Itzik Lerner has gained access to Israel’s Nafha prison for documentary Secret Link.
Director Itzik Lerner has gained unprecedented access to Israel’s notorious Nafha political prison and its Palestinian inmates, including key figures from the militant group Hamas, for his upcoming documentary Secret Link.
Jerusalem-based documentary sales agent Ruth Diskin is backing and handling international sales on the project.
“It took Itzik six years to gain permission to shoot in the jail, which is one of the most protected facilities in Israel,” said Diskin, who works under the Ruth Diskin Films banner.
Lerner has been filming in the jail in southern Israel sporadically since April. Access has been denied during the current escalation of the conflict. More than 5,500 Palestinian political prisoners are currently held in Israeli jails.
“We already have some rough footage,” said Diskin. “Itzik has unique access to both the prison and the inmates, some of them Hamas militants, who are keen to talk.”
Israeli documentary channel Yes Docu and The New Fund for Cinema & TV have boarded the project that is also already attracting from abroad. Long-time collaborator documentary maker Dan Setton is also attached as a producer.
Lerner’s recent credits include the four-part series Holy Blood, looking at the role of religion and tradition in the Middle East conflict. He also co-directed Yes, Miss Commander (pictured) with Dan Setton.
Diskin has also recently acquired Yossi Aviram’s The Polgar Variant, about 1970s Hungarian chess prodigies Judit, Susan and Sofia Polgar, which premiered in the Jerusalem Film Festival’s Israeli Documentary Competition on Tuesday.
The documentary, produced by Tel Aviv-based Lama Films, follows Aviram’s fiction feature debut The Dune, which premiered at San Sebastian last year.
Other new titles on Diskin’s slate include Gad Aisen’s Waves of Memory, about Jewish refugee boat that sank off Greece in 1946; and Inna Rogatchi’s Lessons of Survival: Conversations with Simon Wiesenthal, consisting of a series of interviews with the legendary Nazi-hunter.