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The Viewing Booth


The Viewing Booth explores a space ostensibly off-limits to cinema — the internal experience of a viewer. In a lab-like location, Maia Levy, a young Jewish American woman, watches videos portraying life in the occupied West Bank, while verbalizing her thoughts and feelings. Maia is an enthusiastic supporter of Israel and the images, depicting Palestinian life under Israeli military rule, contradict some of her deep-seated beliefs. Empathy, anger, embarrassment, innate biases, and healthy curiosity — all play out before our eyes as we watch her watch the images. Her candid and immediate reactions form a one-of-a-kind cinematic testimony to the psychology of the viewer in the digital era.


  • Is ‘The Viewing Booth’ the Best Documentary of the Year?
    An experiment in how we watch — and the difference in what people see even when we’re watching the same thing — gives us one of the intriguing, vital movies of 2021
    David Fear
  • Critics Prize Winner
    “For this year’s Jury Prize, the Documentary Award goes to The Viewing Booth, a provocative exploration of personal bias, and how these steadfast opinions become rooted in our sense of identity. What could have been a more facile exercise in politicized judgment concerning the Israeli/Palestinian conflict instead becomes a vastly more thoughtful and moving examination of the ways people’s preconditioned belief systems disrupt true engagement with the other side. With its lone setting, inside a darkened media lab, the interplay between the director and their subject provides stark evocation of the difficulty in realizing significant societal change, even as lives hang perilously in the balance. Given the current, highly polemic state of our political discourse, the film becomes an essential watch in the Trump, and post-Trump, eras.”
    Jury statement

Festival Participation

  • Berlin International Film Festival - 2020
  • True/False Festival - 2020
  • CPH:DOX Festival - 2020
  • First Look Film Festival, Museum of the Moving Image - 2020
  • Hot Springs DFF - 2020
    Critic’s Choice
  • Ann Arbor - 2021
  • Camden International Film Festival - 2020
  • Sheffield Doc/Fest - 2020
  • Dokufest Kosovo - 2020
  • Ji Halva - 2020
  • Watchdocs Warsaw - 2020

Additional Materials

Distribution Company

ROCO Films Logo
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