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October 7th Documentary - SURVIVAL (working title)

The Halmy Brothers
Words + Pictures
USC Shoah Foundation


October 7, 2023

     On the morning of October 7, 2023, Hamas led a simultaneous wave of assaults on Israeli civilian communities and military posts. The dawn attack began when Hamas launched over 5,000 rockets from Gaza into Israel, then used these strategic barrages as cover to breach the border. In this massive surprise onslaught on southern Israel, Hamas terrorists committed unfathomable atrocities, including widespread sexual violence against women, that have reverberated globally.

     The attacks claimed the lives of more than 1,143 individuals, including 767 civilians, 36 children, and 376 security forces.  The youngest person killed was 10 months old, and 25 were people over age 80. They left over 3,400 people wounded and resulted in 247 being taken hostage.  The attack is considered the bloodiest day in Israel's history and the deadliest for Jews since the Holocaust.  Victims of the terror also included Israeli Arabs, Thai and Nepalese nationals.


This is a story about common people, and their uncommon, harrowing and unimaginable feats of survival. Our goal is to tell the larger story of October 7 through 4 main subjects in 4 specific locations. Through these main subject’s intimate footage and testimonials, we will recount the hour-by-hour unfolding of events. As we navigate these main stories, we will include sub-plots that convey the feverish communications erupting throughout Israel. Local footage will depict the slow awareness and mobilization within the country while international footage will show the growing global awareness that “something is going on.” Ultimately, found footage and testimonials from our main subjects will include both the wide spread violence and their personal journies of survival.

Given the disturbing and sensitive content of the events, it is paramount that we prioritize objectivity and avoid sensationalizing.  The hands of the filmmakers must be relatively invisible as the stories unfold.  The best way to accomplish this is to prioritize survivor testimonials, found footage, archival footage, news media, and other primary sources. With our main subject’s personal footage, the large body of alternative found footage, the media archives and the testimonials of the Shoah Foundation, this documentary will show an honest, visceral, and extremely personal portrait of October 7th.

The truth of this day is undeniably horrifying, but our goal is to avoid over-emphasizing the death and destruction that many faced (although this sad truth is part of our main character search criteria). Our ultimate goal is to land on stories of hope against all odds, selflessness, and the unforeseen bond of family and countryman that allows our main subjects to survive.  While being extremely careful not to paper over any of the events of the day, we will look deeply for examples of humanity in the face of violence and tragedy.

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Black screen with white text:  October 7, 2023

A Satellite view of Israel and the region. The iconic shape. We are 10,000 feet up.

Under continuous morning news soundbites we see:

Tech offices opening, people watering crops at a moshav, the market in Gaza, Netenyahu TV speech pre-roll, etc.

Establish our MAIN LOCATIONS

Simple life at Kibbutz Kfar Aza

Re'im Music Festival DJ shouts to the crowd still dancing at sunrise


Self shot footage of home, video messages to family, texts, IG/FB posts.

When introducing new people, we cut to black screen and ID our subject.


We land on a longer shot of a parachuting dune-buggy slowly bobbing and floating overhead.

CCTV footage of a border fence, grainy and empty. Nothing seems to be happening until two figures enter frame and begin to cut the fence.

Go Pro footage of motorcycle brigades.

Masked men with rifles running through open field.

We cut between our main characters who are becoming aware something is wrong.


Rockets overhead.

Phone calls being made and texts being sent. Something big is happening. Something more dangerous than usual.

Using strong audio effects and mix, the sounds of violence start to increase.

Our main characters perceive danger and begin to take action.

A run of newscasts illuminate the widespread attack that is unfolding, bouncing between locations as commentators rattle off information and stranded people call in. A country wide attack is apparent.


We settle in with our main characters at their respective locations as their personal journeys guide us through one of the bloodiest and ruthless acts of terror in modern history. At this point we will toggle between each of their unique situations of escalating danger, intimate attempts to stay alive, and personal explanation of the situation through their testimonials. We hear our characters express stark assessments of the survival of their friends, family, and themselves. Unfortunately, the violence is relentless.  Our character's perspective of the day dictates how this all unfolds. 


Our main characters' fates hit a crossroads. Over the course of act 3 we witness the heartbreaking reality that some have perished and others taken hostage.  Simultaneously, we will see that some, through heroic acts of self preservation, and unlikely help, have survived.

In the final sequence of the film, we reveal the scope of trauma and pain from the day. Our main characters resolve the day in their own words (or family members can memorialize a fallen character). We will reinforce the tragedy, heroism, solidarity, and hope of this turning point in world history.




The unifying layer for the patchwork of visuals will be the music.  Thoughtful, intentional, and subtly emotional, this score will provide a tasteful brushstroke of artistry that will contrast elegantly with the objective nature of the footage.  A consistent musical language across the entire film will help create foundation to an otherwise chaotic experience. Our score will rely on dynamics, especially as it pertains to escalating tension and violence.  Nothing should be “on-the-nose” and there must be an understanding of when to rest as well as when to rise.

Raw Media

Digging through endless hours of footage will be a challenge but it is important to look deeper into the raw media in order to find authentic moments.  Not just the ones that jump out, but the moments that tend to accidentally convey a sense of humanity. Examples of this would be the glass of water a politician drinks before giving a televised speech, or potentially some of the more mundane moments before the event caught on social media at the Nova festival. Keeping an eye on pre-roll, post-roll, and b-roll will aid the story in unique ways.

Social Media

It is impossible to tell this story without referencing various online platforms.  From WhatsApp and Facebook to more local forms of online communication, the communication that occurred on that day will play a major role in an honest recounting of events. In order to avoid the trope of attempting a mock UI on screen, we envision a black card with white/light gray speech bubbles, text, and timestamps.   Also on-screen (but small) is the logo of the platform a given dialogue is being pulled


Elegant use of white text on black cards for names, locations, social media conversations and other important information will provide weight and patience to understanding the "who, where and when" of the day's events.  Font choice, distress to the black background, and other design choices will be made with subtlety and intention in mind.

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By revealing the day, in its raw form, this documentary will give the audience a moment to internalize the scope of trauma inflicted on the people of Israel.  Hearing personal testimonials from people who lived through the nightmare will garner empathy and serve as a reminder to the world that hope is still possible even after such darkness.

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