The Gatekeepers received the award for most important documentary film of 2012 by The Cinema for Peace initiative on Saturday night at the Berlin International Film Festival.
The annual Cinema for Peace Awards attempts to communicate humanitarian, political and social issues through the medium of film.
The Gatekeepers, directed by Dror Moreh, consists of extensive and rare interviews with the six surviving former heads of the Shin Bet (the General Security Services) in Israel: Ami Ayalon, Avi Dichter, Yuval Diskin, Carmi Gillon, Ya’acov Peri and Avraham Shalom.
In The Gatekeepers, the six former heads of Israeli internal security and intelligence agency reflect on their failures and successes in gathering information on state enemies, orchestrating secret operations and tracking militants. They also offer some unexpected perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The film will compete at the February 24 Oscar ceremony with 5 Broken Cameras, a view of the Middle East conflict seen through Palestinian eyes, AIDS documentary How to Survive a Plague, military rape film The Invisible War, and Searching for Sugar Man about a US folk singer who becomes a South African pop icon.
The film beat rival Israeli films 5 Broken Cameras by Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi and The Law in These Parts by Ra'anan Alexandrowicz for "Most Valuable Documentary of the Year."
The film also succeeded against international competition from "Searching for Sugar Man" and "How to Survive a Plague."
The Cinema for Peace Foundation was founded in 2008 running internally originated, cinema-based humanitarian projects. It attempts to promote worldwide peace and understanding through the support of cinematographic works.
The foundation attempts to provide support for film projects focusing on humanitarian and justice issues such as the prevention of disease, terrorism, ecocide, war, poverty and violation of human rights.
The Dalai Lama chaired the panel appointed to choose the winner of the award.
Hannah Brown contributed to this report.