2014 Witness Palestine Film Series

In May, I told you the dates for the 2014 Witness Palestine Film Series. Now that our program is set, here’s information about all seven events, the first of which occurs this month. You should be able to click through to the details on our web site, WitnessPalestineRochester.org.


My Name is Rachel Corrie
Sunday, September 21 at Noon
Monday, September 22 at 8:00 p.m.
MuCCC Theatre, 42 Atlantic Avenue

This is a live, one-woman theater performance, part of the Rochester Fringe Festival. The play is based on Rachel Corrie’s diaries, edited by Alan Rickman and Katharine Viner. The Witness Palestine Film Series helped bring this event to Rochester.

Rachel was an American peace activist, killed in March 2003 while defending a host family’s home from being demolished by an Israeli bulldozer. In the play, we witness the maturation of a girl who is on a search to find her voice. When she does, we watch her use it to speak for a people who have been silenced by occupation.

Ticketed separately by the Rochester Fringe Festival.


Celebrate Palestine
Sunday, November 9, 5:008:00 p.m.
Asbury First United Methodist Church, 1050 East Avenue, Rochester NY

One of the important goals of Witness Palestine is to gain an understanding of and appreciation for Palestinian history and culture, both of which get lost in strident regional politics. To this end Celebrate Palestine is intended to be a first-hand exploration of Palestinian food, music, and literature.

Palestinian Suzi Aboud will cater a full Palestinian dinner including a traditional entrée, salad, condiments, and dessert. After dinner, there will be an open mic evening. You’re invited to read your favorite Palestinian prose or poetry – or just listen. All are welcome to participate. There will also be plenty of Palestinian music and perhaps an impromptu attempt at dabke, a modern Arab folk dance.


Thursday, October 30, 6:30 p.m. It’s Better to Jump
St. John Fisher College, Basil 135, 3690 East Avenue, Rochester NY

Hear the hopes and challenges of Palestinians living in Acre, Israel. The title refers to a rite of passage for young people, jumping off the precipice of the Ottoman-era sea wall into the Mediterranean.

Panelist: to be announced by St. John Fisher College

Sunday, November 16, 2:00 p.m. When I Saw You
The Little, 240 East Avenue, Rochester NY

The setting is 1967 and at a refugee camp near Amman, Jordan. New refugees are arriving frequently in the aftermath of the six-day war – joining some who came after the Nakba. Ghaydaa and her 11-year-old son Tarek are among the new arrivals. They don’t know what happened to their husband/father; perhaps he was killed in the fighting. This narrative explores Palestinian exiles’ longing to return home.

Panelist for the discussion immediately following the screening: Annemarie Jacir, director of this film. Via Skype.

Monday, November 17, 6:45 p.m. On the Side of the Road
The Little, 240 East Avenue

Filmmaker Lia Tarachansky is a Jew who was born in Kiev. When she was six her family moved to the Ariel settlement in the West Bank. Her mother wanted to contribute to Zionism, Lia said.

Tarachansky turns the camera on herself as she revisits settlements and interviews current residents. She says her goal is just to examine and narrate.

Panelist: Lia Tarachansky, this film’s director; in person.

Sunday, November 23, 2:00 p.m. Voices Across the Divide
The Little, 240 East Avenue

Filmmaker Alice Rothchild is an American Jew raised on the tragedies of the Holocaust and the dream of a Jewish homeland in Israel. Voices Across the Divide follows her personal journey as she begins to understand the Palestinian narrative while exploring the Palestinian experience of loss, occupation, statelessness, and immigration to the US. The documentary is both a personal journey to understand the Palestinian narrative as well as the implications and contradictions of deeply held cultural beliefs in the Jewish community.

Panelist: Alice Rothchild, co-director of this film; in person.

Monday, November 24, 6:45 p.m. Stone Cold Justice and From al-Araqib to Susiya
The Little, 240 East Avenue

In the first film, a reporter travels to the West Bank to hear the stories of children who claim they have been taken into custody, ruthlessly questioned, and then allegedly forced to sign confessions before being taken to court for sentencing.

The second film describes Israeli suppression of the eponymous villages, one in the Negev west of the green line, the other in the West Bank near Hebron.


  • Brad Parker, an attorney and international advocacy officer with Defence for Children International Palestine, an independent child-rights organization dedicated to defending and promoting the rights of children living in the occupied territories. In person
  • Nadia Ben-Youssef, USA Representative for Adalah, the Haifa-based organization that produced From al-Araqib to Susiya. Via Skype.

Series Pass

New this year is a series pass that admits you to five events for the price of four: Celebrate Palestine and the four programs at The Little. You can buy your pass at the first program — or from The Little. Note that the film at St. John Fisher College is free and open to the public.

Please say “hello” when I see you at these events.

Jim Tiefenthal
Witness Palestine Film Series

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