Hilla Medalia returns to her award winning directorial status of documentary filmmaking with the film Dancing In Jaffa, a story about ballroom dancer Pierre Dulaine teaching children to dance in his hometown of Jaffa, Israel. Dulaine marvelously picks his top dancers from the three dancing schools he started to compete together in citywide championships. Often times he would pair Palestinians with Jews, a common racial problem that Israel is facing today. In doing so, he often forces the children as well as their parents to put their faith to the test by willingly competing with each other instead of against.
The 100 minute documentary, in Arabic, English, and Hebrew, tells the story of such children learning to set aside their differences in order to compete in what they believe is right. It combines drama with humor, all based on the everyday lives of these children doing what they love most.
Well known for her documentaries, To Die in Jerusalem, After the Storm and Caught in the Net, Hilla Medalia directed, produced and wrote the documentary, along with Philip Shane who also helped screen write. Other producers included Morgan Spurlock, Diane Nabatoff and Neta Zwebner-Zaibert and Daniel Kedem was the cinematographer on the documentary.
At the festival, Morgan Spurlock was in attendance for the film as was Yvonne Marceau, another dancing instructor within the documentary. Both of the stars spoke fondly of the documentary and they urged us to see it. We also found out that Morgan Spurlock was a ballet dancer when he was younger and thus was made fun of, but he urges all young filmmakers to just go out and make their own films since the opportunities are endless. Yvonne Merceau tells us that the experience is magical and what it was like to overcome the racial obstacles the people had while dancing in the film.
UPDATE: Watch the Morgan Spurlock Interview
UPDATE: Watch the Yvonne Merceau Interview