On the hilltop overlooking the Palestinian city of Nablus, sixty six-year old Settler Daniella Wise looks at an advancing force of Israeli soldiers. They have come to destroy her illegal outpost.   She rallies her own little army of followers as the Israeli Army nears.  A few moments later a violent battle begins.  This is a daily reality of life on the hilltops of the West Bank. The Hilltops is an insider’s exploration into the lives of three prominent settler leaders and their battles to hold on to what they perceive as their biblical heart land. The reality of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict unravels in-front of the lens as the viewer gets a rare, no-holds-barred look into the lives of the West Bank settlements and those who stare down the future of the Middle East peace Process from up on their Hilltops.


The Hilltops

Doc, 45 min, 2011

Written and Directed by: Igal Hecht
Produced by: Chutzpa Productions, Igal Hecht
Language: Hebrew and English with English subtitles

DVD - For Home Use Only :
$29.90

Synopsis


On the hilltop overlooking the Palestinian city of Nablus, sixty six-year old Settler Daniella Wise looks at an advancing force of Israeli soldiers. They have come to destroy her illegal outpost.   She rallies her own little army of followers as the Israeli Army nears.  A few moments later a violent battle begins.  This is a daily reality of life on the hilltops of the West Bank. The Hilltops is an insider’s exploration into the lives of three prominent settler leaders and their battles to hold on to what they perceive as their biblical heart land. The reality of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict unravels in-front of the lens...

Festivals

  • Israeli Documentary Film Festival, Budapest, Hungary, 2012
  • Detroit Jewish Film Festival, USA, 2012
  • Santa Barbara International Film Festival, USA, 2012
  • 2011 Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival, USA, 2011

Additional info

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Press & Links:

  • More appropriate title for Igal Hecht’s documentary might be The Squatters, since it tells the story of a group of Israelis who arrive in an area on the West Bank where they had no previous residency and begin to build unauthorized homes on property for which they have no legal claim. Led by 66-year-old Daniella Wise, these particular individuals assert that they are fulfilling the Zionist dream; however, the Israeli courts dispute their distinctive interpretation of Zionism.

    For the entire review by the VideoLibrarian, check: http://www.videolibrarian.com/othervideo.html#Anchor-32918

  • I just watched The Hilltops, by Igal H. It is a beautifully-shot and thought-provoking documentary about the settlers in Judea and Samaria. Admirably, it manages the unlikely feat of being fair and quietly even-handed on this most contentious of topics.

    For the entire review by Chas Newkey-Burden check: www.oyvagoy.com/2011/08/30/the-hilltops-2

  • From a review in The Canadian Jewish News: "There is no voice-over narrative or Michael Moore-like director interference in this 45-minute film. Instead Hecht hands over the story to the settlers and lets them tell the story."

    To read more of this review please follows the link: http://www.cjnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=21226&Itemid=86



  • From Critics at Large: "a memorable and effective film, and a sometimes startling and disturbing look into the mindset of religious (Jewish) fundamentalism".

    http://www.criticsatlarge.ca/2011/05/hilltops-prolific-documentary-filmmaker.html

  • From IndiWire: "Hot Docs Brings It All Home: 8 Documentaries You Should See: The Canadian filmmaker’s newest film, which also has its world premiere here, looks at a number of West Bank settlements, the contentious Jewish communities built on occupied Palestinian territory in defiance of international and Israeli law. In a statement read before the screening, Hecht, acknowledged that he refused to kowtow to those who would want to see the settlers demonized, preferring instead to let audiences form their own opinions"
    http://www.indiewire.com/article/dispatch_from_toronto_hot_docs_11_theres_no_place_like_home/


  •  
    From Sound on Sight: "What is so impressive about this film is how relentlessly director Igal Hecht pursues his subject. He stays on point, at issue, and the result is a film that punches far above its weight" http://www.soundonsight.org/tjff-the-hilltops/




  • From Criticize This!: " From the moment I watched Igal Hecht conversing with one of the settlers in The Hilltops, I knew he was the kind of director who really takes a journey with his subjects. It isn’t about telling them where to stand or what to say. He decided to be in the frame with them, to speak with them on camera, to listen and to provoke discussion so that his reasons for making this documentary would be completely transparent. It was refreshing to watch his various interactions with the featured settlers, from insistent questions mumbled from behind the camera to debates filmed between himself and the men and women of the hilltops, in the West Bank. In Israel. Or Palestine.

    http://www.criticizethis.ca/2011/05/tjff2011-review-the-hilltops.html

     

Festivals

  • Israeli Documentary Film Festival, Budapest, Hungary, 2012
  • Detroit Jewish Film Festival, USA, 2012
  • Santa Barbara International Film Festival, USA, 2012
  • 2011 Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival, USA, 2011
  • HotDocs, Toronto Canada, 2011
  • Toronto Jewish Film Festival, 2011

Educational

  • California State University
  • Library of Congress
  • Duke university
  • Princeton University
  • Columbia University
  • Harvard University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Arizona State University
  • AJS Conference, 2011