2018 Sundance Docs in Focus: THE OSLO DIARIES

Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Saar Yaacov

Mor Loushy and Daniel Sivan take an unprecedented behind the scenes look at the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Festival Section:
World Cinema Documentary Competition


Sundance Program Description:

In 1992, with Israeli-Palestinian relations at a low and official communication suspended, an unlikely group of negotiators – two Israeli professors and three PLO members – met secretly in Norway. To these unsanctioned meetings, the bitter enemies brought fiercely held convictions: the Palestinians saw occupiers, the Israelis saw terrorists, and both saw a history of failed negotiations. But united in the serious desire for peace, they continued through disheartening setbacks, escalating violence, and fraught government politics, ultimately reaching an accord few thought possible.

A comprehensive, dramatic account of the negotiations and their intricate context, THE OSLO DIARIES recounts a geopolitical story, but its narrative voice is personal and philosophical. Articulated through the participants’ diaries and incorporating unseen archival footage, it offers a broadly resonant portrait of diplomacy, the delicate nature of peace, and individuals who, sitting in fundamental opposition, nonetheless found common ground and, in some cases, came to regard their counterparts as friends. With politics ultimately dooming the accord, one negotiator wondered if Oslo was a story of triumph or defeat before observing that the story’s end remains unwritten.

Some Background:

  • Mor Loushy
    Past Sundance docs:

    CENSORED VOICES (2015, director)

  • Daniel Sivan
    Past Sundance docs:

    CENSORED VOICES (producer/editor)

    This marks the fourth documentary collaboration between Loushy and Sivan. CENSORED VOICES won the Ophir Award, Israel’s equivalent to the Oscars.


  • Hilla Medalia
    Past Sundance docs:

    WEB JUNKIE (2014, director/producer)

    Medalia is a Peabody-winning and Emmy-nominated Tel Aviv-based director and producer.

  • Ina Fichman

    This is the first Sundance credit for the head of Montreal-based Intuitive Pictures.


  • Kristian Mosvold

    This is also the first Sundance project for the Norwegian production company Øya Film, which has produced several projects on Israel.

Senior Producer:

  • Ronny Merdinger

    Medalia Productions’ Merdinger has served as a production supervisor for past Sundance narratives, including HALF NELSON (2006), but this marks her first documentary credit at the festival.

Executive Producers:

    Guy Lavie
    Past Sundance docs:

    A FILM UNFINISHED (2010, commissioning editor)

    Lavie is the head of Israel’s yesDocu Channel.

  • Koby Gal Raday

    Gal-Raday is chief content officer at Israeli’s yes. Among his notable past producing credits is the Cannes-winning THE BAND’S VISIT. This marks his first Sundance credit.

  • Danna Stern
    Past Sundance docs:


    Stern is the managing director of yesStudios and former head of acquisitions and programming at the Israeli television network.

  • Dagmar Mielke
    Past Sundance docs:


    Mielke is a commissioning editor at ARTE/Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg.

  • Jean Tsien
    Recent past Sundance docs:

    PLASTIC CHINA (2017, associate producer/editor)
    HOOLIGAN SPARROW. (2016, consulting editor)
    CENSORED VOICES (editing consultant)
    RICH HILL (2014, editorial advisor)

    Tsien is a much-loved documentary editor.

Why You Should Watch:
With remarkable access to the peace negotiators on both sides, and to their contemporary journals, Loushy and Sivan capture the high-tension atmosphere of their seemingly impossible task and open a space for tentative hope for peace, despite the ultimate fate of the Oslo Accords, and of the challenging current climate.

More Info:

For Sundance screening dates and times, click the film title in the first paragraph.


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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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