“Requiem for a Whale”, a short documentary film by Ido Weisman, an alumnus of The Steve Tisch School of Film and Television at Tel Aviv University’s Faculty of the Arts, won the best student film award at the IDA Awards Ceremony, considered the most prestigious award in the world of documentary films. The ceremony was held recently at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles.
The film also won the Israeli Documentary Forum Annual Awards in the same week.
“Requiem for a Whale”, which was produced as part of a Tisch School alumni project, was screened for the first time in June 2022 at the Docaviv International Documentary Film Festival, where it took second place and won the cinematography award in the student competition. Since then it has been screened at the Brisbane International Film Festival and at the DOC NYC festival (both in November 2022).
The film’s plot centers on a stormy night in early 2021, when a whale’s body is washed ashore at Nitzanim Beach in Israel. During the documentation of the encounters between people and the carcass, the viewer hears from several witnesses, who are reflecting on their impressions of the rare event. From the fabric of responses, a collective experience forms, addressing the dialogue between life and death.
Docaviv Film Festival judges commented that the film won second place “for finding beauty and meaning in a bleak corner of reality these days. For the ability to take a news story and turn it into a poetic cinematic piece on life and death and about the cruel encounter between humans and their environment.” The cinematography award went to Weisman “for smart and precise photography that takes the film to poetic places and adds deep layers to the story.”