Tekoa is a trendy hippie colony for Israeli settlers on the West Bank, where none of the controversial residents want to speak to the media. From the moment director Iris Zaki arrives from Tel-Aviv to the settlement, tension fills the air. She sets up a small pop-up film studio in the middle of the small town, and stays put for over one month in order to meet the local settlers face to face. A simple intervention, which creates a complex chain of reactions from those who eventually agree to talk to her. From a woman who in the middle of an interview admits to being a fascist, to another who has survived a knife attack by a young Palestinian – and has forgiven him. “Unsettling” is made by Iris Zaki alone as a social experiment that highlights the contrasts and contradictions of the settlers’ self-perception, but which does so in something as rare as an active conversation with them. A conceptual ploy that places Zaki’s film in the field between artistic practice and political activism, and which reaches beyond blind criticism.
Dr. Iris Zaki is a Grierson award-winning documentary filmmaker and researcher, who uses quirky first-person narratives to depict closed communities. She recently finished her PhD at Royal Holloway, University of London, which explored her own innovative interviewing technique ׳The Abandoned Camera’. Her previous film, Women in Sink, screened at over 120 festivals and universities, received 13 awards (from Karlovy Vary, Visions du Reel and more), and featured on TV and on NY Times’ OpDocs. Currently, Iris teaches ethnographic and documentary filmmaking, while screening her new film, Unsettling.