October 16 only

The First Intifada (1987-1993), one of the most vibrant, nonviolent grassroots populist movements in world history, drew the international stage’s attention towards the yolk of occupation the Israeli Government had set up against the Palestinian people, beginning in 1967, and which has continued to morph into formations of apartheid that plagues the Gaza Strip and the West Bank to this day. Nevertheless, The First Intifada was a movement that mobilized every sector of society: from young to old, men and women, families, college students, business owners, journalists and politicians, united in efforts to end the occupation once and for all, and an example of what is possible when oppression is collectively resisted.

One individual caught up in the struggle, and one of the foremost icons of The First Intifada, Naila Ayesh, relays her story of survival in Julia Bacha’s documentary Naila And The Uprising, using every ounce of her power to fight back against the violence heaped upon her by the Israeli Government. Over the course of her political activity during The First Intifada, she was imprisoned, tortured, and interrogated while pregnant, separated from her husband, and eventually imprisoned again with her infant son as friends and family were deported. But regardless of the setbacks that kept arising, she continued her political activity, her spirit of resistance alive and well, speaking out against the occupation and organizing demonstrations while providing critical aid to various committees and unions set up in connection with the movement to establish parallel Palestinian institutions vis-à-vis the Israeli Government for social work, food aid, education, and women’s services. Bacha’s documentary, which includes interviews with Naila Ayesh herself, in addition to family members, friends, journalists, activists and other key players during the First Intifada alongside rarely seen international media coverage and striking animated reenactments, is a story of Naila Ayesh as it is a story of the First Intifada: but is likewise the story of how the movement was carried by an army of women, who led the charge against the occupation and subsequently triggered changes in society which beat to this day at the core of Palestine’s progressive heart.

Screened at DOC NYC 2017, the 2018 Human Rights Film Festival, and screened as the Opening Night film at the 2018 Toronto Palestine Film Festival.

Director bio:

Julia Bacha is a Peabody award-winning filmmaker, media strategist and the Creative Director at Just Vision. Her work has been screened at the Sundance, Berlin, Tribeca, and Dubai Film Festivals, broadcasted on the BBC, HBO and Al Jazeera television networks, and shared with Palestinian refugee camps and the US Congress. In addition to 20 international film festival awards, Bacha is a recipient of the 2017 Columbia University Medal of Excellence, 2016 Guggenheim Fellowship, and the King Hussein Leadership Prize. Additionally, Bacha is a Term Member at the Council on Foreign Relations, an Advisory Board Member to the Tribeca Film Institute and a TED speaker.

For more information, please visit the Arab Film Festival website.

Directed by Julia Bacha. 76 min. Digital. Palestine. 2017.

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Arab Film Festival: NAILA AND THE UPRISING: Upcoming Showtimes