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Israeli human-rights lawyer Lea Tsemel is a force that won’t be deterred. Having defended Palestinians against a host of criminal charges in Israeli courts for nearly five decades, she is a staunch supporter of compassion within the court system. Frequently subjected to harsh criticism in the press and in the public view, Tsemel remains optimistically steadfast in her belief that justice can be served.

In this impressive documentary, Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Bellaïche masterfully juxtapose two of Tsemel’s cases, one professional and the other personal: the defense of a minor accused of attempted murder and a past case in which she defended her activist husband from an accusation of treason against the state. Delicately animated sequences conceal defendants’ identities as Tsemel frankly addresses their best possible chances for acquittal, while interviews with Tsemel’s adult children reveal her unique ability to see the humanity of those accused. Advocate is an original, provocative film that both exposes the human fallout of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict and provides hope for a peaceful resolution.

YEAR 2019

CATEGORY World Cinema Documentary Competition

COUNTRY Israel/Canada/Switzerland

RUN TIME 110 min


SUBTITLES Yes with English subtitles

COMPANY Cinephil

WEBSITE http://www.cinephil.com

EMAIL philippa@cinephil.co.il

PHONE +972 3-566-4129


Story Consultant
Art Director
Sound Designer
Commissioning Editors

Artist Bio

Rachel Leah Jones

Rachel Leah Jones is a critically acclaimed documentary director/producer/editor. Her directing credits include GYPSY DAVY (2012 Sundance Film Festival), Ashkenaz (2007), and Advocate. Jones has also worked closely with mediamakers such as Simone Bitton (Wall, 2005 Sundance Film Festival) and Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!).

Philippe Bellaïche

Philippe Bellaïche is an award-winning cinematographer. His film credits include Avi Mograbi’s Between Fences (2016), Arnon Goldfinger’s The Flat (2012), and Shimon Dotan’s The Settlers (2016 Sundance Film Festival). GYPSY DAVY (2012 Sundance Film Festival) was his producing debut. Advocate is his directing debut.