Just Vision News – ‘From Gaza to LA, storytelling in challenging times’.

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Dear Andrew,

I’m writing after a few full, meaningful weeks on the road with Naila and the Uprising. I wanted to take a moment to share about a special event that our team has been waiting for in anticipation: our premiere in Gaza last week.

Gaza was the birthplace of the First Intifada and residents across gender, socio-economic class and political party were drawn in by the dynamism, creativity, and sense of unity that the unarmed civil resistance movement inspired. That was the impetus for hundreds of Gaza’s residents to come out on Thursday night to our film premiere. The screening hall was overflowing — upwards of 300 people in attendance and more than 800 people on the waiting list. One of the organizers remarked that it was one of the most diverse audiences he had ever seen come together in Gaza.

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Protagonist Azza Kafarneh with co-producers Fadi Abu Shammalah and Jen Marlowe during the Q&A
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Overflowing audience at the Gaza premiere

The audience erupted spontaneously into applause at several scenes, but it was the post-screening discussion that really generated buzz. One woman in her early twenties stood up to reflect on what she could do to bring women back to the core of civil resistance in Palestine. We were quietly humbled. That young women in Palestine are seeing Naila and the Uprising and feeling moved to action has been a rewarding experience for our team and a testament to the wisdom of the veteran Palestinian women whose legacy is brought to life in the film.  

And it’s not just young women who are being moved by this story. One of the marvels of the First Intifada is that it pulled every sector of the population into a unified, strategic and creative nonviolent resistance effort. The day after the screening, our team in Gaza — Fadi Abu Shammalah, Mohammed Abu Safia, and Jen Marlowe — visited a strawberry farmer who had attended the screening. He told them that he hadn’t been to a gathering like that in years, but when he heard what the film was about, he knew he had to be there. It was his history, and he had the chance to revisit it alongside his co-activists from the time. More importantly, he got to share it with the next generation: young Palestinians spearheading the Great Return March and other acts of civil resistance that are ongoing today.

Stories like these are still pouring in, and they firmly remind us of the power of storytelling that lifts up everyday people struggling for their rights, women taking the helm of civil resistance and communities rising together in the name of freedom, rights and dignity.

Our Gaza premiere took place amidst several other developments, and I’m delighted to share some of those below, along with a snapshot of what’s ahead:

Just Vision in the Press

We’ve been working closely with journalists and media-makers, ensuring audiences are paying attention to the power of Palestinian and Israeli grassroots resistance efforts and the women at the frontlines. Here are three pieces I thought you would appreciate:

Amanpour & Company, with Just Vision’s Creative Director, Julia Bacha and Outreach and Education Director, Rula Salameh

The Washington Post, article by Just Vision’s Communication Manager, Daniel Nerenberg

The Intercept, review of Naila and the Uprising

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 Our Canada and LA premieres and more

This past week we had an exciting series of engagements: simultaneous Canada premieres in Ottawa and Toronto; our LA premiere with Human Rights Watch Southern California co-presented by the Center for Media and Social Impact; our Florida premiere at the Global Peace Film Festival; and screenings at festivals in Scotland and Australia.

In Toronto, we were joined on-stage for the first time by Naila’s son, Majd, who spoke with the audience about what it means for his generation to hear this story 30 years later. In Ottawa, I joined the Nobel Women’s Initiative at the One World Film Festival, tying Naila and the Uprising to women’s struggles the world over. In Orlando, Emma Alpert shared the film with educators and an engaged community at the Global Peace Film Festival.

 

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Protagonist Majd Zakout speaks during the Q&A at TPFF in Toronto

 

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Suhad Babaa with the Nobel Women’s Initiative

 

 

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Q&A at the Toronto Palestine Film Festival
Suhad Babaa speaks on a panel at the One World Film Festival

Finally, stay tuned for the official announcement of the launch of Naila and the Uprising in Israel! In just a few short weeks we’ll be hosting the film on our Hebrew-language news site, Local Call. That, coupled with a series of launch events in Israel and Palestine, will kick off our community and education campaign around Naila and the Uprising in the region.

 Stay up-to-date with screenings near you on our events page, Just Vision in the news on our press page, and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. And for those who read Hebrew, follow our daily news coverage of events in the region on Local Call, with select articles cross-published in English by our partners on +972 Magazine here.

With anticipation and appreciation,    

 Suhad Babaa

Executive Director, Just Vision

Executive Producer, Naila and the Uprising

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