A thread of optimism: The opening of the Cinema Incubator

Ronna Brayer-Garb | 17.03.2021 | Photo: Nira Pereg

The Intellectual Incubator for Documentary Filmmakers opened at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute in early March, in collaboration with the Israeli Documentary Filmmakers Forum and the Jerusalem Cinematheque. The incubator, in its third year, creates encounters between researchers and filmmakers, bringing together the intellectual approach of academic research and the world of documentary filmmaking, in an effort to address the differences between these diverse perspectives in the conception and development of ideas.

This year the incubator is focusing on a single thematic framework, and we chose 11 projects addressing different aspects of Israel in the Middle East and Jewish-Palestinian relations. At the opening meeting Dr. Assaf David said of these projects that they represent “beginnings of partnership in a reality of separation."

Some of the projects are more historic in nature, shedding light on angles and points of view from the past that are not part of Israel's official history or may even contradict it; Some projects are about the current state of affairs - whether it is the violence and crime in the Arab community today or analysis of the impact of the separation fence on the human and natural environment on either of its sides; Some projects are the stories of unique figures whose life stories expose less familiar sides of the Jewish and Palestinian communities and the conflict between them; And some projects offer a look at the future or from the future, suggesting the possibility of telling a new story or offering alternatives to the common narratives.

Our working mode in the incubator developed through the experience we gained in its first two years and today is based on the research support of researchers from different fields on the one hand, and discussions in the filmmakers' group on the other hand. Each meeting of the incubator begins with a lecture by a researcher presenting a broad perspective on the subjects related to the project, and in the second part of the encounter the project is presented and the group discusses it in relation to the lecture and with an emphasis on the cinematic questions it raises.

We have just got started and it is already fascinating! Thank you to the filmmakers participating in the incubator this year: Michal Aviad, Maya de Vries Kedem, Danel Elpeleg, Shadi Habib Allah, Raz Hazon, Ihab Jadallah, Ezry Keydar, Ronnie Manor, Tal Michael, David Ofek, Dudi Patimer, Yael Perlov, Ofer Pinchasov, Anna Somershaf, Osnat Trabelsi, Tamar Yarom, Bilal Yousef.

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