docaviv galil 2014 logo

There’s more to life in Israel than Tel Aviv. Yes, really. If you head north to Ma’alot Tarshiha you will be just in time to take in the Docaviv Galil Festival of documentary films, now in its 6th edition! The festival will take place from October 28 – November 1, 2014, with screenings of documentary films, workshops, master classes, and an exhibition of street photography. Docaviv Galil is an initiative of Docaviv, produced in cooperation with the city of Ma’alot Tarshiha and its Mayor Shlomo Buhbut. Screenings will take place at the Center for Performing Arts, the Gras Community Center and Barrer Apter Art Center & Gallery. This year, for the first time, the Orthodox Church of Tarshiha will be hosting festival screenings.

The festival places an emphasis on the intersection between documentary films, filmmakers, audiences and the place, encouraging mutual dialogue and inspiration. The Western Galilee city of Ma’alot Tarshiha is 20 kilometers from the coast and 600 meters above sea level – a great place to get some perspective as well as fresh air. Established in 1963 when the Jewish village of Ma’a lot and the Arab village of Tarshiha chose to merge their municipalities and become one town (achieving city status in 1996), Ma’a lot Tarshiha has also become the home for many immigrants arriving from other countries, and enjoys a very diverse population.

Festival Highlights:

The Israeli premiere of Luis Lopez and Clay Tweel’s Print the Legend, winner of the Special Jury Prize at SXSW 2014 –  a behind-the-scenes look at start-ups racing to become the first to develop a commercial 3D printer and corner the market.

Preview screenings of documentary films in progress. Ever wondered what goes into making a documentary film? The directors of these films will be on hand to show selections from their film in progress and take questions from the audience about the many choices and decisions involved in taking a film from idea to screen. Films to be shown include: Dafni Leef’s first person narrative of her experiences standing at the head of the 2011 summer protest movement; Yair Qedar’s next project in his series of excellent documentaries on major figures in Israeli literature, this one will focus on the poet Zelda; The Third Son – two friends track a mysterious murder to dark places in Russia, encountering Skinheads and extreme Right-wingers; Hanoch – a film by Raphael Levin, son of Hanoch Levin, a playwright of legendary stature in Israeli culture, exploring the connection between Levin’s personal life and his work.

In expanding their focus outward from the center, Docaviv Galil places a strong emphasis on  the work of filmmakers who make their home in the north, and on nurturing the work of emerging filmmakers. Among the programs featured in the festival are:

Wings – a documentary film workshop now in its third year, that takes place at the Barrer Apter Center. Local filmmakers create short films that relate to the place and its people, celebrated at the festival with a premiere screening of the works.

360 Ma’alot Tarshiha  – high school students took part in six month documentary filmmaking workshop, documenting someone who has had an impact on their lives, and their dialogue with that person.

Close Range – a program devoted to documentary filmmakers from the north, that will feature Mila Shel Papa, winner of the Docaviv 2014 Student Competition, and Newsroom by Nofar Ben Margy, that follows the struggles of Aviv Mazuz, a news broadcaster on a local Kiryat Shmona station, with the Israeli government and its bureaucracy against the intended closing of the news station.

Opening festivities on Tuesday, October 28th, will include a performance by the Andalusian Orchestra with the screening of Abigail Sperber’s film Probation Time. Awarded Best Film at Docaviv 2014, Sperber’s film tells the story of a family with compassion and honesty, raising pertinent questions on issues of parenting, relationships, and the ties of affection and responsibility that bind us to one another.

Special performances at the festival:

Wednesday, October 29th at 16:30 – the screening of Sometimes I Dream I’m Flying (Poland, 2014), will be accompanied by a performance by the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Junior Company. The film follows Weronika, a dance student from Warsaw, her efforts, hopes, and hardships, as she pursues her dream of a professional dance career.

Friday, October 31st at 17:30 – a performance by Mira Awad, who composed the music for the documentary Write Down, I am an Arab, will accompany the screening of the film.Directed by Ibtisam Mara’ana Menuhin, it is an intimate look at the life of the poet Mahmoud Darwish. Awad’s music and performance of Darwish’s poem Rita is so expressive, even if you do not understand Arabic, the song finds its way into your heart.

Saturday, November 1st at 20:30 – the festival’s closing event will host actor/director Norman Issa, and a concert by the Druz band.

The full festival program is available in Hebrew on the Docaviv Galilee website, and tickets may be ordered online.