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The Other Israel Film Festival, Nov. 12 to Nov 19, 2009

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There are more than a dozen films at the Third Annual Other Israel Film Festival, among them a satire called “Arab Labor”; a documentary, “City of Borders,” about a gay bar in Jerusalem; a portrait of an Arab-Israeli journalist felt caught in the middle (“The Arabs think he’s a collaborator. The Jews think he’s a drunk”) entitled “Forever Scared.” The “other Israel,” in other words, are Israeli Arabs.

The festival “is not about the conflict – it is not about taking sides – this festival is about people,” writes the festival’s founder Carol Zabar (yes, of the Zabar’s food family)

Here is a list of the films in the festival. For times and locations, and to purchase tickets, click here.

Arab Labor
Israel, 2008, 75 minutes
Director:
Roni Ninio
More episodes from the successful groundbreaking satire, following Amjad, a 35-year-old Arab journalist, married to Bushara (a social worker) and father to Maya. Torn between his desire to become the darling of the In-crowd on one hand, and represent the suffering of Arabs at any given forum, he is mocked and criticized by his family and close community. Amjad’s only ally is his friend Meir (an Israeli Jew) – a photographer who works with him at the newspaper, a sworn bachelor who falls In love with Amal, Bushara’s feminist Arab friend.
trailer httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amavnEfOP2w

Badal
Israel, 2005, 56 minutes
Director:
Ibtisam Mara’na
‘A Badal deal marriage’ is the common practice of a Muslim tradition where a brother and sister from one family marry a sister and brother from another family – interlocking the two couples forever. Divorce on the part of one couple will immediately lead to the divorce of the other part of the deal. The film follows a family during the process of putting such a deal together. It portrays the lives of Palestinian women living within Israel, their difficulties and struggle to be a part of their traditional society vs. the quest to maintain their full rights as women, and citizens of a democratic state.

City of Borders
USA, 2009, 67 minutes
Director:
Yun Suh
In the heart of Jerusalem stands an unusual symbol of unity that defies generations of segregation, violence and prejudice: a gay bar called Shushan. This award-winning documentary goes inside this underground sanctuary where people of opposing nationalities, religions and sexual orientations create an island of peace in a land divided by war. Through a coclorful cast of characters from all walks of life, the film explores the effort to find and share a sense of community in spite of differences of religion and nationality.

ID Blues
Israel, 2008, 100 minutes
Director:
Chaim Yavin
Two new episodes from the five-part travel-log by legendary news person Chaim Yavin, examining different sectors of Arabs living in Israel, presenting matters of life, history, and culture in Arab society in Israel.

Jaffa
Israel/France/Germany, 2009, 100 minutes
Director:
Keren Yedaya
In this Cannes Film Festival favorite, Director Keren Yedaya (Or) brings forth the dramatic story of Mali, who lives with her family in Jaffa, and works with her brother and father at the family owned car repair shop. Mali falls in love with Tauffik, a mechanic in the garage. Despite underlying racism and jealousy that surrounds them, their love affair grows. When Mali finds out she is pregnant, the couple decides to run away and get married abroad. On the morning of the flight, a tragic event reshapes this couple’s future.

Laila’s Birthday
Netherlands/Palestine/Tunisia, 2008, 72 minutes
Director:
Rashid Masharawi
A comically existential fable about a day in the life of a former-judge-turned-taxi driver, on the day of his daughter Laila’s seventh birthday. His only goal is to be home early with a present and a cake, but life takes him through many twists and turns before he gets home. His customers include a young Romeo who hires the taxi to have a place “alone” with his lover; a housewife who’ll stop anywhere there’s a free-food giveaway, armed Palestinian militia members, and an ex-convict who leaves his cell phone in the cab.

Sayed Kashua – Forever Scared
Israel, 2009, 56 minutes
Director:
Dorit Zimbalist
Despite being one of Israel’s leading columnists, novelists and screenwriter, Sayed Kashua feels he doesn’t belong. The Jews don’t like him because he’s an Arab. The Arabs don’t like him because he’s successful. The Arabs think he’s a collaborator. The Jews think he’s a drunk. He’s always the “other” and he’s always scared. This intimate portrait follows Kashua over seven years through the upheavals and events that change his life, wandering from place to place, from nation to nation, belonging neither here nor there.

SAZ – The Palestinian Rapper for Change
Israel, 2005, 51 minutes
Director:
Gil Karni
An intimate documentary following budding Palestinian-Israeli hip-hop star from Ramlah, Sameh Zakout, a.k.a. Saz. The film follows his transformation from a young unknown rap singer into an international success, as well as his youthful quest for identity transformed into the voice of a struggling nation. The film also focuses on his relationship with his grandfather, an Israeli-Arab communist. Their conversations reveal their differing ideologies: “I don’t see my Palestine being built by blood,” says Saz. “It should be built by negotiations, not bombings. My bullets are my rhymes. My M-16 is my microphone.”

Shorts
60 minutes
A Journey into the next generation of films by and about Arab citizens or Israel.
-Heavy Silence
Director:
Maysaloun Hamoud
Visions and pieces of memory are unveiled through a small crack in Alla’s prison cell. Through these excerpts of memory and fantasy Alla faces the futility of family honor and discovers the fate of the woman he loves.
-Two (Shnaim)
Director:
Shimon Richik
In the midst of the war in Gaza, a mixed Arab and Israeli couple debate the question of military service.
-Bus Station – Ir-Amim
Director:
Lily Sheffy
Two women, Arab and Jew meet at a bus stop in Jerusalem after a trip to the market. When their bags of tomatoes get confused they begin to understand the similarities and differences of their worlds.
-Tel Aviv – Jaffa
Director:
Boaz Rosenberg
A look into one of the unifiers of Israeli Jewish and Arab society – Hummus. This short documentary part of the Tel Aviv-100 docu-challenge project follows one of Yafo’s oldest and proudest establishments.
-Oranges
Director:
Maha Assal
A sweet story of friendship and neighbors. A man is angered by his neighbor picking oranges off his tree and decides to seek revenge.

Telling Strings
Switzerland, 2007, 60 minutes
Director:
Anne-Marie Haller
A rare look into the profound workings of the Jubran family, a Palestinian family of musicians from al-Rameh village in the northern Galilee. The Father, Elias, a musician and instructor has been building traditional string instruments such as ouds and bouzouqs in his al-Rameh workshop since 1965. The film connects the history of two generations and questions cultural identity between protest, resignation and hope.

The Invisible
Israel, 2009, 70 minutes
Director:
Gil Karni
A 12-year-long diary of the Bedouin village “Arab al-Na’im” in the Galillee and their struggle for their rights. The people of Arab al-Na’im have inhabited their land for the past 200 years, serve in the Israeli army, yet live in tin huts, without electricity or running water, and in constant struggle with the Israeli administration to be v

Voices from El Sayed
Israel, 2008, 75 minutes
Director:
Oded Adomi Leshem
In the picturesque Israeli Negev desert, the Bedouin village of El-Sayed has the largest percentage of deaf people in the world. Through the generations, a unique sign language has evolved making it the most popular language in this rare society, which accepts deafness as natural as life itself. The village’s tranquility is interrupted by Salim’s decision to change his deaf son’s fate and make him a hearing person using the Cochlear Implant Operation.

Zahara
Israel, 2009, 60 minutes
Director:
Mohammad Bakri
With touching personal style and breathtaking cinematography, Director Mohammad Bakri tells the story of his 78 year old aunt Zahara, from the times of pre-state Palestine to present, leading the family with love and wisdom through the many trials of life.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dDFhxi5t_E