16 films will be featured in this year’s Israeli Competition

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Total prizes awarded to this year’s winners sum up at NIS 330,000

The 22nd edition of Docaviv Film Festival will take place in Tel Aviv on September 3–12. Over 120 new local and international documentaries will be screened at the festival this year. The festival’s 21st edition broke an all-time record with 67,000 viewers.

Docaviv is the largest film festival in Tel Aviv, and the only one in Israel dedicated exclusively to documentaries. This year’s edition will take on a 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.

This year’s festival sees the introduction of a new award category called Beyond the Screen. 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 transcend the screen and generate real change.

The winner of the Best Israeli Documentary award will receive a total of NIS 170,000: a NIS 70,000 prize, courtesy of Frank Lowy, and a NIS 100,000 grant from Docaviv, to be used towards promoting the winning film in preparation for the Academy Awards campaign. This is Israel’s largest prize for documentary filmmaking. Other honors include the Mayor’s Award for Best Debut Film, Special Jury Award, the Yossi Kaufman Best Director Award, as well as the Editing, Cinematography, and Research awards.

Israeli Competition Selection Committee

Artistic Director of Docaviv Film Festival Karin Rywkind Segal, director and producer Udi Nir (Golda, #Uploading_Holocaust), and producer Anath Kandell (Fluchkes, 17 Beginnings of Talia, A Crime Called Man).

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 Competition

A Valley’s Lullaby

Director: Ben Shani

Production: Shula Spiegel

World Premiere

For 10 years, Ben Shani has documented the artist Eli Shamir. But what began as an artistic documentary was transformed when Shamir was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. This is a film about coping with disease, with an artist at its center.

And I Was There

Director: Eran Paz

Production: Zafrir Kochanovsky, Miri Ezra

World Premiere

As a young soldier, the director documented his unit taking over Palestinian homes, locking families in a room and turning the houses into military posts. Now, 18 years later, he confronts his past and returns to where it all began.


Director and Production: Shirly Berkovitz

World Premiere

Four Mothers

Directors: Rephael Levin, Dana Keidar

Production: Adi Bar Yossef

World Premiere

A female-driven, grassroots protest movement takes on the military establishment and challenges the patriarchal society of Israel to stop a bloody war that has been raging for years.

Honorable Men

Director: Roni Aboulafia

Production: Yoav Leshem, Associate Producer Assaf Peretz

World Premiere

The film tells the story of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s unexpected rise to power and his dramatic fall from grace, from the highest office in the land to Ward 10 at Maasiyahu Prison.

Kings of Capitol Hill

Director: Mor Loushy

Production: Daniel Sivan

World Premiere

For the past 60 years, Jewish organizations have been lobbying for pro-Israel policies on Capitol Hill. In recent years, these lobbies have become the subject of heated debate, not only amongst the Jewish diaspora, but also in the mainstream. The story of the Jewish lobbies on Capitol Hill portrays Israel’s turbulent relationship with the U.S.

Love It Was Not

Director: Maya Sarfaty

Production: Nir Sa’ar, Kurt Langbein

World Premiere

The unbelievable and tragic love story of Helena, a young Jewish prisoner in Auschwitz, and Austrian SS officer Franz Wunsch.

Ma mère Raymond

Director: Yael Abecassis

Production: Hillel Roseman, Yael Abecassis

World Premiere

This is the story of Raymonde Abecassis, a Moroccan-Israeli singer, and, some say, a legend. Raymonde’s daughter, the actress Yael Abecassis, follows her mother through intimate moments and big concerts alike. In the privacy of home, Raymonde is Yael’s mom. Outside, she is the great mother, adored and admired.

No Hard Feelings

Director: Arthur Abramov

Production: Osnat Trabelsi

World Premiere

An intimate look at the director’s mother, who immigrated from the Caucasus 26 years ago, only to experience a living hell because of her violent husband. A story about patriarchy, immigration, and hope.

Rain in Her Eyes

Director: Ron Omer

Production: Shula Spiegel

World Premiere

The story of Dvora Omer, from the dark secrets of her childhood to her status as Israel’s ‘national’ author whose writing influenced generations of children. Her son, the filmmaker, revisits the events that shaped her life.

Rockfour : The Time Machine

Director & Production: Gad Aisen

World Premiere

Rockfour is one of the most significant rock bands in Israel in the past 30 years. A decade has gone by and a vulnerable Eli Lulai returns to the position of lead singer after an emotional turmoil that led him to quit the band in the midst of a tour in the USA.

The Human Factor

Director: Dror Moreh

Production: Dror Moreh, Sol Goodman, Teddy Leifer

Israeli Premiere

An intimate look at the Israeli Arab Peace Process from its initiation in the 1980s until today.

The Prophet and the Space Aliens

Director: Yoav Shamir

Production: Tanya Aizikovich, Yoav Shamir, Steven Markovitz, Ebba Sinzinger, Vincent Lucassen

Israeli Premiere

“The Prophet and The Space Aliens” follows Rael, who after an alleged encounter with extraterrestrials – that appointed him the “last prophet” – became the founder and leader of the world’s biggest UFO religion.

The Three Yossi

Directors & Production: Yael Kipper, Ronen Zaretzky

World Premiere

A sociological journey back in time that begins over twenty years ago when several families were evicted from their homes and squatted in an abandoned building in Jaffa. What was their fate?

The War of Raya Sinitsina

Director: Efim Graboy

Production: Yahaly Gat, Efim Graboy

World Premiere

A young filmmaker follows a 94-year-old Soviet war heroine who fought in the Siege of Leningrad. During filming, the two become involved in a spiritual process that awakens the young woman within her. A film about war and loss becomes a story of love and friendship.

‘Til Kingdom Come

Director: Maya Zinshtein

Production: Abraham (abie) Troen, Maya Zinshtein, John Battsek,

World Premiere

Pastors encourage an impoverished Kentucky community, “The forgotten people of America”, to donate to Israel in anticipation of Jesus’s impending return. The film exposes the controversial bond between Evangelicals and Jews, in a story of faith, power and money, revealing how Trump’s America is led by an End-Times apocalyptic countdown.


Marry Me However

Director & Production: Mordechai Vardi

Beyond the Screen Award Nominee

World Premiere

The film explores the lives Orthodox-Jewish LGBT members who willingly choose to marry heterosexuals and raise a heteronormative family, obeying the rules of their societies while denying their own identities.

A Waste of Space

Director & Production: Noam Demsky, Ido Bahat

Beyond the Screen Award Nominee

World Premiere

Osher, Michelle and Eitan who were transferred to foster families, are filmed during the last year of foster care, and first year of independence, at age 18. The film interweaves the personal relationships between themselves, their foster and biological parents.

Another Day in Paradise

Director & Production: Tomer Halfon

World Premiere

Waking up from a 70-day coma, Trina is forced to face her own life – and her death, yet again.

Little Victories

Director: Michal Warshai Arluk

Production: Uzi Karin

World Premiere

Two women from Tel Aviv, each caught in her own net of everyday battles, get swept away by a charismatic catchball coach, determined to make them fall in love with another net, mixing together sports and life, laughter and heartbreak.

Murder at Cinema North

Director: Avida Livny

Production: Shula Spiegel

World Premiere

The fates of a young criminal, a Jewish engineer, a German music teacher and a Jewish woman who has an affair with a Nazi intersect when a bullet is fired into a queue of people waiting to see a film.

Depth of Field Competition

Coda For a Captain

Director: Keren Alexander

Production: Levi Zini, Avishai Peretz, Keren Alexander

World Premiere

At the age of 80, Captain Meirson embarks on his last voyage at sea on his hand-made boat. Surrounded by breaking waves and sounds of depths, he refuses to accept what is more frightening than the winds – growing old.


Director & Production: Ilan Yagoda

World Premiere

At the bustling Central Train Station in Tel Aviv, a piano is placed. This touching, heartbreaking piano might have the power to restore time and attention, allowing passersby to enter a different mindset in which they can hear themselves.



Director: Duki Dror

Production: Reinhardt Beetz, Liat Kamai Eshed, Dana Wolfe

Israeli Premiere

For decades Lebanon has been the epicenter of international unrest. Ongoing bloody wars have plagued the country from the mid-1970s and until today, disastrous decisions having shaped the destiny of millions.


Director: Nurith Aviv

Production: Serge Lalou, Itai Tamir

Israeli Premiere

Seven young people share their love for Yiddish avant-garde poetry written during the interwar period.
For them, this poetry belongs not only to the Jewish past, but speaks also to the present moment.

Shorts Competition


Director: Miki Polonski

Production: Shira Hochman, Miki Polonski

World Premiere

One long shot, framed by a schoolyard’s volleyball court. The distance and stillness of the camera captures a frame in which the court’s grid is disturbed by the primal, often violent, games played by the children during recess.

Art on the Border – Shorts Program

Nico Poe’sie

Director & Production: Shira Farber

World Premiere

“Life is secondary to the stage, there you make dreams come true”, that’s how the actor, the one who was called:”The forefather of fringe” in Israel, Niko Nitai, defined and lived his life.

ARTOPIA #Belfast

Director & Production: Shachaf Dekel

World Premiere

An Israeli filmmaker meets with leading activist artists in Belfast to learn about the struggles of a society still grappling with its bloody history, and the importance of art in fostering peace and social cohesion.

Students Competition

Me VS The Pigeons

Director: Daniel Reeb
Production: Daniel Susz
Minshar School Of Art
Students Competition
Israel 2020, 37 min, Hebrew, English subtitles
Everybody says I don’t care about anything, but that’s not true. I care about the pigeons.

With Slight Steps

Director: Guy Hodes
Production: Inbar Hodes Avgar
The Jerusalem Sam Spiegel Film School
Students Competition
Israel 2019, 29 min, Hebrew, English subtitles
97-year-old Tirza Hodes, has been jetting between Israel and her home in Germany. A phone call to her grandson Guy, sets them on a journey following the loss of her “Israeli Dream”.


Director & Production: Smadar Epstein Plagi
School of Audio & Visual Arts Sapir college
Students Competition
Israel 2020, 28 min, Hebrew, English subtitles
Two women are trying to clean the apartment where one of them lives with 12 cats. The attempt to help encounters resistance, and as the dirt clears, so does a new consciousness.


Director & Production: Moaad Gder
Bezalel Academy of Arts and design department of Screen Based Arts
Students Competition
Israel 2019, 7 min, Hebrew and Arabic, English subtitles
During the director’s childhood, he experienced heavy bleeding that felt like an abortion. His parents took him to a specialist and that was that. All these years the memory remained. Did it really happen?

The Last Fisherman in the Sea of Galilee

Director & Production: Nachshon Taishi Tanaka
Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Department of Screen Based Arts
Students Competition
Israel 2019, 30 min, Hebrew, English and Japanese, Hebrew & English subtitles
An intimate encounter of a Japanese director with an Israeli fisherman. The director is on a spiritual quest to try and understand why Jesus chose the fisherman of the Sea of Galilee as his first disciples?

The Promise

Director: Roni Azgad
Production: Nevo Shinaar, Roni Azgad
Bezalel Academy of Art and Design
Students Competition
Israel 2020, 24 min, Hebrew, Hebrew & English subtitles
The Promise presents a rich collage of archival materials designed to explore how the personal and national are intertwined in major rituals of human life.

Family Portrait

Directors: Jordan Sultana, Yuval Horovitz
Production: Yuval Horovitz, Jordan Sultana, Thekra Zohir Makalde, Sapir Rubin, Coral Haik Hofman
Beit Berl College – Hamidrasha Faculty of Arts – Film Dept.
Students Competition
Israel 2020, 27 min, Hebrew and English, English subtitles
Galit and Yoav are planning a family vacation for their anniversary with Delia, their Philippine care giver.
The couple are physically disabled and the mutual dependence on Delia has become a shared destiny.