OPEN BETHLEHEM is a story of a homecoming to the world's most famous little town and a campaign to keep Bethlehem open to the world.


open_laurels.png

Reports predict that if trends continue the Christian community of Bethlehem, a city that provides a model for a multi-faith Middle East, may be unsustainable within one generation. The enormous wall and ongoing Israeli settlements are strangling the city. Leila Sansour's plan to stay a year stretches to seven, and is only resolved when she realizes that, sometimes, the biggest dreams take flight from the smallest places.

OPEN BETHLEHEM is a story of a homecoming to the world's most famous little town. The film spans seven momentous years in the life of Bethlehem, revealing a city of astonishing beauty and political strife under occupation. The film draws from 700 hours of original footage and some rare archive material. In fact the making of this film has led to the creation of the largest visual archive of Bethlehem in the world and plans are currently being discussed with University College London (UCL) to turn the collection into a museum.

While telling a personal story, the film charts the creation of a campaign, named Open Bethlehem, to compel international action to bring peace to the Middle East.

90 minutes
Language Options: English, French
English SDH Captioning for the Deaf & Hard-of-Hearing

Directed by Leila Sansour
Executive Producer: Waël Kabbani
Co-Producers: Jumana Al Husseini, Waël Kabbani, Nicholas Blincoe, Deborah Burton
Editors: Marianne Kuopanportti, Nidal Al Atrash
Music: Florencia Di Concilio
Animation: Arthur Cox
Writer: Leila Sansour
A Planet Bethlehem Production in association with Dubai Entertainment and Media Organisation and Iambic Dreams

Screening options:
$29.95 Home Use House Party DVD purchase (private use only)

COMMUNITY SCREENINGS (single events with license to charge admission)

$100 Small Community Screening (1-50 people)
$200 Medium Community Screening (51-100 people)
$350 Large Community Screening (100+ people)

"Powerful."
Cath Clarke, Time Out London

"Undeniably potent and poignant."
David Parkinson, Radio Times

"Absolutely essential viewing."
Douglas James Greenwood, Edinburgh Reporter

"Transcends politics and normal cinema."
Daoud Kuttab, Middle East Monitor

"Open Bethlehem is a non-violent attempt to save a city that belongs to many in the world."
Reverend Desmond Tutu, Archbishop, Educator, Civil Rights Activist, Nobel Peace Prize Awardee

"As an Israeli Jew and a historian of the Arab-Israeli conflict, I warmly recommend this documentary to anyone interested in the Palestine question. I was moved to tears by this beautiful film."
Avi Shlaim, Author, The Iron Wall

"A fierce and poignant plea against the incarceration of a city...[The filmmaker's] Open Bethlehem project is the kind of first step on which peace processes are built. It deserves to succeed. "
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian, Selected Film of the Week

"Offers unique insight into the lives and experiences of the people living in Bethlehem over the past turbulent decade...The film offers people a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by this multi-faith community whose struggles have an enormous influence on the cause of peace today."
Christian Champigny, Deputy Director of International Programs, Development and Peace

"This inspiring film fills a gap in the literature of occupation and in the literature on women and peace-making within the context of Palestine and globally...Leila Sansour's journey is at once deeply personal and political, successfully educating and motivating us with its stunning moment-to-moment tale of creativity, vision, despair, hope, and ultimately inimitable determination of the human spirit...This film will recreate its own vision of healing with each showing."
Dr. Elise Young, Founder and Director, The Global Women's History Project, Professor of History, Westfield State University, Author, Keepers of the History: Women and the Israeli Palestinian Conflict

"This film shows the struggle of those living in the city of Bethlehem...Chronicling the efforts of a small group to forge international partnerships and solidarity with the city to help keep it alive, the documentary intersperses historical narrative of Bethlehem's history with the story of the group's travails. Open Bethlehem is an excellent complement to ... grassroots organizing, or citizen diplomacy by showing what a small group of committed individuals can accomplish in the face of tremendous odds."
Maia Hallward, Professor of Middle East Politics, Kennesaw State University, Author, Transnational Activism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

 

 

 

Do you like this page?