Sundance 2018: Mor Loushy Talks The Oslo Diaries

Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat appear in The Oslo Diaries by Mor Loushy and Danil Sivan, an official selection of the World Cinema Documentary Competition at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute. Photo by Saar Yaacov.

The Oslo Diaries co-director Mor Loushy spoke to Cultured Vultures last week following the world premiere of the film at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. A few days after the interview, it was announced that HBO acquired the U.S. television rights and will debut the film later this year.

Thanks for joining us today.  How has Sundance been treating you?
Well, so great. Such a fantastic place to be with the film. The audience gave us such a warm hug. We are so thrilled about it.

What has the overall reaction been?
I think it’s good. Many people approached us after the screening and we feel very good. We love it out here. You know—it’s snowing. In Israel, we have two days of rain a month. It’s snowing at Sundance—it’s perfect. We love it!

Is this your first Sundance or have you been before?
No, it’s actually my second Sundance. We were here three years ago, also in the World Cinema Documentary Competition, with Censored Voices. This is our second time. We’re so happy to be here again. It’s a privilege, really. We love it.

How did you come to a decision to revisit the Oslo Accords for a documentary and what was the most surprising thing you learned in making the film?
We decided to approach this—our last film, Censored Voices, was about the Six-Day War, which actually began the occupation. After that, we said, Wow, there’s so many films about wars but there’s no films about peace. So we decided to really understand this question that really bothered us: why has peace not come yet? What happened exactly? I was there in the Square at the rally for peace when I was 14 years old. I remember the hope for peace and we said, what happened there exactly? I think also people in Israel—also just a keyword—nobody knows exactly what happened behind the scenes. As we began researching it, we came across Ron Pundak’s diaries and read the two first pages and said, okay, this is our service to understand this big historical event throughout such a personal point of view of the diary of both participants from both negotiations of both sides. For us, this was it. There you go. Four and a half years of making this film.

Are we at a point where peace is seemingly impossible to happen in our lifetime?For me, I can’t say that because I live in Israel. I raise my kids in Israel. My future is in Israel. It’s my home. I can’t see it as to live war after war—every two years, a new war is on the way. It’s just not a way of living. I think that peace is possible—that’s why this film is so important. Not to say I talk about peace, why you’re so naïve. No, peace can happen. The solution is here. It’s very clear what the solution is. The question is when peace will come? How much blood will be in the streets until people will say we’ve had enough and want to compromise. I think that peace is definitely possible. The question is do people want it and will people vote for it. The citizens have to take responsibility and find leaders that can lead us to the way towards peace.

What’s next for The Oslo Diaries after Sundance?
We don’t know yet. Two days ago was our world premiere. Stay tuned for good news, I hope!

Thank you again for your time.
Thank you so much!

The Oslo Diaries will air on HBO in the U.S. in 2018.

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