A group of students from Israel and Austria has produced a short movie filmed in both countries. Titled “Common Ground,” the movie premiered at the Jerusalem Cinematheque in February and it is set to premiere also in Austria in the near future.
The project received the support of the Austrian Film Institute, the Film Fund of the County of Lower Austria, the Future Fonds of the Republic of Austria, the Municipality of Jerusalem and the Embassy of Israel in Vienna, which was also fully involved in the logistics and the work around the content of the project.
In January 2022, the director of the Austrian Film Institute Roland Teichmann approached the embassy and presented a program called Einblick Filterlos established in 2015 as a local film production project with young adults. He suggested recreating something similar but involving both Austrian and Israeli youth.
The embassy made the connection between Teichmann and Israeli Director Rabbi Mordechai Vardi, who would go on and become the screenwriting coach for the project. In addition, it helped reach out to the Jer-Art School, which became the Israeli partner of the project.
In August, eight participants from Israel and Austria began to work together virtually under the supervision of experts from both countries.
The participants wrote the entire script of the movie, which discussed topics related to the Holocaust and the contemporary challenges young people in the two countries face. The filming took place in December and January between Jerusalem, Vienna and Melk.
“A project that sees young people coming together to remember and retell history, and also build a positive bond, sends an optimistic message for the future,” said Ambassador Mordechai D. Rodgold.
The movie focuses on the friendship between an Israeli boy, whose father was killed while serving in the army and an Austrian girl, who was also raised by a single parent. The two visit important sites in both countries together and discuss issues such as pacifism and war.
Attending the screening in Jerusalem were about 300 people, including several guests from Austria.
Yair Nevo, a consultant of the Division for Cultural Diplomacy, spoke on behalf of the Foreign Ministry expressing to the Austrian partners his gratitude for choosing Israel as the first foreign country to work with for this project.