Assi, a screenwriter and poet, is stuck in his personal life. He is full of doubt, disturbing thoughts, and existential restlessness. He is sentenced to community service due to a drunken-driving motorcycle accident in which he was involved. For his community service, he is sent to work with juvenile delinquents in Beersheba - the desert city in southern Israel - who are under house arrest and must attend sessions with Assi in the neighborhood shelter as a condition for their parole. Their extreme personalities, their riotous energy, and their charm awaken in him curiosity and attraction; together, they break through the boundaries of the rehabilitative framework.
The story is based on true events. In his director’s statement Elya writes about his personal story and connection to the film’s stories and characters.
“A few years ago I found myself catching a bus once a week from Tel Aviv to Beersheba to meet a group of teenagers under house arrest to teach them something about Cinema.
I quickly realized that inorder to catch their attention I have to connect with the group leader, a 17 year old boy called Eden.
Eden and me turned to be good friends and and at the same time the youth opened up more and more to the world I was trying to present to them. At the end of the course the group created a clip which Eden wrote and directed. The clip, which tells the story of their lives ends with murder.
At the end of our series of meetings I finally felt that they have a glimpse of hope.
A year after, as I was leafing through a newspaper I read that Eden is in jail, he killed his neighbor with a knife, and was sentenced for life.
For a week I walked around dazed and stunned. Out of shock I understood that I have to tell the story of these cut off teenagers. Eden is from present day Israel, one small story of a child at risk, just like I was. I grew up like Eden and I live like Assi, and this is my story, a story of a disconnected man that aspires to save juvenile delinquents through art and of teenagers who aren't successful in their attempt to be saved.
Cinema for me is a therapeutic tool, a life belt, a weapon and a shield. As a high school student from a small city in the outskirts of Tel Aviv, me and all the other “rascals” where sent to major in cinema studies, I wasn’t interested but I was drawn in and ever since what I want to do in life is cinema. After finishing my studies at “Camera Obscura” I went back to my high school to teach cinema and chose to tell the story of these disconnected youth. The story of my life.
Seven teenagers who are acting in the film are past and present students of mine.”
Besides Lead actor, Ran Danker, who is performing the role of Assi are 11 teenagers, non-actors who were found in development towns.
At the 2017 Jerusalem film festival Doubtful won the The Anat Pirchi Award for Best First Film, the Best Cinematography Award and Adar Hazazi who plays the role of Eden got an Honorary mention for his performance.
With: Ran Danker, Adar Hazazi Gersch, Hilla Surjon, Bat-El Museri, Liron Ben Shlush
Producer: Oren Rogovin
Dirtector and Script: Eliran Elya
D.O.P: Shai Goldman
Editor: Arik Lahav-Leibovich
Theatrical release in Israel: 8/3/18