Solidarity – Tel Aviv Human Rights Film Festival has announced the award winners for 2021. The 10-day festival took place at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque from December 9 – 18, featuring human rights films from 30 countries. Founded in the belief that films have the power to ignite thought and action towards changing our world for the better, Danny Wilensky is the founder and director of the festival, and Gidi Avivi is the artistic director.
Winner of the Israeli Feature Film Competition is These Woods directed by Ronen Zaretsky and Yael Kipper. The jury members stated* “This is a film that contends with an important issue that has been forgotten – the workfare of the 1950s and 60s – the employment offered by the young State of Israel to new immigrants who arrived after the establishment of the State. Even though the filmmakers chose not to relate to the social and economic context of that time, there is great importance in raising this issue, and the film’s original cinematic language emphasizes the trauma and suffering of the workfare workers. The precise and expressive cinematography, the thorough research, and the credible performances together with the authentic use of the different languages of origin – there is a mixture of Hebrew, Moroccan Arabic, Arabic and French – all give the viewer a powerful and suspenseful experience, as well as food for thought.” Jury members: Prof. Zohar Shavit, Chair; Keren Alexandroni; Alon Garbuz; Emmanuel Halperin; Dr. Yasmin Sasson.
107 Mothers (Slovakia/Czech Republic/Ukraine), directed by Peter Kerekes, is the winner of the International Feature Competition. The jury members stated: “Peter Kerekes’ film exists on the border between documentary and feature film. The narrative is based on research and real events, and follows a group of prisoners and one guard, women convicted of murder who become mothers while in prison. The cast is composed of non-professional actors and known actors, together they create an atmosphere of authenticity and hypnotic emotional power. In this grim, brutal, cold reality an unusual human fabric is revealed that breaks down stereotypes. The guard, who appears cruel and tough at the beginning of the film, for whom control and authority are the source of her strength, develops a connection and feelings of compassion for the inmates and the infants, and is revealed as a lonely woman who yearns for love. The inmates become her whole world. The women serving time for murder, often for motives of love and jealousy, usually of their partner in self-defense or as a result of a violent domestic situation. They talk about the murder openly, in a manner that is cold, cruel and without remorse. Their tenderness and feelings for their babies creates moral and emotional complexity. The film is composed of a cruel and daily routine in which the goal is survival, revealing the lives, loneliness and existential hardship on both sides, as well as moments of wonder. An agitating and unusual cinematic experience. Jury members: Julie Shlez, Shula Spiegel.
I Am Not Alone, directed by Garin Hovannisian is the winner of the International Documentary Competition. The jury stated: “The film presents the fascinating story of one man, whose uncompromising commitment to ideals of democracy, solidarity and social justice guide him on a journey to topple a corrupt governmental system, that benefits the few at the expense of the majority. With electrifying cinematic power, I Am Not Alone, just like its courageous protagonist, moves and educates, awakening hope for the possibility that what is right, just, and good, can triumph over those who would suppress these universal ideals. Honorable mention was awarded to the films Shadow Game directed by Eefje Blankevoort and Els van Driel, and Arica, directed by Lars Edman and William Johansson Kalen. Jury members: Prof. Grant Buchart, Chair; Michal Varshay.
First Prize in the Israeli Short Film Competition was awarded to Bechora, directed by Maya Armon. Grandson, directed by Claudio Steinberg, received an Honorable Mention. Ripples, directed by Yael Nudelman was awarded First Prize in the Student Film Competition, and I’m With Her, directed by Shani Beradt received an Honorable Mention. Jury members: Keren Shayo, Chair; Ayelet Bachar; Ruti Vishnevsky; Tom Mehager.
In the Young Creators Competition, judged by Itay Ken-Tor, Ammé, by Shani Maor and Dolev Maor from Ehad Ha’am High School in Petah Tikva, was awarded First Place. Against the World, by Keshet Machoro, Evyatar Ben Aroya, and Inbar Sheetrit from Maayan Shachar Education Campus, was awarded Second Place. In Our Way, by Gal Shamir, Elad Abutbul, Bar Maimoni and Idan Harush from ORT Yitzhak Rabin in Gan Yavne, was awarded Third Place.
The full list of festival films and additional information may be found on the Solidarity website: https://www.solidaritytlveng.org/