The West Bank and Gaza Strip have been under Israeli Military authority since 1967.

Over three million Palestinians live under Israeli occupation. When traveling from one village or city to another to go to work, to visit relatives, or to get medical treatment, they must pass through Israeli checkpoints. These checkpoints, essentially the first points of contact between the two people, have an enormous significance in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. From 2001 to 2003, Director Yoav Shamir filmed at these checkpoints. A chilling look at the destructive impact of the occupation on both societies.


80 minutes (56 min. version available), Israel 2003, Hebrew/Arabic/English

Director: Yoav Shamir

Cinematographer: Yoav Shamir

Screenwriter: Yoav Shamir

Editor: Era Lapid

Producers: Edna and Elinor Kowarsky, Eden Productions and Amit Breuer, Amythos Films

  • VPRO – Joris Ivens Award IDFA –International Documentary Festival Amsterdam, The Netherlands November, 2003;
  • Best International Documentary Feature Award Hot Docs – Canadian International Documentary Festival, Toronto, Canada – April 2004,
  • The Golden Gate Award San Francisco International Film Festival, USA – April 2004;
  • Special Documentary Award DOKFEST – Munich Documentary Festival, Germany – May 2004;
  • Cinematography Award Tel Aviv International Documentary Film Festival, Israel – April 2004
  • Special Jury Mention, First Prize for Innovative Photography
  • Documenta Madrid – Madrid International Documentary Festival, Spain May 2004
  • Best Documentary Award Newport International Film Festival, USA – June 2004;
  • Best Documentary Award Calgary International Film Festival, Canada – September 2004
  • Best Documentary Award Docupolis Festival, Barcelona, Spain – October 2004
  • Winner of “The Golden Rib Award”, Zagreb International Film Festival,Croatia – October 2004
  • Nominated for the “EUROPEAN FILM ACADEMY DOCUMENTARY 2004 – PRIX ARTE” Award.
  • Winner of the Special Documentary Prize Entrevues Film Festival Belfort, France – November 2004
  • Winner of the Point of View Prize for Best Film Int’l Documentary Film Festival of Navarra – Punto de Vista, Spain – February 2005
  • Winner of the “Magnolia” Award for Best Documentary in the Humanities, The 11th Shanghai Television Festival People’s Republic of China – June 2005
  • Special Mention by the Jury, 4th Roma International Documentary Film Festival, Italy – June 2005
  • VPRO – The Netherlands
  • Channel 8 – Noga communications
  • YLE, Finland
  • DR, Denmark
  • VRT, Belgium
  • SVT, Sweden
  • SABC, South Africa
  • Televisio Catalunya, Spain
  • Sundance, United States
  • Documentary Channel, Canada
  • CBC, Canada
  • The New Israel Foundation for TV and Cinema

“Theatre of the absurd at a series of Israeli border crossings” (Jury Statement, IDFA – International Documentary Film Festival, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2003)

“Working on the frontlines, MAHSSOMIM – CHECKPOINT bravely confronts one of the most explosive geopolitical situations in all its absurdity and danger, offering all viewers a new perspective” (Jury Statement DOKFEST Munich – Munich Documentary Festival, Germany, 2004)

The strongest of the many films dealing with political issues at this time, and it does so in a very pure and simple way” (Variety, USA)

…Shamir silently leads us, without any compassion, into deeper, darker ‘atmospheres’ where only very rarely a sunray can be spotted. This movie is much more than only a library on political analysis! …Checkpoint deals with the psychology of cruelty and humiliation and portray in in an absurd light the politics behind the checkpoints…” (Het Parool, The Netherlands)

The most remarkable film of the IDFA festival.” (Vrij Nederland)