Not a Hero

A film by Rubi Gat

Yam doesn't like when people tell him no. No, you can't act on stage, no, you can't fly with your family, no, you can't go out with your friends for a beer. Especially not if the reason is his wheelchair.

But when they told him he couldn't be drafted into the army, he set out on the battle of his life.

Not a Hero is a hand in hand journey with a disability.

Director Statement

When Yam, my eldest son, was nine months old he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. My partner and I were in complete shock. Like many parents in this situation we denied the facts and refused to believe the truth. We vowed to raise him like ‘everyone else’ and defeat the disability. I ran around with Yam from one doctor to another, to therapists and healers, riding horses and therapeutic swimming, from hope to despair.

One day I collapsed from exhaustion, from neglecting my career, from dealing with one thing alone – the war against Yam’s disability. When I was a teenager, the age that Yam is now, I understood that I was gay. In the 1970s this seemed like the end of the world. I felt that my sexuality was a disability. I tried to fight it. I wanted to be like ‘everyone else’ and I failed. With the passing years I have learned to love my own differences and I have discovered in them strength and goodness.

In the process of raising Yam I realized that just like I could not ‘fix’ my sexuality, it was unlikely that I would succeed in fixing Yam’s disability. More importantly, there is no need to try. I am better able to make the most of what life has given me if I don’t waste my strength on senseless battles.

When Yam was four years old I bought him a motorized wheelchair. Everyone around me objected to this but it was clear to me that attaining independence was Yam’s best chance of having a life that he could control and for that he needed a motorized wheelchair – without the need to depend on others to push him here or there.

That is the way I have raised Yam. At home we speak openly. I have taught Yam not to be ashamed. I have fought against all the systems (mainly the Ministry of Education) to provide access for Yam’s wheelchair. Yam is an articulate young man with a sharp tongue. He doesn’t hesitate to speak frankly about most issues. He vigorously fights for the rights of the disabled and at the same time he does not pity himself or ask for special treatment from life or from us. Except for accessibility, if Yam can get there, he will be successful.

But life challenges us from directions we haven’t considered, like, how can you prepare your son for his first date?

“Not a Hero” is an intimate film that was made over a period of five years and documents his development and that of our family. We shot most of the film ourselves. Yam shoots with a Go Pro camera attached to his wheelchair and I have my small camera and two iPads. We used professional photographers only in a few instances. Thus, family scenes remain intimate and genuine without the presence of a stranger, who by virtue of being there, even if only slightly, affects the authenticity.

About Rubi Gat

Jerusalem born, a father of three.
Director and producer of "Not a Hero", a film that depict the Journey of my son, A teenager in a wheelchair to be accepted to the army like his peers. 65 min.
Broadcaster: "Yes", Israel biggest satellite provider.
2017 - Director and co-producer of “Dear Fredy". The film tells the story of Fredy Hirsch, a Jewish educator and gay hero who ran a day care center for 600 kids in Auschwitz concentration camp. 74 min. for the Israeli broadcast service.

Calgary fairy tales queer festival – programmer's choice – best feature, 2020
Festival Vues d'en Face, Grenoble, France - audience award, 2019
Qfest, Houston, Texas - Grand Jury Prize award, 2018

1994-2010 - Chief video editor, BBC bureau in Jerusalem.
Writing: 2001 - “Rock Paper Scissors”, Scene Publishing, Israel.
A novel on the “first intifada” in Israel.

Festivals and Screenings:

Cincinnati Jewish Film Festival
Orangetown Jewish Film Festival

About the Film

65 minutes
Hebrew, Subtitles English & Hebrew

Director, Producer, Cameraman & Editor: Rubi Gat
Music: Ido Goldberg
Additional editing: Tali Hayat
Sound: Nati Taub
Script: Yam Gat, Rubi Gat & Noy Carmel
Camera: Yam Gat, Rubi Gat, Ido Gat, Royi Kanvasky, Jeff Springer.

TV broadcast by YES Doco, and Yes VOD





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