Although she was born and raised in Belgium, Vanessa Lapa has been living and working in Israel since 1995. A talented polyglot and accomplished journalist, she produced and directed over one hundred news reports and documentaries for Israeli television. She was deeply involved on the Israeli side of content and production for „New York Times“-columnist Thomas Friedman’s riveting 52-minute documentary „Straddling the Fence“ (USA, 2003), which was aired worldwide.
In 2006, Vanessa founded Realworks, Ltd., an independent production house, based in Tel Aviv, which specializes in documentary film. „Olmert: Concealed Documentary“ (Israel, 2009), one of the company’s earliest projects, was hailed as a uniquely insightful achievement in cinéma verité. The film featured behind-the-scenes revelations about the private and public life of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
At the time, Vanessa was already hard at work on „The Decent One“, an intimate look at SS Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler, the most powerful person in the Third Reich after Adolf Hitler. Having discovered that Himmler assiduously kept a diary throughout most of his life, Vanessa’s film offered an unprecedented and often surprising glimpse into the mind of this nefarious butcher. Vanessa researched, wrote, directed, and produced this remarkable document about this infamous but little-known man.
Eight years in the making, „The Decent One“ had its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival in 2014. It was an official selection for Panorama, which features the festival’s edgiest, most daring work. „The Decent One“ went on to win the Best Documentary Feature award at the Jerusalem Film Festival. All in all, it was an official selection in over 100 film festivals worldwide. It had a theatrical release in 50 countries and was broadcast in 60.
Vanessa followed this film with „Speer Goes to Hollywood“, a feature documentary about another Nazi official, Reichsminister for Armaments Albert Speer, told in his own words. The film has been officially selected for the Berlinale Special, and will have its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival in February 2020.