The documentary film, Strangers No More, about a Tel Aviv elementary school, took home the Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject. The film follows a group of students from 48 countries at the Bialik-Rogozin School, run by Karen Tal, which ISRAEL21c featured in September last year.
Many of the pupils escaped genocide, war and hunger to arrive in Israel at a school where “no child is a stranger.”
The American documentary focuses on several of the children as they acclimatize to their new lives and attempt to put their suffering behind them. The school provides support for these children, the majority of them from the lowest socio-economic sectors of Israeli society.
The film was directed and produced by Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon.
“Together, the bond between teacher and student, and amongst the students themselves, enables them to create new lives in this exceptional community,” they wrote on the film’s official site.
Other short documentaries up for the prize at the 83rd Academy Awards were Killing in the Name, Poster Girl, Sun Come Up and The Warriors of Qiugang.
In related news, Israeli born Natalie Portman won the best actress Academy Award for her role as an unhinged ballerina in Black Swan. The 29-year-old triumphed over four-time nominee Annette Bening for The Kids Are All Right, previous Oscar winner Nicole Kidman for Rabbit Hole, Jennifer Lawrence for Winter’s Bone, and Michelle Williams for Blue Valentine.