BUDRUS – A Documentary on uniting Palestinians and Israelis

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By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

BUDRUS, now playing at the Lumiere Theatre in San Francisco and Shattuck Cinema in Berkeley, is an extraordinarily persuasive documentary covering the saga of a united and non-violent Palestinian community. They are struggling against the Israeli Army. The soldiers have been sent by their government to overtake the lands of this community – even to the immediate destruction of their crops. For these Palestinian families, that means olive trees. They’ve been nurturing and harvesting these olive trees for generations. Suddenly life is not going be about that anymore. The men and women of the Israeli border patrol have come in with Official Orders and plenty of ammunition to handle any resistance to their government’s take over of the land and building a fence around it. First on the To Do List is to bulldoze the community’s life-sustaining olive crops. The men of Budrus gather together. Ayed Morrar urges them toward non-violent resistance. The ensuing confrontations with the Israeli soldiers are filled with tension and the threat of murder. Eventually the women of the community join the demonstrations, led by Ayed’s daughter, Iltezam.

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AYED MORRAR

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ILTEZAM MORRAR

As united families, facing the armed soldiers, the people of Budrus are vibrantly powerful in their repeated protests for justice and reason. They raise the volume on assurances they remain un-armed. The soldiers reflect on their Orders and the aggression begins. Everyone understands the presence of this military on this land to be completely illegal and absolutely unjustifiable. A number of Israeli citizens begin to support the community. It is now an International Episode – and the rhetoric begins. The younger members of the community have heard enough. It’s time to defend everything you’ve got with the only weapon you have available. Rocks.

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The Israeli army in Budrus. Photo, Aisha Mershani

The award-winning feature documentary film centers around a Palestinian community organizer, Ayed Morrar, who unites local Fatah and Hamas members along with Israeli supporters in an unarmed movement to save his village of BUDRUS from destruction by Israel’s Separation Barrier. Success eludes them until his 15-year-old daughter, Iltezam, launches a women’s contingent that quickly moves to the front lines. Struggling side by side, father and daughter unleash an inspiring, yet little-known, movement in the Occupied Palestinian Territories that is still gaining ground today. In an action-filled documentary chronicling this movement from its infancy, BUDRUS shines a light on people who choose nonviolence to confront a threat.

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The Israeli army response

Click on the photo to watch excerpts from the 6th Dubai International Film Festival:
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BUDRUS includes diverse voices – from the Palestinian leaders of the movement and their Israeli allies to an Israeli military spokesman, Doron Spielman, and Yasmine Levy, the Israeli border police captain stationed in the village at that time. While many documentaries about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict either romanticize the notion of peace, or dwell entirely on the suffering of victims to the conflict, this film focuses on the success of a Palestinian-led nonviolent movement.

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The Women’s March

Directed by Julia Bacha, a writer and editor of the acclaimed documentary Control Room. Winner of 8 international awards, including the Amnesty Italia Award at the 2010 Pesaro Film Festival and the Witness Award at the 2010 Silverdocs Film Festival.  In a keynote address immediately following the world premiere and gala screening of Budrus at the Dubai International Film Festival in December 2009, Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan praised the film, stating that Budrus “gives an enormous amount of hope… It’s a story which will have an impact and can help bring [about] change.”

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Ayed Morrar with Budrus schoolchildren

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.

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