All Roads Film Project

Lone Samaritan
2012 All Roads Film Festival

  • Date
    September 30, 2012
  • Location Washington, D.C.

Past Event

Photo: Lone Samaritan
Photo: Lone Samaritan

Photos courtesy of filmmaker

Director: Barak Heymann
Documentary / Israel / 2010 / 50 minutes / Hebrew with English subtitles
D.C. Premiere

In the isolated Samaritan sect on the outskirts of Holon, Israel, individuals who question and abandon traditions are not the only ones punished: their families are, too. Sophie Tzdaka, now a notable television personality in the country, left along with her three sisters, but the family members who remained part of the sect were ostracized and harassed for the sisters’ choices.

Lone Samaritan is poignant because it focuses on the consequences our decisions have on the lives of others and on our own. Heymann tells of the conflict between the daughters (mostly Sophie) and their father, Baruch, who, unlike the rest of the family, has refused to move beyond centuries of the family association with the sect. When Sophie and her sisters left the sect in their youth, they did so for personal reasons. One fell in love with a boy outside of the sect; the others similarly wanted freedom to choice too. Their father still clings to his religion, despite being harassed by the sect, both physically and mentally.

The potency of this film does not come from a condemnation of any group of people, but rather from an evaluation of the intersection of traditional religious practices and modern ideals. Although it would have been easy to portray Sophie as a woman who left the sect to find her own freedom and a new life, Heymann chooses not. Sophie is still fully committed to her family and tries to convince her father to leave, not because she does not want to be associated with the sect anymore, but she does not understand why her father would want to associate with a group of people who not only ignore him at religious gatherings, but intentionally antagonize him in many capacities, including attempting to have him arrested. The decision to leave still weighs on Sophie years later, when in a climactic scene, she has a conversation with her own daughter about her religious upbringing and realizes that even decades later, her choices come with consequences that affect the ones she loves.

Although Lone Samaritan is a film about acceptance and the quest for freedom, it explores the nuanced issues that come along with it. The film is beautifully shot and captivating from start to finish through its exploration of faith, gender roles, freedom, and family.
This film has won Best Documentary awards at festivals in Canada, Israel, France and the U.S.
Co-hosted with the Washington Jewish Film Festival

Barak Heymann joined the Heymann Brothers Film Company in 2003 and has since directed and produced several documentary films and series. Together with his brother Tomer he created the TV series, “Bridge over the Wadi” (2005) which won the Best Series Award at the Israeli Documentary Competition and was adapted to an one hour film, co-produced with ITVS and winner of many international awards. His film Dancing Alfonso was screened at the SXSW festival and won the Silver Award in Shanghai TV festival and the Best Directing Award at Chronograph Film Festival in Moldova. Heymann produced Lady Kul el-Arab, by Palestinian director Ibtisam Mara’ana, and the film won the Special Jury Award in IDFA 2008. A year later, he produced, Sayed Kashua – Forever Scared ( a film by Dorit Zimbalist) which participated in the prestigious IDFA competition. Barak and Tomer Heymann directed the documentary series “Debut” (2008) and won with it the Best Series Award at the Israeli Documentary Competition. Barak Heymann further produced an 8-part TV series “The Way Home” (2009 – directed by Tomer Heymann) which, won the first prize in the International Film Festival in Jerusale. I Shot My Love (2010 – directed by Tomer Heymann, produced by Barak Heymann) premiered in Berlinale and won many different prizes including the best mid length documentary in HOTDOCS and the Audience award in Taiwan. His documentary Lone Samaritan (2010) was chosen as Shanghai TV Best Documentary and got the Paris Human Rights Film Festival Creative Documentary award. Heymann produced the appraised documentary Life in Stills (A film by Tamar Tal, 2011), winning DOK Leipzik Talent Dove Award, one of the top ten HOTDOCS Audience Favorites and many more international awards, and commercially screened in Germany. In 2012 they also created “The End of the Story”, Israeli documentary series.
Currently Barak Heymann continues dealing with the theme of families, making a 24 episode documentary series for Israeli channel 8. Furthermore he is producing the thriller-documentary Before the Revolution (a film by Dan Shadur) about Israelis in Tehran in the days of the turnover in Iran.
Barak Heymann is a lecturer for documentary direction in the Israeli Sapir College.

Screened with the following four short films:
La Tuna, Despedida, El Pescador and Reviens-moi.

A discussion with director Barak Heymann, director of Lone Samaritan and Tracy Rector, director of “Reviens-moi” will follow the screenings.

Tracy Rector is the Executive Director and Co-founder of Longhouse Media and their youth filmmaking program Native Lens. With her first feature projects Teachings of the Tree People, March Point, Tracy learned how to bring indigenous traditions into a contemporary storytelling format. Her films have had North American broadcast and distribution with Independent Lens, National PBS, National Geographic All Roads Project and on the world festival circuit. In 2009 Tracy received the National Association for Media Literacy award for outstanding contributions made in the field of media education (previously awarded to Jon Stewart and Bill Moyers). She is a recent Sundance Institute Lab Fellow and is the recipient of the Horace Mann Award for her work in utilizing media for social justice. Tracy was raised in Seattle and Albuquerque, both homes have inspired her artistic and cultural vision. She currently works and lives in Seattle with her two boys.

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