Shot over the course of 14 years, Seekers is the story of Yishai Oren and his close-knit group of friends from a kibbutz in the north of Israel as they undergo a transformation from secular atheists to ultra-Orthodox Jews.
Israel's kibbutzim are pillars of the country's secularism yet Oren's and his friends' wild parties and drug-infused haze are indicative of their search for a deeper truth, their seeking to fill the void left by the bankrupt ideology of the parents. With time, the once solidly secular youth begin to slowly rebel against the kibbutz's ideological foundations. When one of them finds redemption and embraces the traditions of the Breslov Hasidim right before their eyes, the rest of the group faces a stark choice: to join their friend on his tumultuous journey or lose him forever.
The film generated considerable controversy in Israel when its world premiere was canceled a mere two hours before the opening of DocAviv. Having completed the process of becoming ultra-Orthodox, Oren no longer believed the film to be appropriate for public viewing. The legal battle that ensued in order to release the film added another complicated layer to the film's narrative of a clash between the secular and religious worlds, and the often contradictory ways in which both seek their own truth.
Director and Cinematographer // Yishai Oren
Script // Chen Shelach, Yishai Oren and Duki Dror
Editing Director and Producer // Duki Dror
Krakowski Festiwal Filmowy, Poland | 2013
YES Documentary Channel, Israel | 2012
Seekers may have started as a film about a small, tight-knit group of young men, all a product of the same 'assembly line,' but the film ultimately has a lot more to say about questions of identity, change, adolescence and masculinity.