Ran Tal’s moving documentary “1341 Frames of Love and War” has won three key awards at DocAviv and been sold to seven territories by sales company Reservoir Docs.
Tal took home the best director prize while Nilli Feller snagged the editor award. In addition, the doc won the Kedar Foundation Award for a film inspired by Israel’s history and society, which includes a $15,000 cash prize.
Since its world premiere at the Berlinale Special sidebar of the Berlin Film Festival, Reservoir Docs, which handles world sales excluding North America, Israel, Greece and Portugal, has sold the doc to several territories, including Non Stop (Nordic), Tanweer Films (Greece) and Nos Lusomundo Audiovisuais (Portugal).
A collage of stills taken by Israel’s most renowned war photographer Micha Bar-Am, the doc is produced by Tal and Sarig Peker. Made up almost entirely of archival images taken by Bar-Am over five decades, the doc is steered by Tal’s conversations with Bar-Am and his wife Orna, whose prodigious archival skills have helped to preserve her husband’s memory.
In an interview with Variety prior to the doc’s world premiere at Berlinale, Tal said: “Orna is very important to the Bar-Am project. Micha is the great artist and has been everywhere, but she is totally part of the game. She was always there: She was picking the photographs, she is the one that is creating the exhibitions many times, responsible for catalogues.” She has strong opinions about the events and ethical issues, so “it was important to have her voice and use these two characters to build new layers” within the film.
Tal added: “It is about Micha, it is about photography, it’s about war, it’s about post-trauma, memory, age,” but the Israeli experience and history is also present. “It’s not about Israel, but Israel is always there.”
Bar-Am worked for the prestigious Magnum photo agency, founded by Robert Capa and Henri Cartier-Bresson among others, and his iconic photos were featured in some of the most prominent publications in the world, including the New York Times, Paris Match and Stern.
The Israeli premiere of “Frames” took place in DocAviv, which ran May 26–June 5, with the 91-year-old Bar-Am attending. It is screening in competition at the 62nd Krakow Int’l Film Festival and has been announced as a U.K. premiere in the official selection of the upcoming Sheffield DocFest.
In addition, a major art exhibition, “The Last Photograph: Ran Tal after Micha Bar-Am,” is opening at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art on June 17 thru December this year. Curated by Dr. Noam Gal, it is dedicated to the transformation of Bar-Am’s photographic archive into a film and a film installation. Different episodes from the film will screen simultaneously across nine large-scale viewing stations in an expansive gallery space.
“1341 Frames of Love and War” is backed by YES Docu, Makor Fund, Mifaal HaPaiis, and supported by the Jewish Film Institute (San Francisco) and The Other Israel (New York).
Doc is slated for a theatrical release in Israel on June 23.