and filmmaking workshops.

Student Competition Selection Committee: Program Manager of Docaviv Festival Yaara Ozery, screenwriter and director Yarden Karmin and award-winning documentarian Dr. Iris Zaki (Women in Sink, Unsettling).

Israeli Films announced:

Israeli Competition:

21 Days Inside

Director: Zohar Wagner

Producers: Zohar Wagner

World Premiere

A body of a two-year-old toddler was found in the well of a Bedouin village. His mother was arrested the very same day and charged with murder. During her 21 days of detention, the Israeli cops exploited every weakness a traditional Bedouin woman has, in order to make her confess.

A Whore like Me

Director: Sharon Yaish, Yael Shachar

Producers: Haggai Arad, Elad Peleg

World Premiere

Twenty years ago Chile was kidnapped from Hungary by a group of Israeli traffickers and was forced to work as a prostitute. Now she goes to look for her kidnappers. After she returns to hell, will she be able to get out again?

The Advocate

Director: Rachel Lea Jones, Philippe Bellaiche

Producers: Rachel Lea Jones, Philippe Bellaiche, Paul Cadieux, Joelle Bertossa

Israeli Premiere
Lea Tsemel defends Palestinians: from feminists to fundamentalists, from non-violent demonstrators to armed militants. As a Jewish-Israeli lawyer who has represented political prisoners for nearly 50 years, Tsemel, in her tireless quest for justice, pushes the praxis of a human rights defender to its limits.

Best Unkept Secret

Director: Ilan Mizrahi

Production: Nimrod Shanit

World Premiere

A 15-year journey follows the volatile life of the extreme right’s prince, who discovers a secret during one of his many arrests. His disparity leads him to confront the rumors that have haunted his family.

Chasing Yehoshua

Director: Shay Fogelman

Production: Assaf Amir

World Premiere

Yehoshua Eitzur, a settler from Itamar convicted of killing a Palestinian, has disappeared before being sentenced.  Director Shay Fogelman tries to track him down for five years, all over the world, uncovering his escape route – and the mysterious personality of the escaped convict.

Kosher Beach

Director: Karin Kainer

Production: Levi Zini, Karin Kainer, Avishai Peretz

World Premiere

A group of Orthodox Jewish women arrive at the “Kosher Beach” in Tel Aviv from their Ghetto community. Here they can be free. When the beach is facing a shutdown, the heroines are afraid to lose their island of freedom.

Leftover Women

Directors: Shosh Shlam, Hilla Medalia

Production: Hilla Medalia, Shosh Shlam

Israeli Premiere
Leftover Women is how the Chinese describe educated women in their mid-20s who are still single. With extraordinary access, the film follows three remarkable women on a quest to find Mr. Right before they turn 27, when society deems them Shengnu.

Loving Dov (working title)

Director: Barak Heymann
Producer: Barak Heymann

World Premiere

Director Barak Heymann follows parliamentarian Dov Khenin on his adventures through the perilous realities of Israel/Palestine. Dov is a rear politician, a non-stop fighter for justice who does not lose hope.

Mussolini’s Sister

Director: Juna Sulieman

Production: Laura Samara Hawa, Juna Sulieman, Nicholas Jacob – Co Producer, Ahlam Canaan – Co Producer

Israeli Premiere

Unable to accept her slow meaningless death, Hiam (85), a perpetual housewife and hopelessly devoted mother – resorts to unexpected encounters with her past, and a gradual flirt with death, all of which lead her to look for a glimmer of light in a world that she so detests.

Once Upon a Boy

Director: Uri Levi

Production: Uri Levi

World Premiere
A rare and intimate look into the life of a family as they navigate the universal trials of relationships and family life, colored by the particular experience of raising a special-needs child.

Picture of his Life

Directors: Yonatan Nir, Dani Menkin

Production: Yonatan Nir, Dani Menkin, Nancy Spielberg, Ori Eisen, Mirit Eisen.

World Premiere

World-renowned photographer Amos Nachoum has captured countless shots of the world’s biggest predators. As his career nears its end, he makes a final attempt to swim with a polar bear, in search of personal redemption.

Shai K

Director: Ari Davidovich
Production: Ari Davidovich

World Premiere
The Untold Story of the Greatest Israeli Talent, Shaike Ophir, a man with a

thousand faces who wanted so much to make people laugh and to be loved,

and who succeeded to stay at the top for more than two decades. For this, he

paid a heavy personal and familial price.

The Rabbi from Hezbollah

Director: Itamar Chen

Production: Yoav Roeh, Aurit Zamir

World Premiere

The inconceivable story of Ibrahim Yassin, a Lebanese Muslim who was a Hezbollah man and today is an ultra-Orthodox Jew named Avraham Sinai.

The Viewing Booth

Director: Ra’anan Alexandrowicz
Production: Liran Atzmor

World Premiere

The Viewing Booth portrays an encounter between a viewer and a filmmaker who explore the way meanings of nonfiction images are made.

There are no Lions in Tel Aviv

Director: Duki Dror

Production: Liat Kamai Eshed

World Premiere

The bittersweet story of a Rabbi who envisioned the Tel Aviv’s zoo in the 1930s, and was then banished from it. A parable about a new city conceived by dreamers, replaced by indifferent bureaucrats, and later  by real-estate tigers.

Depth of Field Competition


Director: Itay Marom
Production: Itay Marom

World Premiere

The film Resonance reflects on the human voice by observing private classes of three prominent voice teachers throughout a whole semester.


Director: Israela Shaer Meoded

Production: Elad Gavish

World Premiere

Woman is a tribute to female Israeli cinema, comprised of a selection of scenes fromover 250 films that were directed by women from the late 60’s until today. It is a moving cinematic and musical piece that celebrates divine femininity, wild, raw and uninhibited, as depicted through the creation of an imaginary woman, in a journey from early in her youth, to adolescence and finally to motherhood.



Director: Hadas Ayalon

Production: Amir Harel, Ayelet Kait

World Premiere

The film depicts the clandestine and undocumented life of homosexuals in Israel during the sixties and seventies, from the time that their sexual identity had no name until 1979, when the first Gay demonstration took place.


Directors: Sagi Bornstein, Udi Nir, Shani Rozanes

Production: Sagi Bornstein, Udi Nir, Georg Tschurtschenthaler, Christian Beetz

Israeli Premiere

The eventful and tragic story of the first and only woman to ever rule Israel – from the day she took office almost by chance, until the day she resigned, lonely and defeated.

Open your Mouth

Director: Tamara Mamon

Production: Assaf Amir

World Premiere

Omar, Yazan and Mohammad are 12-year-olds living in Lod. When Ella, an ex-Russian, starts a choir in their school, a new, fanatastic world opens up , offering an escape from the shattered reality around them.

The Little Things

Director: Michal Aronzon

Production: Adi Bar Yossef, Michal Aronzon

World Premiere

Yudale loses faith while parting from his dying father, Rabbi Fruman. He documents him with a camera given to him by Michal, a film director who mentors him.  When his father dies, he sets out on a journey in search of a new path.

The Fine Dynasty

Directors: Udi Kalinsky, Revital Oren

Production: Udi Kalinsky

World Premiere
The story of an aging farmer struggling to preserve his and his ancestors’ life’s work – their fruit orchards – in a rapidly changing world that no longer needs or appreciates either his labor or its fruits.

The Voice of Ahmad

A Tribute to I am Ahmad by Avshalom Katz & Ram Loevy

Created and Curated by Renen Schor
Co-Curator and Chief Editor: Ayelet Menahemi

Directors: Avshalom Katz & Ram Loevy, David Ofek & Ayelet Bechar, Shadi Habib Allah, Doron Djerassi, Noam Kaplan, Dan Geva, Mamdooh Afdile & Iddo Soskolne

Producers: Renen Schor, Stav Meron Morag

World Premiere

The first ever Israeli documentary film to feature an Arab protagonist is revisited 50 years later by top graduates of the Sam Spiegel Film School.

Together Alone

Directors: Maya Tiberman, Kinneret Hai Gilor

Production: Sol Goodman

World Premiere

Ravit dedicates every minute of her spare time to hugging abandoned babies. Without warmth and human touch, abandoned babies suffer from stunted growth and in some cases may not survive. At age 50, Ravit realizes that the same is true for grown-ups and starts looking for the hug that will help her survive too.

Arts and Culture


Director: Dan Peer

Production: Shlomi Elkabetz, Galit Cahlon

World Premiere

The chance discovery of artwork crumbling away in a basement exposed the tragic relationship between the father of Israeli art, Boris Schatz and his secret daughter Angelica.


Director: Rafael Balulu

Production: Yair Qedar

World Premiere
She was admired and beautiful, but only few knew her during her lifetime. She was the first to write of Levantine and Mizrachi identities as no one before. A journey in the footsteps of the Levantine thinker Jacqueline Kahanoff.  The 14th film of the Hebrews series.

Mrs. G.

Director: Dalit Kimor

Production: Yahaly Gat
World Premiere
The inspiring story of Lea Gottlieb, founder of the legendary Gottex swimwear label

and its head designer – her Holocaust survival, ascent to worldwide success and the

passion for which she paid a heavy price.


Tomorrow’s Gone

Director: Boaz Goldberg

Production: Eyal Datz

World Premiere

Gabi Abudraham, a dreamy young man from Beit She’an with an obsession with Elvis and virtuoso musical virtues, creates an eccentric character named Charlie Megira and sets out on a rocky musical journey to conquer the world.

Shorts Featured in the 100 years of Bauhaus program:

The Most Beautiful Campus in Africa

Director: Zvi Efrat

Production: Zvi Efrat, Keren Kuenberg

Israeli premiere

In his film The Most Beautiful Campus in Africa, architect and architectural historian Zvi Efrat documents and explores the planning and design of the University of Ife campus in Nigeria, by the Israeli architect trained at Bauhaus, Arieh Sharon.

Phantom Chairs

Director: Maya Klar

Production: Uri Yerushalmi, Jessica Krecisz

World Premiere

In a luxurious furniture store in the small town of Weimar, human beings are trying out Bauhaus chairs. In-between customers, signs of lives from the past emerge.

We, People of Siemensstadt

Director: Ofir Feldman

Production: Uri Yerushalmi, Jessica Krecisz

World Premiere

Three characters comprise a portrait of the Siemens workers’ neighborhood in Berlin that has turned into a Bauhaus reserve. Their stories of detachment reveal the disappearance of the German working class family from the utopian landscape which was created for it.

Student Film Competition:


Director: Neta Shaked

Production: Shmueli Cohen

Ecce Homo

Director: Aharon Trietel

Production: Menachem Trietel

Impure Animal

Director: Omer Sehayek

Production: Omer Sehayek, Shlomit Leshem

Little World

Director & Production: Elina Mitelman

OCD Ceremonies

Director & Production: Keren Gani

Phantom Chairs

Director: Maya Klar

Production: Uri Yerushalmi, Jessica Krecisz

Shira Tama

Director & Production: Shir Hori Abu

The Silhouette of Braids

Director: Rotem Dimand

Production: Shmueli Cohen

Docaviv 2019 will take place in Tel Aviv from May 23 through June 1