Advocate by Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Bellaiche wins the Art Cinema Award at the 10th Loft Film Fest
The International Confederation of Arthouse Cinemas is proud to announce that the Art Cinema Award at the 10th Loft Film Fest goes to Advocate by Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Bellaïche.
Israeli, Canada, Switzerland, 2019, 110 minutes
Director: Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Bellaïche
Director of photography: Philippe Bellaïche
Script: Rachel Leah Jones
Production: Close Up Films, RTS – Radio Télévision Suisse, SRG SSR, Home Made Docs, Productions Megafun, Film Option
International Sales: Cinephil
Israeli human-rights lawyer Lea Tsemel is a force that won’t be deterred. Having defended Palestinians against a host of criminal charges in Israeli courts for nearly five decades, she is a staunch supporter of compassion within the court system. Frequently subjected to harsh criticism in the press and in the public view, Tsemel remains optimistically steadfast in her belief that justice can be served.
The ADVOCATE is a striking portrait of Israeli Human Rights lawyer Lea Tsemel and the judicial system in which she works. The film refuses hagiography, acknowledging the difficulty and disappointment of Tsemel’s controversial commitment to defending Palestinians accused of terrorist crimes. In creating a film about this self-described “angry and optimistic” woman, filmmakers Rachel Leah Jones and Phillippe Bellaïche make the compelling decision to sideline easy answers and courtroom victories in favor of patiently portraying the hard work and conflict inherent in the pursuit of justice. Barred from filming in the courtroom the filmmakers focus on Tsemel’s meetings with her clients and their families, capturing both her brusque manner and the lives, hopes, and anguish experienced by individuals awaiting verdicts for their sons and sisters. THE ADVOCATE is a thoughtful and necessary film for our times and will likely inspire meaningful conversations about trauma, displacement, inter-generational conflict and the tensions between the ideal of justice and reality of judicial action.
The jury was composed of:
Lucie Morvan, Yorck Kinogruppe, Germany