Banner image - The People and the Olive

The People and The Olive (2013)

Monday, September 16, 2013, 6:45 p.m.

Location: The Little Theatre, 240 East Avenue Rochester NY ~ Tickets $8 from The Little box office

Film run time: 1:10 ~ Style: documentary ~ Language: English ~ Format: video projection ~ Year released: 2012

What do olive trees mean to Palestinian farmers? Olives are their livelihood, their source of sustenance and the way they root themselves, historically and spiritually, to the land. But Palestinians are denied access to nearly 30 percent of their beloved olive trees in the West Bank as they struggle to live under Israeli military occupation. How do they persevere? And what should the international community understand about Palestinian olive farmers, who love their land and harvest it every season to feed their families — just as farmers across the world do?

In response, filmmaker Aaron Dennis and journalist Jacob Wheeler created an inspiring film to highlight the plight of the Palestinians. Together, they documented The Run Across Palestine in February 2012, an effort by six Americans to run 129 miles in five days across the West Bank, in order to raise awareness about the struggles of Palestinian fair trade olive farmers, and replant uprooted olive trees. The run transcended the daily news stories and addressed the visible and hidden impacts from the loss of traditional farmlands for the individual farmers and their families, and bridged cultures along the way.

“They planted so we ate. Now we plant so they eat. Past generations planted these trees that we’re eating from and are supporting our lives, and we plant trees for our future generations to support their lives.”

— Palestine Fair Trade Association founder Nasser Abufarha

The People and The Olive from Stone Hut Studios on Vimeo.


Aaron Dennis
Aaron Dennis

Aaron Dennis is director of The People and the Olive. He founded Stone Hut Studios, which creates Internet videos for good-for-the-world causes, companies, and campaigns. He has worked across the globe to tell the stories of non-profits and humanitarian organizations. A graduate of the University of Michigan’s Film Program, Dennis has been a part of several national PBS documentaries and specializes in filming, editing, and motion graphics. He’ll participate with us through Skype.

Robert Massoud
Robert Massoud

Robert Massoud will connect with our panel from Toronto were he founded:

  • Zatoun (Olive), which imports fair trade olive oil from Palestine, and
  • Beit Zatoun (House of Olive), a culture center and art gallery around issues of justice and human rights for all communities

Born in Jerusalem, he’s a Palestinian-Canadian. He graduated from University of Toronto in Political Economy and consults independently in business strategy, communication, and marketing technology.

He was awarded YMCA Peace Medallion for Greater Toronto, which recognized his contributions to promoting greater understand of cultural and political realities surrounding Israel / Palestine through personal initiative and action.

The ultimate goal is to help create preconditions for peaceful solutions in Palestine-Israel by encouraging understanding and dialogue between Canadian Jews, Canadian Palestinians and other communities in Canadian society.

Through long experience in volunteerism, Massoud has learned that individuals wanting to bring about good and do good need concrete programs of actions to feel engaged and to be truly satisfied in their contribution. For most, what is missing in the field of Middle East peacemaking is a personal sense of effectiveness and hope for peace or even progress.

He’ll participate with us through Skype from Toronto.