FESTIVALS AND AWARDS
- Special Mention - Jerusalem Film Festival 2009
- IDFA Amsterdam 2009
- Munich International Documentary Film Festival 2010
- Krakow Film Festival 2010
Social acceptance in modern Israel depends largely on one's military service. Troubled youth—particularly those convicted of misdemeanor crimes—are not drafted into the army; thus preventing them from overcoming the past and integrating into mainstream society. Today, however, the army has a new program, conceived to give these young people one last chance. Their commanders are young women from very different backgrounds, who often find themselves on a collision course with their charges. But as this film shows, there are also very touching moments as these young people—commanders and recruits—meet for the very first time.
Born in Cairo, Egypt, in 1951, Dan Setton studied film in London. His films combine meticulous direction and carefully crafted interviews with intriguing, otherwise inaccessible individuals. The results are penetrating insights into the two worlds that shape his own identity as an Israeli: the dilemmas and horrors of the Holocaust, and for the past decade, the intricacies of the Middle East conflict. Often intensely personal, they are also of unusual journalistic quality. In 2002 this rare combination received official recognition when his film SHATTERED DREAMS OF PEACE received the Peabody Award for Broadcast Journalism. Setton's Peabody Award followed an International Emmy in 2000 for his film KAPO. He was the first and so far only Israeli director to win this award. Nevertheless, he managed to repeat this achievement when received a second Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Direction for his 2003 film IN THE NAME OF GOD, about the phenomenon of suicide bombers within radical Islam. In some ways SHATTERED DREAMS OF PEACE was a precursor to Setton's current project. In it he went behind the scenes to document the struggling peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, and how the hope that they instilled in both peoples were shattered by the stubborn intransigence of their leaders. In his current project Setton is "picking up the pieces," and describing how a new generation of leaders, supported by the common folk, are learning from their mistakes and recreating an environment of hope. It is only inevitable that two films he made along the way continued to depict the collapse of dreams and the rise of desperation. The ominously titled YEARS OF BLOOD (2007) describes the consequences of the bitter impasse reached between the parties. In an interview with Charlie Rose, Dan Setton explained the motivation behind his earlier works: "I like to go into dark places in the human soul with a torch light and shed some light there," he said. Then he continued, "I like to pick up things that people do that are beyond the ordinary." After dozens of films delving into the darkest recesses of the human soul as expressed through conflict and hatred, Setton is at a turning point in his career. He wants the world to know that the "things that people do that are beyond the ordinary" can also offer great hope. Even in the most turbulent times, ordinary people can make extraordinary choices that can and do make a difference. Itzik Lerner