I got some good news over the weekend when an email arrived with news that my proposal for a talk had been selected by the organizers of the International Communal Studies Association conference, to be held late next June in Israel. My presentation will be titled “Representing Change on the Israeli Kibbutz” and will discuss how the controversial evolution of the kibbutz movement has been depicted by filmmakers from different perspectives.
I’ve already watched four recent kibbutz movies—three documentaries and one fictional comedy-drama—and I plan to order two more recent docs and view them before the conference. Coincidentally, the producers of one of these films, titled Keeping the Kibbutz, have just launched a new website to promote their film, as they complete post-production. It includes a trailer that gives a sneak peek of some of the kibbutzniks and their experiences.
I’m especially intrigued by Keeping the Kibbutz, as it centers on Kfar Giladi, a community on the opposite side of the Huleh Valley from Shamir. The footage and still photos from the film capture the beauty of the hilly landscape. One of the filmmakers was born on the kibbutz (his mother was a kibbutzniks, his father a Welsh volunteer) but moved to the U.S. when he was three. The film documents his return to the kibbutz and the gulf that now exists between the utopia his parents described and the privatized arrangements of the 21st-century community. Judging by the trailer, it has a great soundtrack, too. Congrats to all involved at Eidolon Films for nearing the end of this project.
I especially liked the description of their filmmaking philosophy on their website: “Eidolon Films specializes in character-driven documentaries that inspire, engage and inform. The individuals and communities we film are not simply subjects, but collaborators in the telling of their stories.” That should be the motto of literary journalists and creative nonfiction writers as well.