DocAviv is a rare opportunity in Tel Aviv to see a great selection of both Israeli and international documentaries often attended by the film makers themselves. The festival started Thursday May 2nd and goes through until Saturday night, May 11th. Most of the movies are in Hebrew or English and if not have Hebrew and  English subtitles with only a few exceptions. There are a wide range of topics covered ranging from romantic (Handa Handa 4) to tragic , political (TPB AFK) to social (House of Fun), musical (Oscar winning Searching for Sugarman) to dramas (Super Women) and lighter (Dancing in Jaffa) to darker (The Lab).

The venue for 2013's DocAviv, the Cinematheque, also known as the Doron Cinema Center

The venue for 2013’s DocAviv, the Cinematheque, also known as the Doron Cinema Center

Films are showing all day and evenings at the famed Cinematheque in Tel Aviv at 2 HaArba’a Street on the corner of Carlebach off the southern.end of Ibn Gvirol so its very accessible by bus from within Tel Aviv or if coming in from out of town with plenty of good and great restaurants nearby. At the Cinematheque, also known as the Doron Cinema Center) showtimes start at 10am and until 10PM at three different screens in intimate theaters ideal for talks with many of the film makers after the screening. Most of the movies are being only screened once or twice during the one week long festival so there’s an opportunity to attend scores of films with about a selection of twenty different films each day.

I attended TPB AFK , last night, about the literal and figurative trials and tribulations of the three Swedish founders of Pirate Bay and the file sharing movement as they went through prosecution for various “piracy” crimes in Sweden. The movie was one of the best crafted documentaries I’ve attended in memory and it’s a great courtroom thriller worthy of a James Grisham novel but with no actors. It’s happening to real people  and the drama is still playing out on the world stage today including “the Arab Spring” and the controversy and culture involving Wikileaks . The three protagonists aren’t only at the center of a world changing social evolution on how we consume information and culture but are each vividly portrayed characters you can either love or hate and often inject their own gallows humor into their court room escapades as they are threatened with prison terms, financial ruin or political exile from their homeland Sweden.

The film was introduced by the Swedish Ambassador to Israel and a discussion followed the film with the film maker fielding questions from the audience.

The film inspired me to want to research the topic of file sharing/piracy further for a future article and work on a review as well as that night after the screening go out for sushi nearby with the Swedish film maker, the cultural attache from the Swedish Embassy and a few charming Israeli women in tow. It’s one facet of Israeli life I love is that people are so accessible that aren’t as accessible many most places overseas.

Scanning the remaining films there’s so many I want to attend and hate myself for getting a late start and find myself sad that as a wine writer, which i write mostly about, there’s a wine festival I’m attending two nights in Herzliya at the Marina (oh, the sacrifices I must endure). I’d be surprised and disappointed if I don’t get back to see at least one more film of the many that looked so tempting to attend.

For further information and to check out what films are showing when, go to docaviv.co.il or just stop by the Cinematheque for a catalog explaining each film in Hebrew and English.