Elefant, Lior: Israeli Women Filmmakers’ Activism in Israel in the 21st Century

In recent years we witness an increase in the percentage of feature films directed by women in Israel. From one or two feature films a year until 2000, to almost a third of the films in 2016, and almost 20% of the films in the last three years. This increase in numbers has led film critics and others to declare an “Israeli Female Wave” – a term which implies an arbitrary phenomenon, without roots or historical base, and framing of the films made by women as a specific genre.

In this presentation, I argue that this is not the case. In a male-oriented gendered industry, where men control the significant recourses, receive more considerable funds, and outnumber women on the set, I argue that women filmmakers are social agents, influencing the field and not only influenced by it. This presentation deals with Israeli women filmmakers’ activism: creating organizations and institutions, networking, and other various initiatives to promote their status in the industry battle existing power-relations, challenging gate-keepers, creating leadership, and maybe even a movement.

The research field dealing with women in the film industry is vast, but it is mostly European and western-centered, and never before dealt with the Israeli case. Judging by recent years, there is much to explore. In this presentation, I aim to embark on this empowering quest, creat roots, and challenge the current atmosphere.