The 22nd annual edition of Docaviv, the Tel Aviv International Documentary Festival, is slated to launch this September after being postponed earlier this year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The 2020 festival, which runs Sept. 3-12 in Tel Aviv, Israel, will take on a hybrid format, with a combination of digital and physical screenings in compliance with social distancing guidelines.
Physical events will take place at various indoor and outdoor venues throughout Tel Aviv, with the digital component being made available via the festival’s website.
The announcement comes as the Israeli government on June 8 withdrew the proposal of reopening the country’s cinemas on Sunday (June 14) due to a new rise in COVID-19 cases in the country. A new reopening date has yet to be announced.
Docaviv’s 2020 festival lineup will consist of 120 new international and local documentaries.
Making up the Israeli Competition will be 16 films, of which 12 are world premieres and two are Israeli premieres. International titles will be announced later this summer.
Highlights in the Israeli Competition include Eran Paz’s And I Was There (pictured), which charts the filmmaker’s time as a young soldier while documenting his unit’s taking over of Palestinian homes; Mor Loushy’s Kings of Capitol Hill, about Jewish lobby organizations in the U.S.; Maya Zinshtein‘s ‘Til Kingdom Come, which exposes the controversial fellowship between Evangelical Christians and Israel; and the Israeli premiere of The Human Factor from Academy Award-nominated director Dror Moreh, which recounts how the U.S. came within reach of securing peace between Israel and its neighbors.
Elsewhere, Docaviv will introduce a new award category that will be anchored in current events and aims to honor films that “transcend the screen and generate real change.”
The Beyond the Screen award will focus on Israeli and international films whose subjects work to change political, social and ecological realities.
Films competing for the inaugural award include Noam Demsky and Ido Bahat’s A Waste of Space and Mordechai Vardi’s Marry Me However.
“The decision to plan a hybrid festival was made after realizing that the safety restriction that may apply once the cinema’s in Israel reopen, could limit the capacity of the large crowds that the festival usually enjoys,” said Docaviv’s artistic director Karin Rywkind Segal in a statement. “As a big audience festival, we want to accommodate our loyal audiences who may not be able to attend cinema screenings.
“Other festivals that went online and a successful curated online program we launched in May, proved that an online program is a wonderful way of reaching people that reside outside of Tel Aviv as well as audiences with disabilities that will not allow them to attend physical screenings. We cannot predict the future but we are working towards the best and safest solutions to showcase the wonderful films we have curated for this year’s program.”
Docaviv serves as the largest film festival in the city of Tel Aviv, and the only festival in the country dedicated to documentary films.
The festival is home to more than 130 local and international film screenings set across both competitive and non-competitive sections. Winning films of the Israeli, international and short documentary categories are eligible to compete for the Academy Awards documentary competition.
The festival also hosts a number of industry events, including one-on-one meetings between filmmakers and international decision makers; and DOC-LAB-TLV, a rough-cut lab with international mentors.