Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

Reel Struggles for Justice: Film Director Julia Bacha Talks about the Making of Budrus

Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

Reel Struggles for Justice: Film Director Julia Bacha Talks about the Making of Budrus

Article excerpt

THERE ARE CIVILIAN peacemakers in Israel and Palestine that the international media never covers. In the documentary Budrus, Brazilian-born filmmaker Julia Bacha tells the story of locals and activists involved in nonviolent protest against an Israeli government decision to build a barrier wall in the small Palestinian village of the title. Becky Garrison, author of Jesus Died For This?, caught a press screening of Budrus, a film New York Times' columnist Nicholas Kristof dubbed "this year's must-see documentary," and spoke with Bacha about the film and her organization Just Vision at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Becky Garrison: What is the history and mission of Just Vision?

Julia Bacha: The overwhelming coverage [of the Middle East] for the past six decades focuses on the militants and politicians and ignores the actions of civilians. Just Vision was created about seven years ago to bring the stories from Israeli and Palestinian civil society that we are not getting into the international and U.S. mainstream media.

How do you select the films you will produce?

When we set out to do a film, we meet with dozens of people and follow several stories at the same time. Gradually we select the stories we believe are the most urgent for people to hear. For Budrus, I met with people from dozens of villages in the West Bank and asked them, "Who are the three people you most admire who are doing this work?"

Ayed Morrar, who is the leader of Budrus, came up first in every one of the interviews that I conducted. When I first met him, he was very reluctant to be the centerpiece of the movie because he's very much aware of the jealousies and infighting on the ground in determining who becomes the "face of the resistance." This made me realize that he was a person with a lot of integrity.

How did you maintain objectivity while filming such an explosive subject?

The notion of objectivity is a mirage. We are subjective human beings with prejudices. What we can do as journalists and filmmakers is be aware of our preconceptions and constantly challenge ourselves. When I go into the field, I ask myself, who do I need to meet to really challenge my preconceptions and broaden my horizon so I can learn? I come in with a lot of curiosity and respect for every side of this conflict. …

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