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Documentary Festival Bows In Negev
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Documentary Festival Bows In Negev

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Updated: 11 January 2017
The organizers of Docaviv – Israel’s famous film festival dedicated exclusively to documentaries and held annually in Tel Aviv – have established another festival in southern Israel. Docaviv Negev aims to portray the voice of Israel’s periphery. This festival, according to mayor Michael Bitton, ‘is a unique festival – it tells the true story of the individual and the community’. Here we take a look at some of its most anticipated films.

Tinghir – Jerusalem, Echoes from the Mella

Moroccan filmmaker Kamal Hachkar directed the festival’s opening film. It follows the memories of Muslims and Jews from the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, a community that once lived in perfect harmony. The film took five years to make, with the director traveling between Jerusalem and Tinghi, collecting information from both sides. This documentary gives a beautiful account of what life once was in the ancient town and leaves views with a feeling of what life could be if these two nations were united.

On the Way to School

Most children are fortunate enough to get driven, take a bus or at least walk a few minutes to school. For Jason, 10 years old from Kenya, Samuel, 11 years old from India, Zahira, 12 years old from Morocco, and Carlos, 11 years old from Argentina, things aren’t exactly so simple. This film, directed by French director Pascal Plisson, follows the four children on their journey to school. These daily treks can take up to four hours. Traveling is done by walking through some of Morocco’s toughest terrain, crossing rivers in India on a simple cart or dodging lions and elephants in the Kenyan wildlife.

Probation Time

Avigayl Sperber is the tenth child with nine older siblings, one of whom is an adopted Ethiopian woman named Ariella. Ariella is facing a downward spiral of alcoholism and theft. This story follows Ariella and her struggle with her adoptive family and raises the question – will she ever be able to truly accept the loving concern of her adoptive family? A family to which she might not feel completely connected, or vice versa. This moving documentary is directed by Avigayl Sperber herself and gives a very compelling and close insight into her family dynamics.

Thugs and Bimbo’s Elite: HaMitzrachim

A documentary series about social class, thugs and bimbos – or the Israeli names ‘arsim and freichot’ – are the terms given to those who are typically from low socio-economic status. To the elite they are viewed as crass, kitsch and cheap. The women generally dye their hair blond and don cheap jewelry. The men also tend to highlight their hair and wear obvious knock offs brand named clothing. This series takes a closer look at these individuals. This particular chapter premiered follows a group of Russian immigrants that made their way into Israel during the 90’s. They settled in typically ‘Mizrachi’ or Oriental neighborhoods where the inhabitants generally tended to be arsim or freichot. These Russians adopted Israeli Eastern culture and see themselves as ‘European Arsim’.

Handa Handa 4

In traditional Bukharin culture, couples must marry after only a brief acquaintance, however Ronen and Orit have a slightly different approach. After three years together they refuse to give into their traditional demands and rebel against their parents’ wishes. Even if Ronen protects Orit’s ‘honor’ after all this time, it is still not enough for this traditional family. This ‘doc-comedy’ won ‘The Best Mid-Length Film Award from the Israeli Documentary Filmmakers Forum 2013’ and is directed by David Ofek and Neta Shoshani.

Docaviv Negev takes place 6-8 January 2015

A festival schedule can be found here