Young filmmakers from the United States, Mexico, Italy, Austria, the United Kingdom, Chile and Poland completed five short documentaries about Jerusalem personalities during the fifth annual Jerusalem Film Workshop.

Selected from hundreds of applicants, the 20 participants studied cinematography, editing, screenwriting, and directing skills while experiencing local culture for six weeks of the summer.

Their films documented Dr. Irit Kafka (“The Mother of Half of Jerusalem”), head of IVF at Bikkur Holim Hospital; Motti, a falafel vendor on Rehov HaNevi’im (Prophets Street); Yehudit, an ultra-Orthodox artist working in community outreach; Miriam, an evangelical Christian; and a pair of boxers, one Jewish and one Arab. All five documentaries premiered at the Jerusalem Film Festival.

Award-winning short filmmaker Jonathan Lan, a JWF participant from Mexico City, said: “When you do a documentary, you experience the place, you take a real taste of its people. So for me, to do it in such a mysterious city, it’s having so many magical elements and putting them into a film. You make new friends from all around the world, you meet local characters, you meet professional mentors who are so experienced and so devoted to you. I think there is no better way to learn.”

Jerusalem Film Workshop participants at the premiere of their documentaries. Photo: courtesy

The workshop is run by noted Israeli filmmakers, film editors, cinematographers and directors such as Gal Greenspan, Roi Kurland, Adi Bar Yossef and Maya Fischer of Greenproductions Israel.

This year’s JWF was supported by Onward Israel, the New Fund for Cinema and Television, The Jerusalem Film and TV fund, The Morris & Rosalind Goodman Family Foundation, Jewish Federations of Canada – UIA, Everline Group, Manny Margules and United King Films.