An Oscar-nominated Israeli documentary won a prestigious award at the Berlin International Film Festival on Saturday.
“The Gatekeepers,” which looks into the shadowy and complex world of Israel’s Shin Bet security service, took the Cinema for Peace award for the best documentary at a gala ceremony in the Waldorf Astoria hotel in the German capital.
The film, by director Dror Moreh, beat rival Israeli films “5 Broken Cameras” from Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi and “The Law in These Parts” by Ra’anan Alexandrowicz, as well as international competition from “Searching for Sugar Man” and “How to Survive a Plague.”
The annual award is presented by the Cinema for Peace Foundation, which promotes film as a medium for social change. Formed after the 9/11 terror attacks, the foundation focuses on humanitarian issues, inequality, and human right violations.
The Dalai Lama chaired the panel of judges that picked this year’s winning film. Previous panels have been led by Angelina Jolie, Sean Penn, Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro and Nicole Kidman.
“The Gatekeepers” is based on interviews with six former Shin Bet directors and probes the difficulties, conflicts of interest, and dilemmas that the men faced during their terms at the helm of Israel’s internal security service.
Earlier in January “The Gatekeepers” and “Five Broken Cameras” were both announced as candidates for an award at the 85th Oscar ceremony to be held on February 24. The news came less than a week after “The Gatekeepers” won the best Nonfiction Award from the American National Society of Film Critics.