Untitled Israel Football Documentary

by David Hartstein


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This feature-length documentary will chronicle the emergence of American-style tackle football in Israel. With eight teams throughout the country, the Israel Football League is a thriving collective of disparate nationalities, religions, ages and skill levels — all united with the goal of playing American Football in the Holy Land. This exploration of sport and culture will feature league founders, players, coaches and fans over the course of an entire season culminating in “the big game,” the Israel Bowl.

Next season, the IFL will initiate two more teams, bringing the country’s total to ten. With this film, I intend to cover the league’s entire 2011-2012 season, ideally building the film around a ready-made competition structure that chronicles struggles on and off the playing field.  Costs associated with this phase are travel funds for crew, equipment purchases, crew salary, a foreign-production insurance policy and housing in Israel.  After a research trip to Israel last March for the 2011 Israel Bowl, the people I met and their enthusiasm for the league convinced me that a return trip was absolutely necessary. 

"We are the only Israeli league of any kind that has any Palestinian players, and I'm proud of that fact," says league president Steve Leibowitz. “The majority of the players in the league are Israeli — many ex-military obviously— there are Americans, but almost as many Arabs and then a great cross-section of the rest of the world…Some of them have never touched a football before joining.” Leibowitz struggles to outfit the players, who range in age from 17 to 45. “There are no sporting goods stores here that carry the equipment.  None.  But finding fields for all the teams…that’s the real challenge.“

While it’s interesting to hear players and the news media speak of the human interest aspect of “peace through football,” it is my hope to dig far deeper — to witness the lives of these players outside of the game, and to share in the motivation that drives them onto the football field.   We are currently seeking a minimum of 17,500 to cover initial travel and equipment costs.  Any money raised over this amount will be applied to additional production costs.  Production is currently budgeted at approximately $100,000, with additional funding expected from grants and foundation support.  Please consider a tax-deductible donation to help fund what will be an important film. 

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    • September 19, 2011 Julia Halperin Artist

      "This is the Field of the Lord!" -- I got a little choked up, for real.

    • September 18, 2011 Bob Peck Community Member

      fascinating subject matter, D. I gotta be honest- when you told me about this idea almost a year ago, I wasn't totally sold about it. that trailer though, wow. the moment where one of the football players says "this coach is a settler, I hate him.." and the coach says "I took his land and now he has to live in Jaffa," and they laugh about it... really something man. I hope you get it. I really want to watch this movie.

    • September 14, 2011 David Modigliani Community Member

      I love the concept and the prospects for the film! Let's make it happen. Best of luck on the first round of shooting...

    • September 14, 2011 David Modigliani Community Member

      I love the concept and the prospects for the film! Let's make it happen. Best of luck on the first round of shooting...

    • August 22, 2011 L to the D Community Member

      You know I have a turbulent relationship with football - but for you, DH - I'll put such views aside!

    • August 12, 2011 PJ Raval Artist

      best of luck!