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Jacob Arenber

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I am 37 years old. I was born in the Soviet Union and immigrated to Israel in 1991. I reside in
Jerusalem, married and father of a daughter. I obtained a master's degree in documentary cinema
from Tel Aviv University.

My animated short film, "Hypo-gravitation" participated in several festivals around the world. Alongside my work as a director, I also work as an educational psychologist and teacher in the city of Jerusalem.


A strangely unused toothbrush” and “a full refrigerator” are among the reasons that lead to rejection of

Wisam's citizenship application as Israeli authorities question authenticity of life he led

was presented to them. Will Wissam, an Arab resident of East Jerusalem, be able to prove to them that his life is



Like Yosef K, in Kafka's story "The Trial" who woke up one morning and discovered that he was accused, without knowing why, Wisam, the main character of my film, also discovers one day that the authorities accused of faking his life.

Wisam is a resident of East Jerusalem. He is applying for Israeli citizenship for himself and his family, but his application has been refused, on the grounds that the life story he presented to inspectors from the Internal Affairs Bureau is false and therefore he cannot prove that his " center of life” is in Jerusalem.

Wissam embarks on a long legal battle to prove that his life is real. He will appeal to the district court and then to the Supreme Court. The film will follow the trial protocols, protocols which break down Wissam's life in every detail, and declare that there is no logic or truth in it. And against the protocols, the film will also follow the routine of Wisam, his wife, his two daughters and his brother, and through the sweet intimacy of their days will ask the question that the State allows itself to ask with so much cruelty: is this a life that can be lived.

I have lived in Jerusalem, in the west, for 15 years. And when you live in the west, it's easy to forget. To forget the abrupt and surreal reality that reigns in the eastern part of the city. And through Wisam's story, I wish to provide insight into this painful local conflict, but I also hope to raise more universal questions, about whether there is such a thing as a "decent life", what are the atoms of which our life daily life is made, and how we, spectators, will feel, in this uncomfortable, invasive, and perhaps also seductive role, in which my film, and perhaps any documentary film, places us, to examine the very heart of the life that is presented to us, and to be in a place where it is our privilege to decide whether we believe it or not?

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