Last updated October 24th 2015

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Art always finds a way to take on the most difficult challenges, and find a way to make wonderful things happen. It’s never easy to establish a thriving cultural event in what is known as “the periphery” – meaning, anywhere outside Tel Aviv. Yet Docaviv Galilee is entering its 7th edition this year, taking place in Ma’alot-Tarshiha from October 27 – 31, 2015.

Docaviv Galilee places an emphasis on connecting with the community, and in addition to screening over 30 documentary films from Israel and abroad, the festival will feature: workshops, meetings with filmmakers and actors, tours of the area and other activities. Docaviv Galilee is a Docaviv initiative, created in cooperation with Ma’alot-Tarshiha Municipality.

The distinct character of the city makes it an excellent partner for the documentary film festival. Located north of the coastal city of Nahariya, and situated on high where the air is clear, the city was 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). Co-existence is part of everyday life here, and as I write these words I recall my conversation with Elaine Levitt at the Barrer Apter Art Center.  When asked about the interaction between Arabs and Jews at the Center and in general, she responded: “I don’t think that people love one another, but there is respect.”

The full festival program is available in Hebrew on the website.

Some festival highlights:

Opening night will feature the film Twilight of a Life, an intimate portrait of filmmaker Sylvain Biegeleisen’s bedridden yet ever-vital 94 year old mother. Director Biegeleisen will talk with the audience following the screening, and will also perform songs by Jacques Brel on his guitar.

Hisham Sulliman and Itzik Cohen, leading actors in the popular Israeli television series Fauda, a political thriller that focuses on an Israeli counter-terrorism military team that is trying to catch a terrorist known as “The Panther.” Along with head writer Moshe Zonder,  they will show selections from the series and talk about the process of working on this controversial topic.

The festival closing event will be a screening of Tinghir – Jerusalem, Echoes from the Mellah, in the presence of Moroccan director Kamal Hachkar. The film reflects on the neighborly co-existence of Jews and Muslims in this Moroccan village. The screening will be followed by a performance of Huwa Jani by the talented Neta Elkayam, accompanied by Amit Hai Cohen, Elad Levy, Shiko Bachar and Gal Maestro. The Huwa Jani project connects the musical traditions of Maghreb with contemporary music, in new arrangements of traditional Moroccan songs and original compositions by Elkayam and Amit Hai Cohen.

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