#NOVA: A Traumatizing But Essential Documentary

A still from #NOVA. Courtesy of yes Studios.

#NOVA is an hourlong documentary following the events of the Supernova Psy-Trance Festival during the Hamas attack on October 7.

If you’re unfamiliar with what happened on October 7, it was the worst attack on Jews in a single day since the Holocaust. Filmmaker Dan Pe’er was aiding survivors when he first begin receiving the initial footage that led to the film. #NOVA is a documentary that uses smartphone, bodycam, phone audio, and GoPro footage in showing the events as they transpired on the Nova site, not too far from Kibbutz Re’im and the Gaza envelope. As of the documentary’s release in December, all the footage was exclusive to the film. None of it features any audio commentary or talking heads–just the real-time footage of October 7. It is a different film than the under-50-minute footage put together by the State of Israel. Regardless, it is one of a number of documentaries to follow the terrorist attacks.

There is no U.S. distribution at the moment and the film is currently holding one-off screenings across the country. Even though this is not the graphic film that the Israeli government put together from the captured GoPros that terrorists left behind, it is no less traumatizing knowing what happens to many people in the video footage. Much like watching Schindler’s List, this is a film that will leave people numb. It’s impossible to unsee the footage after watching the film. I personally had to pause the film a few times just because it is emotionally heavy viewing. At the same time, I felt required to bear witness.

A still from #NOVA.
A still from #NOVA. Courtesy of yes Studios.

I’m not going to be one of those people who is too critical of what filmmaker Dan Pe’er is doing. What I will do is applaud not just Pe’er but the pair of editors, Nadav Direktor and Lev Goltser, responsible for editing the film together. Without them, #NOVA would just be a collection of found footage. There are times where it’s just one thing we’re seeing on screen. Other times, they utilize split-screen technology to show the bigger picture. Nothing is more depressing than towards the end as the police and IDF finally show up on scene, only to see blurred out bodies of the deceased.

Despite having witness testimony and footage from October 7, this is not stopping people from denying the October 7 atrocities. There are feminist bookstores that have employees on staff who question whether it ever happened. I challenge them to watch this film. The October 7 denialism is neo-Holocaust denial. Holocaust denial, per the IHRA, is antisemitic. October 7 denialism is no less antisemitic and yet, this has not stopped people from saying it never happened when in fact we know it did.

Over 300 people died in the Nova massacre. Another 34 people taken hostage–at least one has already been released. Hamas ultimately killed some 1,200 people–citizens of multiple countries–after breeching the border between Gaza and Israel–may their neshamas have an aliyah. Over 100 people are still being held hostage as of publication. I think of them daily and say BRING THEM HOME NOW!

#NOVA is a traumatizing but essential documentary about what happened on October 7. It is not an easy watch by any means but it is very important to bear witness to the atrocities.


#NOVA premiered on yes on December 6, 2023. Grade: 5/5

Please subscribe to Solzy at the Movies on Buttondown.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.