Brandeis screens 'Gatekeepers' at CAA in LA
Documentary features interviews with former Israeli security chiefs
Brandeis University presented a screening of the Academy Award-nominated Israeli documentary film “The Gatekeepers,” followed by a question-and-answer session with its director, Dror Moreh, at the Creative Artists Agency in Los Angeles on February 28.
The event was opened by Hollywood producer Damon Lee ’91. President Fred Lawrence welcomed the audience and thanked Damon and Michelle Kydd Lee, of CAA, and Professor Alice Kelikian, chair of the Film, Television and Interactive Media Program at Brandeis, for making the event possible. Scott Feinberg, ’08, Academy Awards analyst for The Hollywood Reporter, conducted the question-and-answer session.
“The Gatekeepers” focuses on Israel’s conflict with Palestinian terrorism, as viewed through the eyes of six former heads of the Israeli domestic security service, Shin Bet. Moreh’s interviews of the six directors, who led the service from 1980 until 2011, elicited surprisingly frank discussions that cast many well-known events in a new, more complex and more challenging light.
All six former directors articulated similar and deeply troubling assessments of Israeli policies and politics, including the severity of the threat extremism emanating from within the Jewish population of Israel itself. Their deeply pessimistic views of the future left the audience at CAA in stunned silence at the conclusion of the film, after which viewers broke into robust applause.
Moreh began his comments by acknowledging the inspirational impact on his own work of viewing “The Fog of War,” the Academy Award-winning documentary by Errol Morris, and congratulating Brandeis for having recognized Morris with an honorary degree. Feinberg skillfully led Moreh through a discussion of the challenges involved in securing on-camera interviews with the former heads of Shin Bet, and his work with the 70 hours of interviews not shown in the film.
Moreh is creating a five-part series for Israeli television delving more deeply into the issues raised in “The Gatekeepers," which will, he told the audience at CAA, present even harder and more troubling perspectives.
Steven L. Burg is the Adlai Stevenson Professor of International Politics and a member of the Film, Television and Interactive Media Program's faculty committee. He currently is teaching a a course comparing national intelligence in practice and its representation in spy films.