Emile Bokaer: We Play Cinema

2024 Filmmaker in Residence

We Play Cinema is a multi-generational documentary self-portrait by Emile Bokaer, created in collaboration with his father Tsvi Bokaer.  Blending contemporary observational footage with Tsvi’s long-lost 1960s films, son and father place past and present in direct conversation, to illuminate the lasting truth: cinema is as essential as life itself. Tsvi Bokaer (born Elie Boccara) fell madly in love with the movies as a child, and continued dreaming “screen stories” his whole life – including now at 82.  A “wandering jew”, Tsvi lived in Tunis, Paris, Israel, Berkeley, and Los Angeles, before landing in Ithaca, New York, where he built and ran our family movie theater Fall Creek Pictures, for years. Through footage filmed over the past decade, We Play Cinema shows Tsvi’s gradual transformation, from viewing himself as a failed filmmaker, only to excitedly return to producing original films for the first time in decades.

Emile Bokaer is a documentary filmmaker. His recent work as a producer includes A Field Guide to Coastal Fortifications (World Premiere IFF Rotterdam 2023, Winner Best Film Award BelDocs 2023), and The Street Network, a Stripe Press short film. His previous films have shown internationally, including at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, DocPoint Helsinki, and the Media That Matters Film Festival. Emile has worked in key roles on several other award-winning films and series including The F Word (ITVS Indie Lens Storycast 2018, LA Film Festival 2018, Gotham Awards Nominee 2018), True Conviction (Tribeca Film Festival 2017, Independent Lens broadcast, Nonfiction Vanguard Award San Francisco Independent Documentary Festival), True Son (Tribeca Film Festival 2014) and INFORMANT (IDFA; Winner Grand Jury Prize DOC NYC 2012). He owns and operates the San Francisco production company Dogpatch Films, and is a graduate of Stanford University’s MFA Program in Documentary Film & Video. He lives and works in San Francisco, CA.

Project description and bios courtesy of the Resident

Project Status
Filmmaker Residency Year
Running Time
80 minutes