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The 26th Edition of Docaviv Film Festival Presents:  This year’s international program and additional events

  • Dozens of award-winning documentaries about larger-than-life people and stories: John Galliano, Frida Kahlo, Agnès Varda, Anselm Kiefer, Louis C.K., and more
  • Docaviv Festival arrives at Migdalor Cinema for two open-air screenings
  • A tribute to Audrius Stonys—one of the world’s most prominent documentary filmmakers, a director, producer, lecturer, and trailblazer within the Baltic school of poetic documentary filmmaking
  • The Yad Vashem Award: For the third year running, Docaviv and Yad Vashem will be presenting the Yad Vashem Award for an outstanding Holocaust-related documentary. This year, the $3,000 prize goes to The Commandant’s Shadow by Daniela Voelker (Tulip Entertainment, Warner Bros.)
  • International guests including Alina Simone, director of Black Snow, winner of the F:ACT award at CPH:DOX festival; Audrius Stonys, who will be giving a masterclass; Maria Wider, director of Old Summer, screened in this year’s Shorts Competition; Lucie Kon, Commissioning Editor on Storyville, the BBC’s landmark international documentary strand, David Boaretto, director of April in France
  • Israeli program event highlights: a special screening in memory of filmmaker Nili Tal; From the Baba Sali to Rabbi Ovadia Yosef: The Trajectories of Sephardic Rabbinic Politics in Israel
  • A premiere of Jasmine Kainy’s film Beyond October 7th
    The story of the Gad family from Be’eri: an intimate account of the members of one family, survivors of October 7th, as they confront trauma and grief.


May 23 through June 1, 2024   https://www.docaviv.co.il/


With the festival’s 26th edition around the corner, Docaviv is proud to announce this year’s program: a wealth of outstanding films, special events, and special guests from around the world.

This year at Docaviv—world premieres, tribute programs, Q&As with local and international filmmakers, and industry events held throughout Tel Aviv–Yafo: at the Tel-Aviv Cinematheque, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Suzanne Dellal Center, CCA Tel Aviv–Yafo, Lev Tel Aviv Cinema, Ennis Cultural Center, Beit Radical, Migdalor Cinema, and more.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ymd03YcjHfU


International Competition lineup: 

KIX, a gritty doc that captures the fast and furious coming of age of a boy named Sanyi on the streets of Budapest. Boyz, the lives of three university students in Munich on their last summer of bromance. Favoriten by Ruth Beckermann, who quietly situated herself among the children of one class in a Viennese primary school, and skillfully captured the events that would shape their personalities. Vista Mare: The tourist season in this Italian resort town starts in February and ends in October. Vacationers arrive in droves, as do the workers who toil for them. Soundtrack to a Coup d’Etat, a brilliant and fast-paced cinematic jigsaw puzzle centered on the year 1960, when the geopolitical heat was rising rapidly (with Congo’s independence, Eisenhower vs. Khrushchev, and the UN’s challenges in the age of decolonization), as was the worldwide popularity of Armstrong, Gillespie, and Nina Simone. Marching in the Dark, a remarkable and powerful documentary about the lives of widows in rural India, who rediscover their strength. Republic: In a cramped apartment of less than 6 square meters, a young Chinese man tries to create a utopian hippie-Maoist haven. Black Snow, a riveting journalistic thriller about a Siberian housewife and mother of three who posts a video exposing the pollution caused by the coal mine near her home, and her overnight transformation into an “enemy of the people” and a fearless activist.


Arts and Culture program highlights:

High & Low: John Galliano, a chronicle of the rise and fall of superstar fashion designer John Galliano from Oscar-winning director Kevin Macdonald. Obsessed with Light, a colorful kaleidoscope of Loïe Fuller—an original and spectacular stage artist and a pioneer of performance art. Catching Fire: The Story of Anita Pallenberg: They called her a witch, a murderer, the curse of the Rolling Stones—but they never knew who Anita Pallenberg truly was. A redeeming portrait of a charismatic, rebellious, addicted, and addicting Sixties persona—a woman who sank into the depths of darkness and rose back up again and again. The Stones & Brian Jones by bio-doc master Nick Broomfield, who delves into the story of Brian Jones, founder of the Rolling Stones, a musical genius, sex symbol, and lost soul who left this world at the age of 27, forever young.
Omar & Cedric: If This Ever Gets Weird, a loud, bare-all wild ride into the lives of two musicians (At the Drive-In and The Mars Volta) who went full blast in their music and friendship. Fanny: The Other Mendelssohn, a cinematic bio-symphony dedicated to Fanny Mendelssohn, a musical prodigy sidelined by social constraints and her famous composer brother. Frida, the story of Frida Kahlo—artist, lover, icon—told in her own words and with stunning animations. Viva Varda! The rich personal archive of Agnès Varda, the anarchist sorceress of French cinema, opens for the first time. Baldiga: Provocative, extravagant, all in, all the time—the photographer who blazed fast and hard through 1980s Berlin. Ricardo and Painting: Seen through the eyes and brush of painter Ricardo Cavallo, the world is a bottomless fount of inspiration. Directed by Cavallo’s close friend, renowned filmmaker Barbet Schroeder.

Master Filmmakers program highlights:

Wandering Letter by Nurith Aviv: a multilingual, intellectually stimulating yet deeply personal exploration of the consonant “R,” its varied pronunciations, and how they reflect where we come from—or where we wish to belong. Anselm by Wim Wenders—a 3D study of Anselm Kiefer’s monumental artworks and a dialogue between two phenomenal artists. (Screened in 2D and 3D). Menus-Plaisirs—Les Troisgros master of observation Frederick Wiseman’s new film about La Maison Troisgros, a well-orchestrated three-Michelin-star family restaurant—a paradise for foodies and appreciators of refined aesthetics. Madame Hofmann by Sébastien Lifshitz, premiering internationally: the heartwarming portrait of Sylvie, an executive nurse on the verge of retirement who gains a new appreciation for the important people in her life: her mother, husband, and daughter. A film about compassion and acceptance.

This year’s Masters Program will celebrate one of the world’s most prominent documentary filmmakers, Audrius Stonys—a director, producer, and lecturer, and a trailblazer within the Baltic school of poetic documentary filmmaking. While deeply rooted in the locations and their history, his work manages to rise above time, reflecting a constant preoccupation with freedom—whether personal, collective, artistic, or ethical. As a tribute to Stonys, the festival will screen seven of his feature and short films and hold a masterclass with him. Stonys’ short films will be screened during the masterclass:
UKU UKAI (2006, 30 min), Earth of the Blind (1992, 25 min), Harbour (1998, 10 min), Alone (2001, 10 min), Bridges of Time (2018, 78 min), Woman and the Glacier (2016, 56 min), Ramin (2011, 58 min)

Beyond the Screen Competition highlights:

Where We Used to Sleep, a sensitive and beautiful debut film about a woman whose heart overflows with longing for a different time as she bears witness to an ecological disaster. In the Rearview: Amid minefields and artillery fire, a rescue van becomes a safe and intimate space for refugees from the Ukrainian war zone. As they recount their hardships, their testimonies form a multi-layered, heartrending record of the cost of war and the longing for normalcy. Silent Trees: After a tragic incident at the Belarusian–Polish border, a Kurdish girl who fled to Europe with her family is forced to grow up quickly to raise her four brothers and fulfill her own dreams.


Depth of Field Competition highlights:

E.1027 – Eileen Gray and the House by the Sea, the brilliant and visually striking reenactment of a turbulent historical affair about art, passion, and power struggles. sr: a masterfully crafted, visually and intellectually stimulating documentary essay that invites us to ponder the giraffe’s surprising geopolitical manifestations throughout history, from its role in religious myths to its status as a valuable commodity. Alreadymade: Duchamp’s iconic “Fountain” changed the face of art, but could it be that the story behind the artwork that brought “the real thing” to the museum is itself a fabrication? Mud: Seemingly untouched by time, the famous mudbaths of Essentuki welcome anyone who needs healing and relaxation while the sounds of war, mere kilometers away, ring clear for all to hear. The First Days, an anthropological and lyrical portrait of a place, like a freely improvised song from an unknown culture. Under a Blue Sun, the story of how indigenous lands were made into lucrative locations for high-budget film productions, and about the imaginaries projected onto the surface of the desert land.

The lineup for Docaviv’s Oscar-qualifying Shorts Competition:
1001 Nights, a humorous doc about a typical afternoon in a pensioner’s apartment, with a soap opera playing on the TV. 14 Paintings, in which paintings and the places they are displayed tell a story about capitalism, creativity, and social constraints. Valley Pride, a mesmerizing creative documentary about the eco-catastrophe that is California’s “agricultural wonder.” Echo, in which two stuttering teenagers undergoing speech therapy learn to accept themselves and stop being afraid. The Passing, a heartfelt film about our four-legged friends and the compassionate vets who grant them one last kindness. Goodbye First Love, in which, on the blurred line between truth and fiction, two strangers who were once lovers meet for the last time. The Medallion, the story of a mother who saw her life upended as a teenager, and her daughter, who delves into her mother’s past and discovers a dark chapter in Ethiopia’s history. Whole Family, a sad and funny intimate portrait of one family coping with grief during the pandemic. Au Revoir, Pugs, in which a flash of memory about the filmmaker’s childhood dogs drives him to investigate whether the events as he recalls them had happened at all. Old Summer, a bittersweet comedy about Krystyna, 72, who goes out looking for love, but will settle for one good date.


Panorama program highlights:

Fly, a dizzyingly fast-paced doc by Shaul Schwarz and Christina Clusiau about the love of danger shared by couples addicted to BASE jumping. April in France, a glimpse into the rich and imaginative kingdom of childhood, as seen through the eyes of five-year-old April, who goes on holiday in a village in France and transforms the lives of the adults around her. Billy & Molly: An Otter Love Story, a breathtaking and heartwarming National Geographic production about an unlikely bond between a lonely man and a friendly otter, set against the stunning backdrop of an island and a bay in Scotland. Daughter of Genghis, an impressive and impactful documentary that skillfully weaves together drama, politics, and even mysticism to tell the story of a single mother who sets out to save the Mongolian people—her people—by ensuring their blood remains pure. But can she save herself? Wilding, a magical and beautiful wildlife documentary about a couple who decide to heal their land—a countryside estate in the south of England—by rewilding it. Sorry/Not Sorry: His comeback tour may be called “SORRY,” but is Louis C.K.’s bare-all confession just another clever and cynical ruse that only serves to reaffirm the power dynamic? Maya and the Wave, a high-adrenaline sports documentary centered on Brazilian surfer Maya Gabeira, whose passion for the big waves led her to overcome all the obstacles—natural and human—on her way to the world championship. The Gullspång Miracle: Enlisted by a pair of elderly sisters to document a touching family story, the filmmaker gets caught up in a convoluted mystery that threatens to reopen old wounds and change the futures of everyone involved. Agent of Happiness: Amber, a happiness agent sent by the Kingdom of Bhutan, travels the small country to meet the locals and find out what makes them happy. 

Events and collaborations in this year’s festival:

  • The Yad Vashem Award: For the third year running, Docaviv and Yad Vashem will be presenting the Yad Vashem Award for an outstanding Holocaust-related documentary. This year, the $3,000 prize goes to The Commandant’s Shadow by Daniela Voelker (Tulip Entertainment, Warner Bros)
  • Docaviv Festival arrives at  Migdalor Cinema for two open-air screenings.
    Enjoy great music and superb documentaries in a historic venue with a gorgeous Tel Aviv seaside view. For the best experience, we recommend bringing your favorite chair and getting to the venue an hour early to catch the sunset and relax with a drink.
    1 Rekhav’am Ze’evi Gandi Street, just north of the Tel Aviv Port, at the historic lighthouse complex in Reading Park. What’s on:
    Maya and the Wave | Tuesday | May 28 | 20:30
    Billy & Molly: An Otter Love Story | Wednesday | May 29 | 20:00
  • Once again, Docaviv arrives at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art with the very best art, design, and culture documentaries. Some of the screenings will be prefaced by short talks by the museum’s curators. Thanks to the partnership between Docaviv and the museum, film lovers can enjoy fascinating and enriching films and visit art exhibitions by brilliant Israeli and international artists.

Saturday | May 25 | Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Asia Hall

10:00 | Frida | Intro by Noa Rosenberg, Curator of Modern Art, Tel Aviv Museum of Art

12:30 | Alreadymade | Intro by Galit Landau-Epstein, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art

15:00 | Sorry/Not Sorry

17:30 | High & Low: John Galliano | Intro by Noa Finkels, Head of the Museum’s Art and Culture Learning Center

20:30 | Anselm | Intro by Tal Lanir, Associate Curator for Special Projects

  • Special 3D screenings of Anselm at Lev Tel Aviv Cinema: Anselm Kiefer’s giant art installations come to life in Wim Wenders’ mesmerizing and immersive film.

Saturday | May 25 | 11:00 | Lev Tel Aviv cinema

Friday | May 31 | 11:00 | Lev Tel Aviv cinema

  • Docaviv at Beit Radical
    Located at Complex 3426, Beit Radical is a social and cultural hub where the next generation of Israeli trailblazers and change-makers can grow and evolve. It is a space for grassroots organizations and a venue for local culture events, films, talks, workshops, and performances, as well as a library. This is where the change we want to see in the world is made.
    HaThiya corner of Hertzl Street, Tel Aviv–Yafo

What’s on:
Wilding | Thursday | May 30 | 20:00
Student Competition winning films | Friday | May 31 | 20:00 

  • Docaviv is coming to CCA Tel Aviv–Yafo with a screening of the film Baldiga. The screening will take place at the opening of the exhibition “On a Silver Platter: Artists to Benefit CCA,” a fundraiser to support the center and its programs, as well as to mark the center’s 25th anniversary. 2a Tsadok Hacohen St., Tel Aviv–Yafo

Thursday | May 23 | 20:00 

Israeli program events:

  • From the Baba Sali to Rabbi Ovadia Yosef: The Trajectories of Sephardic Rabbinic Politics in Israel
    Monday | May 29 | 14:45 | Cinematheque 4 | In collaboration with Van Leer Jerusalem Institute
    Rafael Balulu’s film The Last Righteous Man tells the story of the Abuhazira family and its impact on the development of North African identities, culture, and politics in Israel.
    Ofer Pinchasov’s film King of Sephardim follows the life of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and delves into his social, religious, and political impact on key issues that have shaped Israeli society and politics as we know them.
    The discussion will revolve around these historic figures and the sociopolitical sphere they created, a sphere that has become central to any attempt to understand contemporary Israeli society and its driving forces.
  • A Special Screening in Memory of Filmmaker Nili Tal
    Saturday | June 1 | 20:30 | Cinematheque 2
    Nili Tal, one of the most prolific filmmakers in the Israeli documentary industry, has produced dozens of documentaries over the years and has won The Israeli Documentary Filmmakers’ Forum Lifetime Achievement Award and the Ministry of Culture and Sport’s Lifetime Achievement Award in Cinema. To celebrate her work, Docaviv will screen Sixty and The City, Nili Tal’s candid documentary about her own search for love.
  • Accessible screening: Docaviv invites you to a screening of the film Rabbi Capoeira, made accessible by The Center for Accessible Culture (founded by the Library for the Blind) for this year’s festival.
    In addition to the accessible screening, the film’s audio descriptions will be available on the GRETA app, enabling film-goers to listen to audio descriptions on their phone and enjoy the film at any of its screenings during the festival.

International program selection committee:

Artistic Director of Docaviv Festival Karin Rywkind Segal, Tal Arditi, Dr. Nir Ferber, Dr. Laliv Melamed, and Docaviv Festival Program Manager Anat Nattel.

Photo Silvia G Golan