Supernova: The Music Festival Massacre Is Essential Viewing

Supernova: The Music Festival Massacre.

Supernova: The Music Festival Massacre is an essential documentary bearing witness to the barbaric attacks of October 7, 2023. The film–which previously aired on KAN in Israel–is currently playing the film festival circuit, including the Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema, and appears to be available through Vimeo on Demand.

This film, like #NOVA, is not an easy watch but it is still important to bear witness. I had to press pause no less than three different times while watching the 52-minute film. Between survivor testimonies and footage from October 7, it is very easy to feel emotionally numb after viewing. And yet, there are people treating October 7 like those who deny the Holocaust. It is neo-Holocaust denial and there is no place for this in our society. Don’t believe me? There are videos from city council meetings were people say it never happened or that it was an inside job by the IDF. There are people who say that the rapes never happened. It is sickening, disturbing, and such remarks have their roots in antisemitism.

Filmmakers Yossi Bloch and Duki Dror take a different approach to their film than #NOVA. Where the other film focuses exclusively on archival video and audio, this one captures post-October 7 testimonials with survivors, parents, and a community police officer. The parent in question is Ilan Regev–two of his children were taken hostage. BH, his children would have their release during November’s temporary ceasefire. Still, you cannot help but feel the pain while listening to the audio recordings of the phone calls on that morning. Meanwhile, Hananya Benjamin recollects his experiences as a police officer responding to the events of the day. By the time that either police or the IDF arrived, it was too late for many Nova victims.

Bloch and Dror started the filmmaking process two days after the barbaric attacks. It is through eight Nova survivors in which the day is revisited. Audiences will learn how the attendees came to be at the festival in addition to a play-by-play of what happened as soon as the loud booms were heard overheard. Some survived after waiting it out in a bomb shelter along the road. Others would get incredibly lucky by hiding by sitting down in a portable restroom. Hamas was firing at every restroom so the mere fact of these two surviving is incredible in and of itself. The film reconstructs the events in chronological order using footage made available to the filmmakers from:

  • Hamas’ own cameramen and GoPros
  • Victims’ mobile phones
  • CCTV footage
  • Dash cams
  • First responders on site

Editor Dima Keidar and additional editors Maya Stark and Jens Greuner have the tough job of putting this film together. I certainly cannot even imagine being in their shoes just from my own knowledge of how often editors watch a film. It is not only having to watch footage again and again but blurring out bodies of victims while footage is on screen.

During the past few months, a number of Jewish and Israeli activists have directed social media followers to the Netflix form for requesting titles. Unfortunately, this campaign is all for nothing as the form is for previously licensed titles–I’ve had this confirmed by Netflix. For this documentary to reach a wider audience, distributors would have to get in touch with the sales team. A number of foreign broadcasters have already acquired it for their markets. None of which have acquired it for American audiences, which is why the film festival turnouts are so important. Whether any US distributor acquires the documentary is still up in the air. I hope someone does because it would go a long way in fighting back against antisemitism and allow audiences to bear witness.

Supernova: The Music Festival Massacre is an essential documentary that allows audiences to bear witness to tragedy.

DIRECTORS: Yossi Bloch, Duki Dror
FEATURING: Shoval Roberman, Tomer Weiner, Racheli Nahmias, Michal Ohana, Noam Cohen, Gali Amar, Amit Amar, Ilan Regev, Hananya Benjamin

Supernova: The Music Festival Massacre holds its Chicago premiere during the Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema. Grade: 5/5

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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.