May means Docaviv – the Tel Aviv International Documentary Film Festival. This year, due to the pandemic, the festival has been postponed, and is scheduled to take place from September 3 – 12, 2020. In the meantime, May will still be the month for documentaries, as the festival presents Docustream – a curated, online program of international and Israeli documentaries, as well as conversations with directors. The films will be available on the Docaviv website from May 13 – 23, 2020 for a symbolic viewing fee: 10 NIS per film, or 80 NIS for the entire program. Supporting local creative arts, all proceeds from Israeli films will go to the filmmakers.
The festival will host the Israeli premiere of The Kingmaker (2019), directed by Lauren Greenfield. A conversation with the film’s director will take place on Thursday, May 14, at 20:00, hosted by lecturer and film researcher Dr. Lalive Melamed. The film focuses on the life and career of Imelda Marcos, former first lady of the Philippines, famous (or rather infamous) for her collection of shoes. Her husband Ferdinand became President of the Philippines in 1965 and ruled until 1986 when he was deposed by the People Power Revolution. The couple went into exile in Hawaii. Allowed to return in 1991, Imelda Marcos has been working on her political career and rehabilitating her family’s image. Greenfield lets Imelda Marcos tell her story in the film, including her plans for son Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to become President of the Philippines. Juxtaposed with her personal perspective are interviews with her political opponents, and those who suffered under Marcos’ regime.
The Wolfpack (2015), directed by Crystal Moselle, is about a family of seven children who were locked in their home for fourteen years, and homeschooled by their mother, rarely allowed to leave the confines of their New York apartment. During those years, their only knowledge of the world beyond their home was through film. Their unusual upbringing, their immersion in film, and the access allowed the director into their lives, makes this a very intriguing film. A conversation with director Crystal Moselle will take place on Wednesday, May 21, at 19:00, hosted by film researcher and lecturer Ohad Landsman.
Another interesting offering is Finding Vivian Maier (2013), directed by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel. There is a sense of mystery about Vivian Maier (1926 – 2009). She was a French-American who worked as a nanny on the North Shore for over forty years. Wandering through the streets of Chicago, as well as the affluent suburbs where she worked, she took many photographs throughout her life, and printed very few, leaving over 100,000 negatives after her death. The photographs are fascinating, capturing not only the essence of an era, but a sense of the person, someone with a life communicated to us only through the curves and angles that make up a person, the way the body reflects light, the gesturing hand, the clothes, the walk, the gaze. Interviews with people who were in her care as children provide additional insight into her life and character.
Docaviv website: https://www.docaviv.co.il/org/