Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Art in the Fight for Freedom: Films Produced by Palestinian Filmmakers

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Art in the Fight for Freedom: Films Produced by Palestinian Filmmakers

Article excerpt

Funded by Kickstarter and international grants, the next generation of Palestinian filmmakers are operating out of a refugee camp in the northern West Bank town of Jenin.

"Not everybody in the world knows that we are human, that we ride horses, that we have cars," said Mohammed Haj Ibrahim, a filmmaker, multimedia coordinator and instructor at the Freedom Theatre in Jenin. "We want them to know."

The short films were screened at the Palestine Center on May 23, 2017, to a small but invested audience ranging from college students to seniors. Chosen by a committee of directors from the Freedom Theatre, the three narratives depicted the lives of Palestinians in Jenin through different perspectives.

"Journey of a Freedom Fighter" follows Rabea Turkman, an ex-guerrilla fighter who laid down his gun to join the Freedom Theatre. Ibrahim began profiling Turkman shortly after he first joined the theater in 2007, but set the project aside to pursue others. Then, on April 30, 2013, Turkman died of kidney failure due to injuries sustained as a fighter during the second Palestinian intifada.

"After the funeral, the idea came back again," Ibrahim said. "[Rabea's] story should be shown to everyone, we can't hide it in our drawers."

The film has now been screened at seven film festivals around the globe, from Europe to America. The most emotional, however, was the screening at the Freedom Theatre, with Turkman's friends and family in the audience. After the screening, a friend of Turkman's, shown in the film arguing against Turkman's decision to leave the armed resistance, stood up with tears in his eyes. …

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