Igal Hecht has been producing, directing and creating films for the past 20 years. During this time, he has amassed over 30 documentaries under his belt, and has been involved in the making of several more films and TV series.
Some of the many projects he has worked on through his production company Chutzpa Productions include the docudrama series Daughters of Eve, which explores the lives of women from the old and new testament; My Flag, which was produced in honour of Israel’s 60th birthday and comically delves into the question of what the Israeli flag means to its citizens; and Shunned, a look into the struggles of the Palestinian LGBTQ community amidst the more general Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
One of his latest films, My Home, released in 2016, was winner of the Mosaic World Film Festival and Cineview Film Festival, and won Best Director at the Global Cinema International Film Festival, much in the same way his other films have won various awards.
As an avid filmmaker immersed in issues concerning Israeli life and the political struggles Israel deals with, and having an apparent special interest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is not surprising that Hecht has chosen to give a voice to the side that is often neglected, the Arab community.
In My Home Hecht follows a number of people who were born in Israel to an Arab or Bedouin family, and who consider themselves Israelis just like anyone else.
In a recent conversation with a friend in Israel, I carelessly, if not ignorantly referred to an Arab actor in a film I had watched as “married to an Israeli”. My friend was quick to ask, “remind me of your political views… are you a leftist or rightist?”
It struck me as odd that he would ask such a question. He was, of course, referring to the fact that I had tagged the Arab actor as “non-Israeli”, and the Jewish woman as “Israeli”.
Whereas my friend has been living in Israel in recent years, and privy to the social changes occurring, i.e.: better integration of “Arabs” into the general community, I have been tucked away in Canada, still living the political-social reality I had witnessed growing up in Israel, where Jews are considered “Israelis”, while Arabs were just “Arabs” – even if they do hold an Israeli passport.
We need people like Hecht who, from time to time, remind us to shed those outdated internal beliefs in order to make room for an existence that is fairer, more equal, and more humane.
We don’t all engage in activities that promote social or political justice even when we know that change is imminent. But thanks to passionate people willing to put in the effort with much chutzpah (and compassion), an opportunity opens for us too as witnesses to stop for a moment and consider someone else’s reality. This is true for us in our private lives as well as in our social lives.
My Home is set to air in on Israeli television this week. Channel 1 will air the film on Tuesday, February 28 at 9pm. On March 3, the film is also set to air on BBC Arabic in several countries in the Middle East.
To view the trailer for this documentary please click HERE.
To view Channel 1’s promotional clip, please click HERE.