Have current events in Israel affected attendance?
Of course. But, we decided to hold the Forum anyway, because we feel it’s extremely important to continue to expose investigative and interrogative documentaries to the public abroad.
We see the documentary filmmaker as an influential voice in our society. Now more than ever these voices should be heard and presented.
Is it difficult for Israeli producers to tackle stories not related to Israel?
Because of the intensity of the local scene, it is hard to focus attention on items in the world at large. But, there is an increasing number of proposals to the forum that deal with subjects that have nothing to do with Israel.
Still, most of the proposals are in the nature of auteur documentaries, and only a few of them are of informational value, be that scientific or historical. The chief reason is the absence of suitable channels to present these films. The coming of a National Geographic station to Israel is a turn for the better and promises some remedy.
Has foreign interest in Israeli docs increased, given the world’s focus on the region?
Since the peace process has failed, foreign interest has once again shifted towards themes about the conflict. Local filmmakers though, never stopped working on them.
One aim of the forum is to direct documentary creativity to a wider band of subjects. I would like to see a foreign commissioning editor choose an Israeli documentary because he thinks it’s good, not because it is topical.
How many producers applied to pitch this year?
In past years, 70 to 90 projects were submitted. This year, 110 producers applied to pitch. Out of the 110 proposals submitted, at least 80 dealt with the political conflict.
How were the 22 projects that will pitch chosen?
The selection was made in two stages. First, the projects underwent primary winnowing by three Israeli readers. The second round of selections was made by Tue Steen Muller and Cecilia Linden from the European Documentary Network.