The Arty Semite

Why Oscar Nominee Doesn't Represent Israel

By Ralph Seliger

Last year, in a nearly empty screening room, I saw what became an Academy Award finalist in the documentary category, “5 Broken Cameras.” I then interviewed filmmaker Guy Davidi about his background and his work on the film for The Arty Semite.

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Recently I had another email conversation with Davidi, discussing how he’s faring with his film in the limelight, the nature of his collaboration with his Palestinian co-director Emad Burnat, and whether he knew if his colleague (a novice in the trade) would pursue filmmaking in the future.

When asked his view of the other Israeli-produced film nominated for best documentary, “The Gatekeepers,” he was reluctant to say much, citing an Academy rule prohibiting him from commenting on a fellow nominee. He responded mainly about his experience as a nominee with his Palestinian partner, but began with the political impact of the other work:

”The Gatekeepers” has put an end to the claim that Ehud Barak conveyed that there is no Palestinian partner; for me [this] is the most important achievement of the film and [on] the political discourse in Israel.

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Big Wins at Sundance

By Dan Friedman

She Won, and She’s Not Sorry: Ai Weiwei with Alison Klayman, director of a Sundance award-winning documentary about him.

The final winners at the Sundance Film Festival were announced on the evening Sunday January 29 and there were big wins for Israel and Jewish themed films as well as films helmed by Jewish directors.

Alison Klayman, who was featured on The Arty Semite blog last week, won the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Prize for Spirit of Defiance for her film — “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry”— about the Chinese artist-activist.

Eugene Jarecki won the Grand Jury Prize for Documentary films with “The House I Live In.” Jarecki, is best known recently for his YouTube exhortation to “Move Your Money” away from banks who don’t represent their investors.

Emad Burnat, who will be featured in the Forward in the coming week, won the World Cinema Documentary Directing Award for his “5 Broken Cameras,” about life beyond the security barrier. But the big win was another film about life in the occupied territories.

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