NIF Film Club: Death in the Terminal

28 July 2020

A thrilling reconstruction in so-called Rashomon style, with several eyewitnesses offering their own perspectives on a single event. On October 18, 2015, a terrorist started shooting at the bus terminal in the Israeli town of Be’er Sheva, killing an Israeli soldier. This detailed, minute-by-minute reconstruction reveals what happened in the crucial 18 minutes following the attack. Several eyewitnesses discuss the whirlwind of events and the emotions that swept them up. Their accounts and the footage from a variety of camera sources from a painstaking reconstruction of the drama that took place. Some of the images are fluid, sharp and detailed, while others are static and grainy. Other footage shot using mobile phones is just that: very mobile. The intricate editing combines it all to offer a surprisingly thorough account of the situation on the ground. In addition to presenting the facts, Death in the Terminal also raises questions. From which perspectives should you draw your conclusions in such an extreme situation? And, based on those conclusions, what actions should you take?

NIF Film Club discussed this film with directors Tali Shemesh and Asaf Sudri.

Watch the film at your own convenience: streaming it on Vimeo

photo of directors Tali Shemesh and Asaf Sudri

Tali Shemesh, Co-Director/Producer
Tali Shemesh is an award-winning director and producer whose critically-acclaimed documentaries have made her one of Israel’s most influential filmmakers. Her work—which combines sensitive, penetrating observation of human nature with uncompromising investigation and social critique—has earned her widespread recognition both at home and abroad.

Shemesh’s 2004 film, White Gold-Black Labor, exposed rampant corruption and worker exploitation following Israel’s privatization of Dead Sea resources. The investigative film won local and national awards and led to major reforms in the industry.

Shemesh’s next film, The Cemetery Club (2006), was theatrically released throughout Israel, Germany and Canada, and screened at festivals around the world (including Cannes Film Festival) and won numerous awards.

Shemesh began making documentaries after graduating from the Sam Spiegel Film and Television School in Jerusalem. Her early work included short investigative pieces for Israel’s leading TV news magazine, (the Israeli equivalent to CBS’s 60 Minutes) She has since made documentaries and produced several hard-hitting documentaries series (My Parents 2010).

Collaboration with filmmaker Asaf Sudry brought Shemesh and him to produce two other socially oriented TV documentary series –Awakening, (2011), which portrays various aspects of the social and economic uprising in the summer of 2011, and Disintegration (2013), a follow-up series about the failure of the former uprising.

Asaf Sudry, Co-Director/Producer
Asaf Sudry is a renowned Israeli director and producer, and an award-winning cinematographer (“Thirst”, 2004, “Fill the Void”, 2013). His camera work in various feature films have won many awards in Israel as well as in Europe, including the European Academy Award for best cinematography in 2013.

Born and raised in northern Israel, Sudry studied film and television at the Tel Aviv University and graduated in 1998. Ever since, he directed five critically acclaimed documentary films and two documentary television series, all dealing with burning social, moral and political issues in Israel. His film Strike (2005), tells the story of a group of factory workers who tried to form union, but were violently stopped by the factory owner. The film was almost banned, as the factory owner was a friend of the prime minister and tried to prevent its broadcasting.

Sudry’s interest in breaking stereotypes and taboos brought him to another controversial subject – a sensitive portrait of an ex-prisoner, who was accused of sex trafficking women for prostitution, and tries to rebuild his life against all odds. The Prisoner (2008) won a special jury prize, Doc Aviv international film festival.

Collaboration with filmmaker Tali Shemesh brought Sudry and her to produce two other socially oriented TV documentary series – Awakening (2011), which portrays various aspects of the social and economic uprising in the summer of 2011, and Disintegration (2013), a follow-up series about the failure of the former uprising.

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