The Intellectual Incubator for Documentary Filmmakers at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, formed in conjunction with the Israeli Documentary Filmmakers Forum and the Jerusalem Cinematheque, is a platform for thinking through and critiquing the intellectual, social, and cultural contexts in which documentary films are conceived, produced and received. It is also a place for filmmakers and researchers to collaborate, lending filmmaking in Israel greater intellectual depth and creative energy while bringing new questions and approaches to research.
The incubator offers filmmakers an opportunity to engage with academic researchers working on areas that relate to their projects, while developing the thoughts that underlie their cinematic endeavors. This initiative is part of a wider decision of the Van Leer Institute to engage with artists and the arts to advance – from within ongoing exchanges between scholars and artists – the development and dissemination of ideas for social change.
Film, and documentary film in particular, has become a lively arena of Israel’s “culture wars.” It is in film that key questions about the validity and effect of art, about the involvement of the state in content and in funding culture, and about the social and political contexts within which artists and cultural communities are embedded. Documentary film is also at the crux of ongoing controversy regarding truth, and the representation of truth, in contemporary technological and media-driven culture. Engaging these issues reveals deep crises in contemporary culture, characterized partly by a deep distrust of the elites that set standards and define “cultural taste”, as well as towards the identities and motivations of the individuals and bodies manufacturing culture. Through the lens of documentary film, then, another aspect of the crisis of liberalism is revealed, together with a refreshing way to approach this crisis.
Incubator Participants, 2020
Adi Adwan, Shuki Ben Naim, Arik Bernstein, Rachel Elitzur, Anat Even, Rachel Lea Jones, Eliav Lilti, Stav Meron, Ido Mizrahy, Nir Sa'ar, Yochai Shalom Hadad, Avigail Sperber, Ran Tal, Astar Vander, Zohar Wagner
Incubator Participants, 2019
Yuval Abraham, Rafael Balulu, Ayelet Bechar, Yaniv Berman, Netalie Braun, Lev Brodinski, Amichai Chasson, Tony Copti, Danae Elon, Yotam Feldman, Neomi Nur-Zahor, Ron Ofer, Yael Perlov, Yair Qedar, Iris Rubin, Dafna Shalom, Rachel Szor, Adi Toledano, Doron Tsabari