After screening at both last year’s Sundance Film Festival and New York Film Festival, Shimon Dotan’s exceedingly timely look at the world of Israeli settlements — appropriately entitled “The Settlers” — is bound for a theatrical release. With the film, the filmmaker and educator aims for a full examination of not just the current state of the settlements sprinkled around the Occupied Territories, but the history of how things ended up in a such a complicated state.
By the end of the Six-Day War, Israel had tripled its territory, occupying the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, and the West Bank. Since that time, hundreds of thousands of settlers have made homes in these Occupied Territories, a move that makes a peace agreement with the Palestinians all the more complex. “The Settlers” starts from there and only grows bigger as it moves along.
Per the film’s official synopsis, Dotan’s focus ranges neatly “from opportunistic families seeking less costly living conditions to Western-style hippies; messianic, religious extremists to idealistic farmers; settler ‘patriarchs’ to new converts. Israeli intellectuals, politicos, and academics weigh in on this conundrum: How can approximately a half-million people be allowed to stand in the way of a Middle Eastern peace settlement the world so desperately needs?”
Check out our exclusive trailer for “The Settlers” below.
“The Settlers” will open on Friday, March 3 at Film Forum in New York and on Friday, March 17 at Laemmle Monica in Los Angeles.