Middle East, India, Tibet, & Nepal

Arnon Goldfinger Opens the Door to Moral Dilemmas in "The Flat"

Family archival documents play a key role in Arnon Goldfinger's THE FLAT.

Hailed as one of the most important Israeli documentaries of recent years, Arnon Goldfinger's The Flat exposes family secrets and raises moral questions which Goldfinger recently discussed with a non-fiction theory class taught by USC's Michael Renov. Reported by Wendy Dent, who premieres her family-inspired film December 25 at IDFA.

Documentary filmmaking often means opening wounds. And that means wrestling with moral dilemmas. For documentary filmmakers, those issues can be the most unsettling.

Julia Bacha on the Art of Non-Violent Filmmaking

After "Budrus," Bacha documents a coming-of-age story set in East Jerusalem.

Sara Benninga, an Israeli activist who appears in "My Neighborhood."

Julia Bacha's follow up to Budrus is My Neighborhood, which follows a young boy who comes of age in East Jerusalem through eviction, protests, and unexpected allegiances. She told The Independent that "the story of My Neighborhood isn’t over. We wanted to get the film out as soon as possible, because we didn’t want the window to close while there was still time to try and stop the settlements there."

In a conversation via Skype over the summer, acclaimed writer/director Julia Bacha talked with The Independent’s Rebecca Reynolds about Bacha’s work at Just Vision, a nonprofit organization dedicated to documenting the lives of Palestinian and Israeli civilians who are working to promote peace and fre

John Madden Acts His Age

Known for directing major movies, John Madden explains how "Marigold" breaks mainstream rules.

From John Madden's "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel."

Though he makes major motion pictures with traditional distribution, John Madden pushes against age bias with today's US release of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, starring only actors over 60.

Director John Madden, who started out in producing British television, has made a name for himself across the pond helming films such as Shakespeare in Love, Proof and more recently, The Debt.

Afghan Life According to Afghan Filmmakers

With limited access to stories from the Afghan point of view, filmmaker Michael Sheridan set up a workshop to give Afghan people the tools to make their own documentaries.

The struggle to grow grapes in "Water Ways," (photo by Community Supported Film).

From the long walk between work and home to squeezing water from the desert dust, The Fruit of Our Labor depicts daily life in post-9/11 Afghanistan, as told by 10 Afghan filmmakers trained by Community Supported Film.

In the days approaching the 10th anniversary of September 11th, whose stories have you heard? Have they represented the full spectrum of experiences on that date and what has unfolded since? What was the language of their telling?

Just Like Us: The Truth About Light

Writer Lisa Pegram considers her friend Ahmed Ahmed's new documentary, "Just Like Us," relative to her own journeys.

Ahmed Ahmed takes comedy to the Middle East and back in "Just Like Us."

What happens when a friend accomplishes something huge, like finishing his film, when you're still struggling to find your own artistic way? Ahmed Ahmed's new documentary about comedy in the Middle East inspired poet and memoirist Lisa Pegram in more ways than one.

Late one night in early June, I was devouring a novel by candlelight after forgetting, for the third time in a week, to buy bulbs. The room was dim and though it was hell on my eyes, the poet in me was charmed by the whole feel of it. I took a short break to make the book last and contemplate a shadow in a far corner, when the room brightened with the flash of a text message on my cell phone.

The Doc Doctor's Anatomy of a Film: "This Is Where My Dog Is Buried"

A still from "This Is Where My Dog Is Buried"

The Doc Doctor takes a look behind the success of Israeli Producer and Director Nir Keinan's documentary This Is Where My Dog Is Buried. He describes the mistakes he made and the smart moves that ultimately led to the financing of the film. Also, check out the Doc Doctor's previous Anatomy columns.

About this column: Many filmmakers ponder in anguish, How do other people—celebrated people—do it? Am I taking too long to make this documentary? Does everybody spend as much money as I am spending, or am I spending too little? And when filmmakers share their lessons learned in interviews in the glossy trade magazines, their tales seem to follow the arc of otherworldy heroes rather than real documentary makers, i.e. human beings like you and me. So each month, the Doc Doctor will go out into the world (this real world) of filmmakers who are successful and find out how they made it. The "Anatomy of a Film Column" is a chance to learn from filmmakers' hits and misses in real life examples. —Fernanda Rossi, story consultant a.k.a. the Documentary Doctor

Beyond Bollywood

The new, new Indian cinema

And there are so many stories to tell, too many, such an excess of intertwined lives events miracles places rumors, so dense a commingling of the improbable and mundane!

— Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children

"Gefilte Fish" Trailer

Tribeca Film Festival 2009


Tribeca Film Festival 2009

Blogging Tribeca 2009: Interview with Shelly Kling-Yosef of "Gefilte Fish."

A still from "Gefilte Fish," which screened at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival. Photo by Shlomi Yosef.

Shelly Kling-Yosef's Gefilte Fish (watch the trailer) tells the story of a young woman torn between her pre-nuptial family tradition to kill and prepare gefilte fish versus her sympathy for the live carp swimming in her bathtub. Kling-Yosef, who grew up in Haifa and graduated from the Sam Spiegel Film & Television School in Jerusalem, produced the film in Israel. Here she talks with The Independent about the making of her short film Gefilte Fish which screened at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival.

Shelly Kling-Yosef's Gefilte Fish tells the story of a young woman torn between her pre-nuptial family tradition to kill and prepare gefilte fish versus her sympathy for the live carp swimming in her bathtub. Although an uniquely Jewish story, the film's characters, comedy and poignancy transcend the boundaries of language and culture.

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