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.’
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
• During IDFA 2020 (18/11 – 06/12/2020) you can watch the film for free (click HERE)
• Or buy the DVD from the director for €27 including sending costs (send me an email)
2012 | IDFA Award for Best First Appearance
2012 | IDFA Dioraphte Award for Best Dutch Documentary
2013 | Rai International Ethnographic Film Festival | Commendation for the RAI Film Prize
2013 | DocAviv Special Jury Mention Award for International Film
2013 | Sole Luna Film Festival | The Best Direction Prize | Palermo, Italy
2013 | HumanDoc Film Festival | Audience Award | Warsaw, Poland
2014 | Jewish Motifs Film festival | Golden Warsaw Phoenix award | Warsaw, Poland
‘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’. 2013 | DocAviv
2013 | Nominated for Gouden Kalf | Best Long Documentary | Nederlands Film Festival | Utrecht, Netherlands
2013 | Nominated for: Banff – Rockie Award Nomination |Investigative & Current Affairs Programs category
2013 | Official selection – The 2013 International Emmy® Awards Competition | Current Affairs category
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.
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.