My name is Yoav Klineman and for the past 15 years I have been photographing and directing many documentary films that were broadcasted in Israel and abroad.
Ever since I can remember myself, I have been looking at the world through a camera lens which has allowed me to be exposed to moving and inspiring stories.
My professional training in film making has allowed me to turn my passion and love for people and the camera to a career.
In 1997 I made my first film “Blood Vengeance”. The film actually began as a final project as a student and was eventually aired in the National Geographic channel. The film follows a family feud in the Bedouin family of a friend of mine, who lives in a village in the Negev under the constant threat of an ancient custom of “blood vengeance”. Thanks to my personal acquaintance with the film’s hero, I was able to enter the village and experience the depth of the family conflict. The film follows my attempts at reconciling between the two rival families, with the help of local spiritual leaders and a cabinet minister. In the process, cultural customs of this traditional and sometimes mysterious society were exposed.
The immediate positive feedback which I received for such a professional first creation was an important stepping stone in my development as a videographer. The fact that the documentary film industry in Israel suffers from budgetary difficulties coupled with my strong love for camera work motivated me to develop my skills as a “one man’s crew”.
The obvious advantage of working as a “one man’s crew” in documentary film making is the opportunity to intimately know your subject and to document their personal stories up close.
This was the case with the film “Naf” which I filmed and co-directed with Moshe Alfi. The film follows a homeless Jerusalem boy who was ejected out of the Haredi community and tossed about from place to place. In the course of filming many situations developed in which only Naf, the camera and I were on the set. This allowed for documenting sensitive and intimate situations which greatly contributed to the success of the movie.
The film aired on Channel 2, and was shown in the Jerusalem Film Festival and many other festivals around the world. For me, its greatest success was when it was showed in the Israeli Knesset’s “Child Welfare Committee”. This helped to draw attention and increase the public’s awareness to the problem of “children of the streets” in Jerusalem and Israel.
Later on I had the opportunity to direct many films and news stories, some of which can be seen on the web site. In parallel to my career as a documentary film director, I also developed in the area of photography.
One of the most meaningful points in my life (and not only professionally) was the movie “39 Pounds of Love” where I worked as head photographer alongside my dear friend the director Danny Mankin. The film tracks Ami Ankilewitz who is suffering from an extremely rare and often fatal form of SMA/2, and who weighs only 39 pounds. In spite of doctor’s predictions that Ami will not live past his 6th birthday, he lived to his early forties. Ami, completely bed ridden falls in love with his caregiver who refuses his advances. Broken hearted he decides to venture on a cross country trip to the USA with the aim of finding the doctor who predicted his early demise and perhaps heal his broken heart along the way; a journey which posed a huge health risk for him.
As a camera man I was privileged to accompany Ami, a rare character, on a journey to fulfill his dream which almost cost him his life. A few years after the movie was released worldwide, Ami passed away, but he inspired the crew that accompanied him on his venture, as well as many others around the world with his tremendous display of the power of the human spirit.
The film had a tremendous impact around the world and was shown on HBO, many channels around the globe and received many film awards, was a candidate to the American Oscar and won the Israeli Oscar.
My cooperation with Danny Mankin continues for many years and many projects among them “Dolphin Boy” also an award acclaimed movie.
Following the success of “39 Pounds of Love” I was privileged to film many documentary movies which were shown on various Israeli channels as well as international channels such as Arte Channel 4 and National Geographic.
In addition to my work as a director and cameraman, I teach at the Yezrael College since 2003 in the communication faculty where I conduct seminars and workshops in documentary film making and photography and share my know how with young students.