A group of Arab and Jewish women attend a video workshop at a small town community center run by
Rona, a young filmmaker from Tel Aviv, who teaches them to document their lives.
As each student shares footage from her home life with the others, their beliefs and preconceptions are
challenged and barriers are broken down.
The group comes together as mothers, daughters, wives, and women living in a world designed to keep
them apart, forming an empowering and lasting bond as they learn more about each other... and themselves.
Inspired by writer/director Orit Fouks Rotem’s own experiences as a teacher, Cinema Sabaya presents
a deft and heartfelt portrait of art’s capacity to unite disparate communities, moving effortlessly
between the gravity of their conversations and the genuine joy generated by this unlikely group of friends.
Winner of five Ophir Awards including Best Picture and Best Director and Israel’s Official Submission to
the 95th Academy Awards.
I drew inspiration from the film five years ago when my mother (who works as Hadera's Mayor's GenderAffairs Consultant)
took a part in a group of Arab and Jewish women who learned photography together.
It was an enrichment course that gave them feminine empowerment and brought their hearts closer.
The platform of videography course is the perfect window for me to gain a look into the world of the women in my film.
Following up to the writing of the script I initiated a number of courses for women, Jewish and Arab, in cities like
Acres and Givat Haviva.
I was exposed to so many different worlds of women with gripping life stories who forgot that they can, and deserve to, dream.
I saw up-close what the camera allows them to do and how seeing themselves on the big screenaffects them –
how deeply they can see into themselves.
In the casting process we chose women that aren't, mostly, professional actresses and we chose those who had a thematically
similar personal stories with likeness to the characters they'll embody.
One of the things that incited me during the writing process was the purpose to include in my first film
many women from different backgrounds and to show their life in their full complexity, pausing on the difference and
similarities between Arab and Jewish women.
The themes that arise from the women's stories aren't highly dramatical, in a sense of life and death, but they resurface
daily dilemmas that preoccupy almost every women's mind – financial freedom, motherhood, sexual assault,
self-realization and more.