Screening date: 24-11-2007 -- 13h30
Football in Israel: Bnei Sakhnin, the Champions of the Union

18th May 2004. The Israel soccer cup is won by the team of Sakhnin, a little town in Galilee with an Arab majority. It is an unprecedented victory, the significance of which reaches far beyond sport. First, because this is the first time an Arab town is a champion in Israel.

Also because the Bnei Sakhnin team is peculiar in that it numbers players from various origins coexisting on the field in perfect harmony: 12 Arabs, 7 Jews, 2 Africans, one from Poland and one Brazilian.

The director followed the team during the year following their victory. He met the supporters and the town's inhabitants. Through this series of portraits sketched all along a new soccer season, we are able to observe the group's dynamics and its relation to the outer world, in order to answer a certain number of questions : whilst the town of Sakhnin has not been spared by the Israel-Palestine conflict, how are the relations between the Jewish and Arab players organized, both on the field and off the field?

What is the place today of the Arab community in Israel and is the victory of Bnei Sakhnin a sign of an evolution? Is soccer only a derivative for a population struggling for recognition or can it become a factor of integration? Or the weapon of a new nationalism?

Production: Electron Libre Productions (Contact Michael Kazan) & France 5
Year: 2006
Director: Ram Loevy
Video    color    80 min

Filmography - Documentaries only
I Achmad (1966-67, 15 min)
Barricades (1969, 65 min)
Israel in the 1980s (1971, 2x90 min)
Don't think twice (1972, 65 min)
Time Out (1975, 75 min)
Second Generation Poverty (1976, 2x100 min)
Playing Devils, Playing Angels (1979, 60 min)
Nebbucadnezzar in Cesarea (1979, 75 min)
The End of the Bathing Season (1983, 35 min)
The Buck Stops in Brazil (1983, 26 min)
Between the River and the Sea (1984, 65 min)
The Million Dollar Scan (1985, 26 min)
Voice of the Multitude (1987, 40 min)
In the Seventh Sky (1991)
The Film That Wasn't (1993-94, 130 min)
14 Footnotes to a Garbage Mountain (1999-2000, 60 min)
Letters in the Wind (2000, 75 min)
Close, Closed, Closure (2002, 60 min)
Football in Israel, the Champions of the Union (2006, 80 min)

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Ram Loevy was born in 1940 in Tel Aviv. He studied economics and political science at Hebrew University in Jerusalem from 1962 to 1966, then at the London Film School in 1967-68. He also studied at Harvard University in 1981-82. He works as a film and TV director as well as producer and scriptwriter. He is currently teaching at Tel Aviv University.

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