The DocAviv Film Festival is Israel’s most prestigious film festival in terms of indie and documentary filmmaking, none others come close, might I dare to intervene myself and state that it’s on a Sundance and Tribeca level. This year I was invited to attend the festival for its entirety yet could manage to attend only one full day. That day made a huge impact on perspectives of film culture in Israel, my grasp of indie cinema and the importance of a well planned festival like DocAviv. My curriculum was composed of two emotionally burdened movies the first being The Happy Film by Stefan Sagmeister and the second LoveTrue by Alma Har’el.
The Happy Film by Stefan Sagmeister
Firstly, let me introduce designer Stefan Sagmeister. Sagmeister is a designer from Bergenz, Austria who has been focusing on the transcendence of happiness through different design mediums and had successful exhibition at MOCA about Happiness. In The Happy Film, Sagmeister goes through three methods happiness can be achieved which are: meditation, therapy and drugs (the pharmaceutical kind) and in his own vernacular “it’s a pain in the ass ; and this film won’t make you happy.” The whole film itself is a graphic design and filmographical orgasm, in the slightest sense. Everything from the scene cuts, to the translation of emotions into acting and the music fit together like IKEA furniture should. Sagmeister’s cynically Austrian outlook on life is something that caught my psyche and made me giggle, cry and gasp alongside the other attendees. The trials and tribulations Sagmeister undergoes in The Happy Film are vast and interesting.
LoveTrue by Alma Har’el
LoveTrue, is a film from Alma Har’el an Israeli filmmaker which dwells on the manifestation of love from its darker angle. The film contemplated several relationships from the “fringes” or “none-mainstream” people of western society such a young stripper from Alaska, a coconut farmer from Hawaii and a family practicing the Chrsitian gospel in New York City with a reverend “father” figure.
What stands out in Har’el’s filmmaking is her ability to transcend a eerie and hazy atmosphere like the whole thing was an over and under exposed film photograph through the lens of a Leica. Complimenting her visualizations is none other than Flying Lotus’ pixelated beats and moods, the soundtrack elevates the filmmaking to a dream-like scope in the contrary matter to Coppola’s.
DocAviv was an excellent experience in terms of film culture and festival vibes although my age brought down the average age of attendees by around three decades. Film nuts, creatives and director types were in attendance and not one phone rang during the films and no popcorn was chewed.