Israel's 'The Gatekeepers' Wins Cinema for Peace Prize

The Oscar-nominated film has been declared the most valuable documentary at the Berlin International Film Festival.

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The Israeli film “The Gatekeepers” has won the Cinema for Peace prize for most valuable documentary; in the film, six former heads of the Shin Bet security service talk about their moral dilemmas. The prize was awarded Saturday at the Berlin International Film Festival.

Three documentaries that competed with “The Gatekeepers” will face it again in another two weeks for an Oscar: the Swedish-British coproduction “Searching for Sugar Man,” the American documentary “How to Survive a Plague” and the Israeli-Palestinian coproduction, “5 Broken Cameras,” directed by Guy Davidi and Emad Burnat.

Another Israeli documentary was nominated for the Cinema for Peace award: Ra’anan Alexandrowicz’s “The Law in These Parts,” so three Israeli films competed in this category.

In “The Gatekeepers,” director Dror Moreh gets six former Shin Bet heads to talk on camera: Avraham Shalom, Carmi Gillon, Jacob Perry, Ami Ayalon, Avi Dichter and Yuval Diskin. They discuss the Shin Bet’s key conflicts over the years, its relationship with Israel’s political leaders and its moral dilemmas.

The Cinema for Peace Foundation was established in 2008 to bring together celebrities from cinema, politics and society. The foundation seeks to increase awareness of human rights issues; it strives to fight inequality and human-rights violations through film.

The board of judges this year was chaired by the Dalai Lama. Previous chairpeople included Angelina Jolie, Sean Penn, Robert De Niro, Leonardo DiCaprio and Nicole Kidman.

On Friday, the Israeli drama “Rock the Casbah” was shown at the festival. The delegation – which included the film’s director, Yariv Horowitz, the cast and the producers – stayed on to answer questions from the audience.

The film, which takes place during the first intifada in Gaza, tells the story of soldiers stationed at an observation post on a rooftop. As with "The Gatekeepers," the moral dilemmas abound.

'The Gatekeepers' producer Philippa Kowarsky, left, and director Dror Moreh.Credit: Nir Kafri