Synopsis: About Dam and Hofit, is the story of the forbidden friendship between Dam, the tip of mount Damavand in Iran and Hofit, an air force plane from Israel. Their unexpected encounter dares them to reimagine a friendship against all odds.
Up in the air, In the middle of nowhere, Dam and Hofit meet. Scared from the other but also curious, they start a conversation. Dam is mysterious and genuine, Hofit is cautious and agile. even though they come from rival countries, they are able to identify with the other and question the cultural identities they grew up in.
The script is inspired and conducted from the daily conversations of the directors – Leila Zelli (from Iran) and Gali Blay (from Israel), the questions they dared to ask each other and their trust in the friendship they have developed. These meetings took place digitally for two years since the outbreak of Covid 19.
Leila Zelli (Dam)
Since the Islamic revolution of Iran in 1979, Iran and Israel have canceled their diplomatic ties. Both governments have sworn to attack one another as soon as the opportunity arises. Any relationship between an Iranian and an Israeli is banned. Only in a distant and neutral place can the possibility of an encounter exist.
We are two critical artists and film makers, Leila (from Iran, based in Montreal, Canada) and Gali (from Israel, based in Berlin, Germany), have decided to oppose the narrative of fear and rivalry created by the governments of Israel and Iran and create our short animation “About Dam and Hofit”.
While being aware of the risks and barriers in a possible collaboration between an Iranian and an Israeli artist, In April 2019, we agreed to cross the lines and jump over the political rules we grew up with. This collaboration between an Israeli and an Iranian can have an immense impact and set an example for the future. Our friendship sets an example for a change that can come from ordinary people and not necessarily from the political situation.
Born in New York (US) in 1986, raised in Israel and currently based in Berlin (Germany). She received a BFA in Photography from Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem, and MFA (cum laude) in Social Design at Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands.
Gali’s animations have been screened and exhibited at venues such as, Jerusalem design week, Jerusalem (2019); Wall Street gallery, Eindhoven, NL (2018); Boston underground film festival, Boston, USA (2018); Experimental Forum (with Honorable mention to the film – The desert ark), Los Angeles, USA (2017); Print screen festival, Tel-Aviv, IL (2017); Tijdelijk museum Bijlmerbajes, Amsterdam, NL (2017); Bogoshorts film festival, Bogota, CO (2017); Salone Del Mobile, Milan, IT (2017); Fresh paint, Tel Aviv, IL (2014) among others. She also worked in art department of films such as, Winston Sugar (Wes Anderson), Asteroid City (Wes Anderson), the Matrix Resurrections (Lana Wachowski) and more.
Born in Tehran (Iran), lives and works in Montréal (Canada). She holds an MFA (2020) and a BFA (2016) in Media Arts from Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). Zelli is interested in the relationship that we have with the ideas of “others” and “elsewhere” and more specifically within this geopolitical space often referred to by the questionable term “Middle East.”
Her work has been shown, among others, at the Pierre-François Ouellette Galery (2021), the Bradley Ertaskiran Gallery (2020), at the Conseil des arts de Montréal (2019-2020), at Galerie de l’UQAM (2020, 2019, 2015) and at the Foire en art actuel in Québec (2019).
Her works are part of MAC Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts collection, The Musée Pointe-à-Callière, the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec’s Prêt d’oeuvres d’art collection, the Musée d’art contemporain de Baie-Saint-Paul collection and the collection of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. She is the 2021 laureate of the Claudine and Stephen Bronfman Fellowship in Contemporary Art.