Films For Change

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Remember all those late night conversations, talking to your friends about how you’d like to change the world? Galia Bador, director of the DocAviv film festival had one of those conversations with her friend documentary filmmaker Amit Goren,  and for a change, something is happening. A production grant for a documentary film relating to social, cultural or political issues that can bring about change is being offered through the cooperative efforts of the DocAviv Festival, Gesher Multicultural Film Fund, and the Second Authority for Television and Radio.

A grant of up to 400,000 NIS will be awarded for the production of a documentary which will premiere in next year’s DocAviv Festival. The announcement was accompanied by a panel discussion at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque moderated by Goren. Ziv Naveh, director of Gesher, spoke of change in terms of the people involved in creating films, emphasizing the need to open the field to those who have been excluded from filmmaking due to financial constraints, lack of access to information or discrimination.

Naveh illustrated this point with a personal experience from the Haifa Film Festival. Walking towards the parking lot after the screening of a movie about Ethiopian immigrants, a reporter mused: “I have never had a one on one conversation with someone from Ethiopia. It was amazing to hear them speaking such fluent Hebrew.” In addition to increasing access to filmmaking, Naveh described Gesher’s approach to effecting change through creating incentives and interest in dealing with issues such as the environment.

Menashe Samira, CEO of the Second Authority, discussed the need to educate audiences, youth in particular, to be open to viewing documentary films, saying that in order to be effective change must accrue slowly over time. Filmmaker Sini Bar David expressed the wish that upon leaving the cinema, filmgoers would be moved to take to the streets and demand change. Ilil Alexander shared some of her own concerns as a filmmaker with the audience. Noting that in most cases, a film is a closed process that ends with the film itself, she spoke of her desire to create films that would lead the way to introducing legislative changes in areas such as domestic violence.

Goren, who recently completed shooting his current project “Dangerous Children”, discussed the need to create films that will not only provide information, but have the quality and artistic integrity that can move audiences. Citing Al Gore’s influential film, he explained his commitment to this project, saying, and “There comes a time when you ask yourself, can I do something meaningful with my life?” One of the major challenges for filmmakers is bringing the film to a wider audience. Goren feels that the accessibility of the internet might provide a solution, informing viewers of works in progress and opening up new possibilities of dialogue between filmmaker and viewer.
Deadline for applications: 5.7.09 at noon
Information: keren@gesher.co.il