Aliya, an 18-year-old recent immigrant from Ukraine, finds meaning in her recently discovered Jewish identity and feelings of patriotism towards her newly adopted country, where she trains to become a drill instructor in the Israeli army. After weeks of intense physical and psychological training at the desert base, her company is given forty-eight hours leave before their final exam, and Aliya returns to her family in Tel Aviv. Aliya, who is determined to have fun, heads into the city for a night out but ends up being sexually assaulted by her date. She then must return to the military base but struggles to complete her course, as she re-evaluates her values, beliefs, and place in Israeli society.
In its heart, deeply personal, ALIYA is a coming-of-age story, yet it is one that also encapsulates the narrative of an entire country, in which interpersonal relationships are used as a metaphor for violence between nations. The main argument that the film is making is that a militarised society, one which is in a prolonged state of armed conflict, is inherently violent, not only towards its enemies but towards its own people as well. Put simply, the violence one inflicts upon others always ends up being inflicted upon oneself. While taking place in Israel, ALIYA is a universally important and timely film that touches on themes that concern all people, regardless of race, gender, or background. I hope that by turning these ideas into film, audiences all over the world will gain insight not only into the double-edged nature of violence in the Middle East, as it manifests itself within the lives of Israel’s young soldiers, but into their own lives as well, whoever they are, and wherever they may be.
Dekel Berenson is an award-winning Israeli-born writer/director. After completing a mandatory three-year service in the Israeli Defense Forces, he moved to Budapest to complete a master’s degree in International Relations and European Studies, graduating first in his class. Drawing inspiration from traveling to more than sixty countries, Dekel explores real-world social and humanitarian issues across cultural and social boundaries. His short film ANNA premiered in Competition at the 72nd Cannes Film Festival, won Best British Short at the 22nd BIFA awards, and was shortlisted for a BAFTA. His short film ASHMINA played at over 250 festivals, winning numerous awards, including Oscar Qualifying Best Short Film at the 36th Jerusalem FF and Best Live Action Short at the 59th Krakow FF.
Mr. Rozenbaum holds a degree in Social Work and Film from the Tel Aviv University. He has directed two films, produced over 40 feature films and international co-productions, among them award-winning films that have received worldwide recognition. Mr. Rozenbaum is the Chairman of Public Steering Committee of Film & Television at the Israeli Export Institute and is also acting as the Chairman of the Israeli Academy for Cinema and Television. Mr. Rozenbaum held for 6 years the position of Chairman of Israel's Film and Television Producers Association and today is a Member of its Board. Mr. Rozenbaum is one of the most experienced film producers in Israel today.
Golden Globe winning and four-time Oscar nominated producer Alexander Rodnyansky (Leviathan, Loveless) is a fourth generation filmmaker, a former documentary director, and former head of two major television studios in Russia and Ukraine. Having produced festival favourites (Elena, Beanpole) and commercial films (Sin City 2, Cloud Atlas), Alexander is currently focused on creating fiction and documentary films and series around global events, culture clashes, and important biographies.
Paul Wesley is an actor, director, and producer who has garnered an extensive worldwide fan base as a result of his work in front of the camera over the last 15 years. His resume spans dozens of television series and films as an actor, director and producer. His recent directorial work includes a variety of television episodic work, as well as a documentary short. His producing credits include ‘Before I Disappear’ which won the audience award at SXSW as well as competing in the ‘Venice Days’ section of the Venice Film Festival. Wesley’s production company ‘Citizen Media’ currently has several projects in development at a variety of networks and studios. Citizen Media also has a development deal at Kapital Entertainment, which currently has 13 shows on air.
Transfax Film Productions, established in 1989 by Mr. Marek Rozenbaum, specialise in production services in Israel, co-production and production of feature films.