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(photo credit: REUTERS)
The 2016 Docaviv International Documentary Film Festival, which will take place from May 19 to May 28 at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque and other venues around the city, has just announced most of its lineup.
The theme of the festival this year is New World Disorder, and the focus is on terrorism, refugees and an increasingly fragmented society, as the gap widens between the haves and have nots, both in Israel and abroad.
The international competition will feature several high-profile new films.
Gianfranco Rosi’s Fire at Sea (Foucammare), which won the Golden Bear at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival, will be shown as part of the Masters Section, a new category featuring works by world-renowned directors. The film is a look at the residents of the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa, and the hundreds of thousands of migrants that land on its shores.
Among the other films in the Masters Section will be the latest by Alex Gibney, who is well known for such films as Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief and Taxi to the Dark Side, for which he won an Oscar. His new film is Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine, an in-depth and sometimes unflattering portrait of the tech entrepreneur, will be shown at Docaviv.
Davis Guggenheim, also an Oscar winner (for the groundbreaking climate change documentary An Inconvenient Truth) has a new film out: He Named Me Malala. It’s a look at the events leading up to the Taliban attack on Pakistani schoolgirl and women’s education advocate Malala Yousafzai, as well as the attack’s aftermath, including her being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and addressing the United Nations.
There will be 12 films in the International Competition. These include A Syrian Love Story by Sean McAllister, which follows a Syrian family over a five-year period – through love, separation, prison, war and freedom – as two anti-Assad activists find their marriage threatened by the strain of their political activity and their relocation to Europe.
The Happy Film, by Austrian designer Stefan Sagmeister, chronicles his quest to turn himself into a design project. Can he redesign his personality and train himself to be happier? He pursues three controlled experiments in meditation, therapy and drugs, but his life changes in ways he never intended.
Jeff Feuerzeig’s Author: The JT Leroy Story unravels the famous literary hoax in which Laura Albert invented a bad-boy teenage writer whose books about his tough childhood made him the darling of the literati.
The festival will open with the Israeli film Babylon Dreamers by Roman Shumunov, about a breakdance troupe of immigrants from the former Soviet Union who live in one of Ashdod’s poorest neighborhoods.
These dancers struggle to survive poverty, mental illness and broken families and cling to their dream of winning the International Breakdance Championship.
The films in the Israeli competition cover a wide range of subjects, among them politics, poverty and the arts.
Tali Shemesh (The Cemetery Club) and Assaf Surd collaborated on Death in the Terminal, a tense, minute- by-minute account of the tragic day of October 18, 2015, when a terrorist attacked Beersheba’s bus terminal and an Eritrean asylum seeker was lynched after being mistaken for the terrorist.
Nurith Aviv’s Poetics of the Brain interweaves stories from the director’s life with neuroscientists’ accounts of their work.
The Patriarch’s Room by Danae Alon (P.S. Jerusalem) looks at the bizarre imprisonment of the former head of the Greek Orthodox Church in a monastic cell in Jerusalem’s Old City .
Shalom Italia, by Tamar Tal Anati (winner of Docaviv for Life in Stills), is about three Italian Jewish brothers who set off on a journey through Tuscany, in search of a cave where they hid as children to escape the Nazis.
Avi Mograbi’s Between Fences looks at a theater workshop that the director and Chen Alon gave for asylum-seekers from Eritrea and Sudan at an Israeli detention center.
Shimon Dotan’s The Settlers, which had its world premiere at Sundance, examines the origins of the settlement movement and the religious and ideological visions that inspire it.
For more information of the many programs at this year’s Docaviv, go to the festival website at http://www.docaviv.co.il.