EXCLUSIVE: The filmmakers behind Israel’s 2024 International Feature Oscar submission are now working on a movie about an all-female Israeli Defence Force (IDF) tank unit which defended against the Hamas terror attacks on October 7.
Ayelet Menahemi, whose feature Seven Blessings won this year’s Ophir Prize in Israel, is slated to direct the film and will be teaming up again with writer-actress Eleanor Sela who is writing the script and also wrote and starred Seven Blessings.
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The film is inspired by the true events regarding the first-of-its-kind all-female tank unit who engaged in fierce battles against Hamas attackers on the day of the October 7 massacres. The battle was the first instance in history of an all-female armored unit taking part in combat.
In addition to the battle, the filmmakers tell us the film will also explore the founding of the unit and the struggles the young women combatants faced in order to prove themselves and be taken seriously amid skepticism and at times discrimination from male counterparts. Mixed gender fighting units in Israel have previously been the subject of controversy among some politicians and military.
Jewish-Israeli female filmmakers Ayelet Menahemi and Eleanor Sela stated: “Amidst the inconceivable stories of bravery since October 7, this is one of the exceptional and heroic ones. It shows what happens when women take matters into their own hands after men cast doubt on their right and ability to fight. These young women made history, twice.”
The film will be produced by Ehud Bleiberg’s LA-based Bleiberg Entertainment, known for movies including In the Land of Saints and Sinners, The Iceman and The Band’s Visit, along with Ronen Ben Tal (Seven Blessings).
The feature will be an Israeli-international co-production, with filming aiming to begin in fall 2024.
Since the Hamas attacks of October 7, claims have emerged that some senior IDF commanders refused to heed the warnings of young female surveillance soldiers tasked with watching the Gaza border in the weeks before the attacks, with sexism cited as a factor in their reports being ignored.
Multiple documentaries on the subject of the October 7 attacks have emerged in recent months but this is the first narrative feature to be announced.
The October 7 terror attack by Hamas left more than 1,200 Israelis dead (reports have also emerged of multiple sexual assaults against women). The Israeli government’s subsequent and ongoing military action in Gaza has resulted in more than 17,000 Palestinian deaths, according to Gaza Health Ministry.
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