ava Kohav Beller is a filmmaker with creative roots in the theater. Born in Germany and raised in Israel, she came to the U.S. to study at the Juilliard School. Today she lives and works in New York.
She has made three documentary feature films: The Restless Conscience (1992), The Burning Wall (2002), and In The Land of Pomegranates (forthcoming in 2017).
Ms. Beller has received several awards for her film The Restless Conscience, which was nine years in the making. In 1992, The Restless Conscience was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Documentary Feature.
In 1993, Ms. Beller was decorated by President Richard von Weizsäcker with the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit (Das Grosse Bundesverdienstkreuz) of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Other awards came from the Petra Foundation at the American Institute of Arts and Sciences, from the American Film and Video Association, and from Women in Film, L.A. Ms. Beller was also presented with the Cine Golden Eagle Award.
The Restless Conscience was first seen at the Sundance Film Festival. It opened at the Walter Reade Theater, Lincoln Center, New York, and later at the Quad Cinema. It has since been shown in theaters throughout the United States (Washington D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Houston, Seattle, among others) and has been televised nationally on PBS.
The film has been televised in Great Britain, Russia, Poland, France, Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Finland, Portugal, Italy, Australia, Japan, Taiwan, Haiti, Israel, Turkey, Jordan, Latin America, and Africa. It has also been seen in Ireland, Canada, New Zealand and India. The Restless Conscience has been shown in German and Australian schools. It is being shown at American universities and colleges. The screenings are usually followed by question-and-answer sessions with Ms. Beller.
In The Restless Conscience, Ms. Beller delves into the Nazi terror and those who fought it from within. The film has been translated into thirteen languages and is currently in national and international distribution.
Ms. Beller’s most recent film, The Burning Wall, opened to wide acclaim (and controversy generated by neo-Nazis as well as by the East German “old guard”) at the Berlin International Film Festival (Panorama). It opened in New York at the Film Forum (see Press).
The film has since been screened in theaters in the United States, and it is being shown at American universities and colleges. These screenings are often followed by question-and-answer sessions with Ms. Beller.
The Burning Wall has been broadcast by the BBC in Great Britain, on Public Television in Finland, and on Bavarian television (ARD), Phoenix, EinsExtra, rbb, and Discovery Channel in Germany. It has been shown at the Arsenal Cinematheque and at the Historical Museum (Zeughaus) in Berlin, as well as in Munich, Bonn, Leipzig, Potsdam, Chiemsee, and Schloss Elmau. It has also been screened at schools in Bavaria, with question-and-answer sessions with Ms. Beller.
The Burning Wall has been seen at numerous Festivals, among them the Berlin International Film Festival and the Jerusalem, Hollywood, Anchorage, Vancouver, Warsaw, and Oslo international film festivals.
The Burning Wall received the Best Documentary Award at the Hollywood Film Festival and the Best Documentary Award at the Anchorage International Film Festival.
In The Burning Wall, Ms. Beller investigates the profoundly contemporary dilemma of individual resistance within a totalitarian state. The film depicts the developing opposition from the first stirring of single acts of resistance by individuals, all the way to the astounding ground swell of defiance that brought down the Berlin Wall and resulted in the collapse of the German Democratic Republic.
The Burning Wall has been translated into German, Spanish and Finnish and is currently in national and international distribution.