Soldier on the Roof

Soldier on the Roof

Synopsis

In the West-bank city of Hebron, a major holy place to both Jews and Muslims, some 800 extremist Jewish settlers live in the midst of a Palestinian population of over 150,000. In this tense situation, where the military watches day & night over the Jewish community from city rooftops, all foreign media are mistrusted and access almost impossible. Over a period of three years, Dutch Israeli visual-anthropologist Esther Hertog lived with regularity amongst the settlers, and was slowly allowed to film their lives from within their community.
After winning two separate competitions at IDFA 2012 (Dutch doc & First appearance), the Jury commented: ‘This unique documentary accomplishes a seemingly innocent and lighthearted approach that manages to both relate the daily lives of Jewish settlers, and their belief system, and shed light on the lives of the Palestinians surrounding them. ‘Soldier on the Roof’ has captured unique scenes of the settlers real, sometimes even surreal daily life, by showing the absurdity of choices where logic and reality are overtaken by dogma and entrenched hatred.’

After winning two separate competitions at IDFA 2012 (Dutch doc & First appearance), the Jury commented:

‘This unique documentary accomplishes a seemingly innocent and lighthearted approach that manages to both relate the daily lives of Jewish settlers, and their belief system, and shed light on the lives of the Palestinians surrounding them. ‘Soldier on the Roof’ has captured unique scenes of the settlers real, sometimes even surreal daily life, by showing the absurdity of choices where logic and reality are overtaken by dogma and entrenched hatred.’

Credit list

Camera, sound and research: Esther Hertog
Editor: Danniel Danniel NCE
Creative Producer: Paul King
Producer: Sarphati Media – Harry de Winter, Gijs van de Westelaken en Erica Reijmerink
In co-production with: VPRO television, Backlight
Second Editor: Nir Nadler
Assistant production: Chaja Hertog
Distribution: Ruth Diskin films

Watch the full version of Soldier on the Roof:

• Video on demand at IDFA (click HERE)
• Or buy the DVD from the director for €27 including sending costs (send her an email)

Awards:

IDFA Award for Best First Appearance | 2012IDFA Dioraphte Award for Best Dutch Documentary | 2012

Rai International Ethnographic Film Festival | Commendation for the RAI Film Prize | 2013

DocAviv | Special Jury Mention Award for International Film | 2013
‘For its gentle and extremely thoughtful filmmaking we give the special mention to a film which reminds us of the amazing and horrific human ability not to see’.

Sole Luna Film Festival | The Best Direction Prize | Palermo, Italy | 2013

HumanDoc Film Festival | Audience Award | Warsaw, Poland | 2013

Jewish Motifs Film festival | Golden Warsaw Phoenix award | Warsaw, Poland | 2014

Competitions:

Nominated for Gouden Kalf | Best Long Documentary | Nederlands Film Festival | Utrecht, Netherlands | October 2013

Nominated for: Banff – Rockie Award Nomination |Investigative & Current Affairs Programs category | June 2013

Official selection – The 2013 International Emmy® Awards Competition |Current Affairs category | October 2013

Film Festivals:

January 16 – 26, 2014 | Palm Beach Jewish Film Festival | Florida, USA.
December 10 -15, 2013 | Stalker International Human Rights Film Festival | Moscow, Russia.
November 28 & December 1, 2013 | HumanDoc International Film Festival| Warsaw Poland.
October 4 – 8, 2013 | Taiwan International Ethnographic Film Festival | Taiwan, Taipei.
September 27 & October 3, 2013 | Nederlands Film Festival | Utrecht, Netherlands | Gouden Kalf & Debute Competition.
September 16 – 22 | SoleLuna Film festival | Palermo, Italy | International Competition.
August 31 – September 6, 2013| Lusaka International Film & Music Festival | Lusaka, Zambia.
August 1, 3 & 4, 2013 | San Francisco Jewish Film Festival | USA.
August 2013 | Lemesos International Documentary Film Festival | Cyprus.
June 16 2013 | 13th RAI International Festival of Ethnographic Film | Edinburgh, UK.
June 10, 2013 | FilmIsrael | Het Ketelhuis, Amsterdam.
June 2, 2013 | IDFF Cronograf | Moldova.
May 27 & 29, 2013 | 53. Krakow Film Festival | Krakow, Poland.
May 15 – 24, 2013 | Cannes Film Festival, Amsterdam’s Showcase at Doc Corner.
May -June, 2013 | Human Rights Arts & Film Festival | Melbourne, Sydney, Alice Springs, Canberra, Brisbane and Perth, Australia.
May 8 – 19, 2013 | The Documentary Edge International Film Festival | Wellington, New Zealand | Official Competition.
May 8 – 15, 2013 | DocFest | Munich, Germany | Official selection DOK.panorama.
May 2 – 11, 2013 | DocAviv | Tel Aviv, Israel | Official International Competition.
April 10 – 21, 2013 | The Documentary Edge International Film Festival | Auckland, New Zealand | Official Competition.
April 3 – 8, 2013 | Middle East Now film festival | Florence, Italy.
March 22 – 24, 2013 | Movies that Matter Film festival | Den Haag, the Netherlands.
27 February – 3 March, 2013 | Vera International Film Festival | Finland.
November, 2012 | IDFA | Amsterdam the Netherlands | Official Competition First Appearance & Dutch Documentary.

TV Broadcast (50min version):

  • Norway | Norway Public Broadcaster | September 14, 2013
  • Germany | Spiegel TV | June 2013.
  • Israel | YesDocu | 19 May 2013.
  • Netherlands | 19 November 2012, Tegenlicht, VPRO, NL2, 21:00.

Purchased by:

  • Harvard University Library
  • Yale Judaica Library
  • Duke Middle Eastern Studies Library

The filmmaker experience:

In 2009 Esther Hertog decided to make ‘Soldier on the Roof’. It took three and a half years and five extended visits to Hebron, a hundred and fourteen hours of film material, and extreme determination to make this award-winning documentary. ‘Soldier on the Roof’ is Esther’s first major production.

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