section Feature Film Competition

Cinema Sabaya

  • Orit Fouks Rotem
  • IL/ BE
  • 2021
  • 92

“Why do we all have to speak Hebrew?” asks the youngest participant of a film workshop for four Jewish and four Arab women, and in doing so addresses a fault line characteristic of even the most well-intentioned of dialogue projects. In this, a cinematic portrait of a difficult rapprochement between Jewish and Arab women, Orit Fouks Rotem blends humorous entertainment with an undogmatic seriousness.

In the northern Israeli city of Hadera, Rona, a young filmmaker from Tel Aviv, is tasked with encouraging eight women from various social backgrounds to open up and express themselves via the medium of film. The women proceed to capture their everyday and family surroundings on film. In a documentary-like video diary style, they address daily struggles and arguments with their husbands or children, yet also talk of hopes and dreams. At the weekly meetings between these Jewish and Arab women this leads to both rapprochement as well as conflicts, no less when it comes to topics such as terrorism/the struggle for freedom, dependence on/independence from men, the hijab or how best to raise a child.

15.6. 17.00 Delphi Lux, followed by a discussion with Orit Samuel and Itay Marom, actress and director of photography
16.6. 21.00 Thalia Babelsberg, followed by a discussion with Orit Samuel, actress


original title Cinema Sabaya

international title Cinema Sabaya

german title Cinema Sabaya

JFBB section Feature Film Competition

  • director Orit Fouks Rotem

country/countries IL/ BE

year 2021

duration 92

Orit Fouks Rotem

BIO Orit was born in Israel in 1983. She graduated from the Jerusalem Sam Spiegel School with honors in 2012, winning her class’ ‘Promising Director’ Award. Her diploma film "Staring Match" was screened in festivals all over the world, including: San Sebastian, Montreal, Munich and won the Grand Prix award at the Hangzhao Festival in China, Best Screenplay Award at Tel Aviv Student Film Festival, and an Honorable Mention at the Jerusalem Film Festival. After graduating, Orit co-directed a documentary series for the Israeli Channel YES Doco; worked as a film facilitator and director for Israeli NGO, making films with at-risk youth; worked as a filmmaking teacher of groups of women in Acres and Givat Haviva. She also conducted research for a documentary by the Oscar-award-winning director Alex Gibney, and wrote and directed two short fiction films – "You Remain Silent", that was a part of the Abraham Heffner tribute "Voice Over" and premiered in Sarajevo and Jerusalem Film Festival 2018 and The MOMA, and "Veil" that that was selected to various festivals around the world including The Oslo Short Film Festival, Jerusalem Film Festival and Brussels Short Film Festival. Cinema Sabaya is Orit’s debut feature film.