Fast-Turnaround Israel Attacks Docs Land in Cannes

A pair of documentaries about the recent Hamas attacks in Israel made headlines in Cannes this week.

The ongoing strife in Israel and Gaza loomed over Cannes as the global media business convened for MIPCOM. Lucy Smith, director of the market at RX France, addressed the warfare in her opening remarks introducing the week’s first Media Mastermind keynote, delivered by Warner Bros. International’s Gerhard Zeiler.

“MIPCOM Cannes is a global market and a global community with delegates from more than 100 countries,” Smith said. “Around 70 delegates from Israel were due to be attending. Due to the devastating conflict in Israel and Gaza, the majority have been unable to join us. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and with all of the innocent victims in Israel and Gaza following last week’s horrific terrorist attacks. RX Global is supporting humanitarian relief across the region. This week, your security is our priority, as always. In light of the recent events and with France elevating its national security levels, we have also elevated all of our security measures. Our aim is always to do so with minimum inconvenience to you. We appreciate your cooperation.”

As the market opened, Israel’s SIPUR revealed it had partnered with HOT Channel 8 and HSCC on a documentary about the Hamas attack on the international Tribe of Nova’s Supernova Music Festival in Kibbutz Re’im. That film, from director Yariv Mozer, is set to be released over the coming year and will feature interviews with investigators, soldiers and journalists. “I see it as my duty as a documentary filmmaker to bring to the world the testimonies and horrific stories from the survivors of this slaughter.”

SIPUR CEO Emilio Schenker added, “We have moved quickly to make this documentary because we believe it is imperative to do everything in our power to shine a light on the greatest evil committed against our people since the Holocaust. The Supernova Music Festival must be seen and understood in its entirety to truly understand the larger meaning of the unspeakable crimes against humanity that occurred there. The world must never forget.”

Award-winning Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion and its partners had a team on the ground by the Monday after the horrific attack on the festival. It is prepping a 45-minute special, One Day in October, that is set to air on ZDF and ARTE within the next two weeks, filmmakers Duki Dror and Reinhardt Beetz told TV Real.

The team behind One Day in October, which LEONINE Studios-owned Gebrueder Beetz is distributing, also includes Yossi Bloch and Noam Pinchas. Beetz, CEO of Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion, has worked on several projects with Dror, an award-winning filmmaker whose credits include Inside the Mossad. Dror, who is based in Israel, was able to have a team on-site within days of the attacks to speak to survivors, including the American DJ who organized the music festival. “We are the only ones on the ground,” Beetz told TV Real. “The 45-minute special in the works is just the beginning, with a limited series and longer production being developed to take a deep dive into the horrific attacks by Hamas.”

“Our documentary instincts told us to start filming the survivors and get testimony from them, continue getting the social media [footage] and start putting it together as soon as possible,” Dror said.

Beetz added, “We have sent out film crews to document this event as it unfolds in real time. It is a major international story that will echo for years ahead.”

For Dror, it’s been an emotionally draining experience. “I had some regrets two or three days ago,” he says. “I thought, I cannot emotionally do this. It’s too much to face these traumatized people. It’s very difficult for us to do that. Many people would not want to do it; we’re trying to be very careful as we get the testimonies. We’re conscious of how we conduct these interviews. [Recounting] what happened is part of their way of healing.”

Dror and his team have been busy sourcing footage from the attacks while also interviewing survivors. “It’s not usual for documentary filmmakers to be in this process gathering so much material and shooting it out to the world.”