Saturday, October 29, 2022 at 3:00 pm.
The Little Theatre
Director: Jaime Villarreal
Writer: Lorena Pen Jean
Run Time: 1:14
Language: English and Arabic with English subtitles
Awards: Cine Fertil Award for Cultural Diversity (LatinArab Film Festival, Oct. 2002 in Argentina)
About The Film
“We resist through art,” is the theme of Palestinian survival in the Jenin refugee camp, West Bank.
Twelve-year-old Wadee Manasara resists through his painting. “Every time the [Israeli] army enters the camp, I go to my room and start painting,” he says at the beginning of this film.
Another form of resistance is theater, a “safe space.” This movie is the story of actors and support crew from The Freedom Theatre in Jenin preparing for a trip to New York City to perform The Siege, a play about the Israeli Defense Forces occupation of Bethlehem in 2002.
But challenges arise:
- There are pressures from NYC that The Siege shouldn’t be presented
- A lead actor is denied a U.S. visa; another’s visa application is delayed
- Outbound travel would require passing through an Israeli checkpoint between the West Bank and Jordan for a flight to the U.S.
- It’s unclear whether U.S. Customs and Border Protection will admit the travelers on arrival
This cinéma verité portrayal highlights the joys and challenges of everyday life. “We Chose Art,” the closing proclaims.
Panelist, Director Jaime Villarreal
Director Jaime Villarreal will join the audience through Zoom immediately after the screening. Please plan to stay and discuss with him.
Director Villarreal said, “A challenge. That’s how I can describe my motivation [to make the film]. I am very passionate about telling a new story about the Palestine-Israeli conflict from another perspective, far from the passions that little big exploits leave hidden from attention… Within the violence of occupation there is light, there is hope, and [The Freedom Theatre] stories have a poetic power that I have rarely seen.”
Villarreal is a native of Chile and a journalist as well as a filmmaker. He went to NYU film school and currently serves as CEO of Alto Andes Production Company, where they develop and execute creative content for different media and platforms.