Israel is often seen through the lens of the Israeli-Palestinean conflict, or through the stories of the Holocaust.
Shai Ginsburg wants to change that, to show what life is really like for people in Israel. So he created a film series to showcase true stories from the region.
Ginsburg is Duke University assistant professor of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies and his creation is the Second Annual Israeli Documentary Film Series. It runs through March 8, 2014. Ginsburg joined Frank Stasio to talk about the films he's gathered. Here are some highlights:
Lod Between Hope and Despair
Israeli Forum for Documentary Filmmakers: Best Television Documentary Series
"A ten minute drive from the bustling and satiated metropolitan Tel-Aviv, is a place of failure and fear, teeming with crime, violence and drugs. A neglected back yard in the heart of Israel. We follow the attempts to save Lod through the stories of a number of protagonists, Jews and Arabs, whose lives and professions personify the contrasting faces of the city."
Chronicling A Crisis
"Award-winning director Amos Kollek takes a penetrating look in the mirror, at the addiction that is filmmaking, after the failure of his film Happy End. He chronicles his family from 2004 to the present, especially his conflicted relationship with his father, the mythical mayor of Jerusalem. Intertwined with Amos's story is the story of Robin, a NY prostitute who Amos meets on his quest to fund his next film. Both struggle with their highs and lows trying to find some harmony to help them proceed to the future."
"Sara writes a harsh blog about the bleak lives of Haredi (Ultra-Orthodox) women. Shulamit is an independent photographer who documents violent incidents on segregated busses on which women are required to seat at the back. Both of them were banned by their communities because of their desire to live normal, unsuppressed lives. These young women operate entirely alone and pay a very high price for violating the number-one rule of Haredi society: "Never air a dirty laundry in public."
"As they expose the violence of Haredi fanatics, acting in the name of modesty, they are punished by persecution and vilification. What will happen to them when they can no longer bear being shunned by their own family and friends? Which way will they choose? Where will they go? Black Bus, Soreret, tells the story of their singlehanded and courageous attempts to document and lead a change in the Haredi Society from which they have fled."