THE SETTLERS, a documentary by New York filmmaker Shimon Dotan that takes a timely look at the controversial Israeli settlement movement, will open on Friday, March 3 at Film Forum in New York and on Friday, March 17 at the Laemmle Monica in Los Angeles. The documentary will appear at several Jewish film festivals throughout the late winter with a national theatrical rollout to follow.
In June 1967, at the end of the Six-Day War, Israel literally tripled its territory, occupying the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, and the West Bank. Hundreds of thousands of settlers have made homes in these Occupied Territories since that time — their presence making a peace agreement with the Palestinians infinitely more complex. THE SETTLERS takes their full measure — its focus ranging from opportunistic families seeking less costly living conditions to Western-style hippies; messianic, religious extremists to idealistic farmers; settler “patriarchs” to new converts. Israeli intellectuals, politicos, and academics weigh in on this conundrum: How can approximately a half-million people be allowed to stand in the way of a Middle Eastern peace settlement the world so desperately needs?
Shimon Dotan is a Fellow at the New York Institute of the Humanities and recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship award. His films have been the recipients of the Special Jury Prize at Sundance (HOT HOUSE), the Silver Bear Award at the Berlin Film Festival (THE SMILE OF THE LAMB), and numerous Israeli Academy Awards, including Best Film and Best Director. He has taught filmmaking and film studies at Tel Aviv University, Concordia University and is presently teaching Political Cinema at New York University and Film Directing at the New School.