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Family in Transition - Ofir Trainin
Family in Transition – Ofir Trainin

Docaviv, the International Documentary Film Festival, which marks its 20th anniversary this year, announced the winners in a ceremony held at Mindspace Tel- Aviv . This year’s festival which concludes today May 26, has had a record-breaking lineup of 125 Israeli and international documentaries, as well as its first ever Shorts Competition.

2018 Docaviv Winners


The Howard Gilman Award For the Best Israeli Documentary Film
Family in Transition Ofir Trainin

Jury’s justification: סרט זה משרטט בעדינות סיפור של With great sensitivity, this film tells the story of identities getting to know themselves and each other anew, and changing right before our eyes. The jury commends the filmmaker for the intimate dynamic he has formed with his subjects and for choosing to make their voices heard, unmediated. An important and timely film, it is a reminder of the power of documentary to refresh our experience of the world and make us question distorted worldviews. Behind the strong bond between subjects and audience is the director’s dedication to his subjects, and when the two meet, the magic happens.

Special Jury Award
A Perfect Housewife Jane Bibi

Jury’s justification: A brave new voice, this filmmaker demonstrates an uncompromising relationship to her craft. Smashing through the restrictive taboos of traditional values, she forges new cinematic pathways to create an unforgettable portrait of the tremendous love that can exist between three generations of women.

The Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo Award for Best Debut Film
Wild Uriel Sinai, Danel Elpeleg

Jury’s justification: Jumping between chaos and calm, poetry and humor, man and animal, this film transcends the clichés of its genre, providing a profoundly moving reflection on the fragility and preciousness of life.

Best Cinematography Award
In The Desert – A Documentary Diptych Cinematograper: Avner Faingulernt

Jury’s justification: In this opus, the cinematographer succeeds in crafting through his lens an epic allegory of hope infused with biblical intonations. From the harshest landscapes to the most intimate moments of human interaction, the camera is used with respectful restraint to accentuate the creator’s vision.

Best Editing Award
The Wounded Healer Editor: Yithzhak Sverdlov

Jury’s justification: The editor’s authorial stamp is strong and skillful, weaving the story with great sensitivity and leading us from scene to scene with natural confidence. The editing makes a series of twists and turns while compassionately revealing a complex character coming to terms with his tragic past.

Research Award
You Only Die Twice Research: Niko Hofinger

Jury’s justification: Research is the heart and soul of this film, a film where the director works as investigator, uncovering a personal mystery to reveal a profound truth about family, brotherhood and forgiveness.

Best Original Music Award
A Sister’s Song Composer: Peter Venne

Jury’s justification: In this film, a haunting original score interweaves the film’s competing dualities into the soundscape, fusing together the secular and the sacred worlds, the musical motifs succeed in mirroring the personal stories that unfold before us.

AIDC Award for Innovative Filmmaking
A Sister’s Song Danae Elon

Jury’s justification: This award recognizes the daring vision of a filmmaker who has shown a clear and deep understanding of the filmic language. An authorial stamp marks the film on every level, infusing the text with multiple layers of meaning, resulting in a meditative, thought-provoking journey that continues long after the film concludes.

Israeli Competition Best Director Award by Fipresci
In The Desert – A Documentary Diptych Avner Faingulernt
The International Federation of Film Critics award

Jury’s justification: A personal and humane look at both sides of one of the biggest conflict zones in the Middle East. The director of In the Desert finds two separate lyrical languages to tell the film’s stories in a way that serves the differences and similarities between the two sides. Despite being challenging and demanding, the film manages not to patronize the viewers or its subjects. In a film that is tough and gentle at the same time, big concepts like ownership, family, spirituality and calling are all translated into human moments.


Best International Film Award
The Distant Barking of Dogs Simon Lereng Wilmont

Jury’s justification: Set in a village near the Ukraine/Russia frontline this highly accomplished film is a unique window into traumatic experience of growing up next to the battle zone in echoes of artillery fire. The International Competition Main Award goes to Simon Lereng Wilmont’s The Distant Barking of Dogs.

Honorable Mention
The Waldheim Waltz Ruth Beckermann

Jury’s justification: The Honorable Mention goes to a film about truth and lies in politics. The filmmaker follows the investigation of the Jewish World Congress about the military past of the former General Secretary of the United Nations and Austrian President Kurt Waldheim, who has tried to hide his involvement in war crimes in Yugoslavia and Greece during World War II. The film combines private archival footage of the filmmaker with international material and shows how Waldheim and his conservative supporters tried to protect the myth of Austria as a victim of the Third Reich. Ruth Beckermann’s Waldheim Waltz is also a statement against growing populism and sometimes not even hidden anti-Semitism today.


Artistic Vision Award
Playing Men Matjaž Ivanišin

Jury’s justification: For its strong, memorable and vibrant cinematic language, its bold and surprising storytelling and its creative and alternative approach to the way we see men. In Playing Men, the male state of being is addressed in a funny, timely and touching way.


Best Short Film Award
Tracing Addai Esther Niemeier

Jury’s justification: The winner of the Docaviv Shorts Competition is a true story about a son who disappeared without a trace. Addai, a young man, leaves his mother’s home to join a group of Salafi Syrian fighters and disappears, never to return. The director pieces together fragmented memories, facts and moments into a gentle, story loaded with emotion, yet manages to avoid pathos. The storylines converge into an honest examination of grief, regret and lost hope.


First Prize
My Father’s Son Hillel Rate, Ma’aleh School of Television, Film and the Arts

Jury’s justification: For its singular, emotionally stirring characters; for letting us glimpse at a uniquely close father-son relationship from a respectful, loving perspective; for drawing an unconventional portrait of religious masculinity.

Second Prize
The Bride’s Tree Shadi Habib Allah, Sam Spiegel Film and Television School

Jury’s justification: For its gentle, patient and lyrical look at nature and its inhabitants; for dealing with history, identity and legacy as seen through the eyes of children being raised into a grim political reality.

Third Prize
A Train To The Horizon Sharon Shahanny, Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design

Jury’s justification: For turning the spotlight on the backyard of Israeli society and showing its personal and social aspects with sensitivity and humor. The day-to-day life stories the director has brought to the screen depict the complex human reality of life in the south of Israel, the far corner of its social consciousness.

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