The Viewing Booth
A film by Ra'anan AlexandrowiczWould seeing how we see change the way we think?
A film by Ra'anan Alexandrowicz
Running time: 70 minutes
Closed Captions Included
The Viewing Booth recounts a unique encounter between a filmmaker and a viewer — exploring the way meaning is attributed to non-fiction images in today’s day and age. In a lab-like location, Maia Levy, a young Jewish American woman, watches videos portraying life in the occupied West Bank, while verbalizing her thoughts and feelings in real time. Maia is an enthusiastic supporter of Israel, and the images in the videos, depicting Palestinian life under Israeli military rule, contradict some of her deep-seated beliefs. Empathy, anger, embarrassment, innate biases, and healthy curiosity — all play out before our eyes as we watch her watch the images created by the Occupation. As Maia navigates and negotiates the images, which threaten her worldview, she also reflects on the way she sees them. Her candid and immediate reactions form a one-of-a-kind cinematic testimony to the psychology of the viewer in the digital era.
"One of the smartest documentaries I’ve seen in years"
- Marc Glassman, POV Magazine
“For this year’s Jury Prize, the Documentary Award goes to The Viewing Booth, a provocative exploration of personal bias, and how these steadfast opinions become rooted in our sense of identity. What could have been a more facile exercise in politicized judgment concerning the Israeli/Palestinian conflict instead becomes a vastly more thoughtful and moving examination of the ways people’s preconditioned belief systems disrupt true engagement with the other side. With its lone setting, inside a darkened media lab, the interplay between the director and their subject provides stark evocation of the difficulty in realizing significant societal change, even as lives hang perilously in the balance. Given the current, highly polemic state of our political discourse, the film becomes an essential watch in the Trump, and post-Trump, eras.” - Hot Springs Critic’s Choice Award – Jury statement
World Premiere - 2020 Berlin International Film Festival (Forum)
US Premier - 2020 True/False Documentary Film Festival
2020 CPH:DOX (Changemakers)
2020 DOC NYC (Viewfinders Competition)
2020 Hot Springs DFF (Critic’s Choice Award)
2020 Camden International Film Festival
2020 Sheffield Doc/Fest
2020 Dokufest Kosovo
2020 Ji Halva
2020 Watchdocs Warsaw