George Robinson writes that the Other Israel Film Festival is “melancholy, exhausted by the ossified position of the Israelis and their Palestinian neighbors” (“The Melancholy Israel Film Festival,” Nov. 4). Robinson my not have noticed it but our festival is not about the Palestinian neighbors but about the 1.7 million Arabs who are citizens of Israel.
Those Arab citizens might well be exhausted by the growing level of racism that is becoming acceptable in Israel, but that is not what you will see in the festival.
The young Arab boy in “Dolphin Boy,” who returns to his village after four years in the dolphin reef in Eilat, may be depressing to Robinson, who fails to see the love and warmth of the family that awaits him there. The failed relationship of “77 Steps,” far from being “melancholy,” is a strong step for its producer Ibtisan Marana. Our films are strong and engaging, and I am sorry if audiences will be put off by such cheap shots as deeming the festival “melancholy” and “depressing” instead of encouraging the readers to go see films that will broaden their understanding of present-day Israel. He also fails to mention the many panels and opportunities to meet film stars, directors and the people who occupy Israel’s social and cultural scene. Come, despite Mr. Robinson.
Manhattan The writer is founder of the Other Israel Film Festival.
Editor’s Note: The piece noted that the “tone” of a number of the films in the festival, not the festival itself, is “melancholy.” The review never used the word “depressing” to describe any of the films.