HBO Buys Israeli Documentary 'The Oslo Diaries'

The film describes the activity behind the scenes of the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. The U.S. cable network will air the film to mark the 25th anniversary of the Oslo Accords

Yitzhak Rabin, Bill Clinton and Yasser Arafat on white White House lawn, September  13, 1993.
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The U.S. cable network HBO has purchased the Israeli documentary “The Oslo Diaries,” directed by Mor Loushy and Daniel Sivan. The film, provides a behind-the-scenes look at the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian in the early 1990s, and is based on personal diaries of senior Palestinian, Israeli and American officials who participated in the peace talks. The film presents one of the last important interviews given by former President Shimon Peres before his death.

The network will air the film to mark the 25th anniversary of the Oslo Accords, at the same time as it is aired on Israel’s Yes Docu channel, which supported its production.

“The Oslo Diaries,” which was produced by Hilla Medalia, was filmed in Israel, the Palestinian Authority, the United States, Norway, Great Britain and France. It includes archival materials which have not yet been publicized. Sivan and Loushy chose to shoot part of the film with professional actors, who played the people who participated in the talks.

“We’re proud and excited by the warm embrace that the film is receiving from the audience at the festival [the Sundance Film Festival], and of course from the HBO network, which has purchased the rights to the film in the United States,” said the filmmakers to Haaretz. “‘The Oslo Diaries’ tells about a peace process, but it isn’t a film about failure — it’s about hope for a different future. The platform provided by HBO will enable us to reach millions of viewers, and I have great hopes that the film will lead to an important and necessary dialogue, just at a time when it seems that the two sides have given up.”

The film was screened at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, which ended on Sunday, and received enthusiastic reviews. According to The Hollywood Reporter: “Even if there’s something a bit queasy about this blurring of fact and fiction, the film does have more energy and thrust than a ‘purer’ approach might have offered. Handsome exterior shots meant to represent wintry Oslo (actually filmed in Kiev) make a neat contrast to the arid landscape of Israel. And the skillful editing by the two co-directors keeps the film driving forward. The music by Francois Jolin adds both suspense and melancholy.”

Guy Lavie, the director of Yes Docu, said that “Twenty-five years after the last significant peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, the time has come to tell the story to whose name so many slogans have become attached. We’re pleased about the great interest the film is arousing worldwide, and the fact that it will be broadcast on HBO is no small thing. But as far as we’re concerned, this project was created first and foremost by Israeli filmmakers, for an Israeli channel, and for the Israeli audience, in order to remind all of us here what was, what went wrong and what could have been.”