Encounter Point

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Encounter Point is an award-winning film directed by Ronit Avni and Julia Bacha. It depicts different families that have been affected by the violence in Israel between Israelis and Palestinians. In this film, Just Vision, a non-profit organization, follows these families for 16 months. It begins this journey by documenting the ongoing troubles between the Israelis and Palestinians. The team conducted 475 preliminary interviews and did two years of research before embarking on this 16 month journey. The crew traveled throughout Israel, from Tel Mond, Tulkarem, Hebron, and Haifa. These parents and loved ones have been attempting to end the violence by joining, or beginning their own peace organizations and awareness campaigns.

Plot[edit]

One mother that is introduced early on in the film is Robi Damelin.[1] Damelin’s son David was a soldier in the Israeli army that had been shot by a sniper while working at a checkpoint. The soldiers had been sent to protect an Israeli settlement on Palestinian territory. After learning of her son's loss, Damelin joined the Bereaved Families Forum, where she was able to meet other Palestinian and Israeli families that had been through the same losses. There she worked closely with the families from different backgrounds and began to advocate peace between the two territories. She continues to work for an end to the conflict.

Ali Abu Awwad is another individual in the film who is followed by the production team to see his stance on the non-violence attempts. After being shot in his lower body by an Israeli settler he was sent to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment. While healing in Saudi Arabia, Ali’s brother Yusef had been murdered by an Israeli militant. After the news of his brother's murder Ali Abu Awwad teamed up with the Bereaved Families Forum to work with Israelis and Palestinians who together campaigned for non-violence. By speaking with Palestinian militants and those who are threatened by Israeli settlers Ali was able to broaden his message of non-violence resistance throughout the Palestinian territories.

Shlomo Zagman, who grew up in an Israeli settlement most of his life is another character in the documentary. Along with the settlers from his home town, Shlomo, and by and large all Israeli settlers, are extremists that believe that all the Palestinians should be deported to the neighboring Arab countries (Israeli Settlement). The movie illuminates this point as we see how Shlomo and his wife transform, despite the meandering resistance of his parents and home town, to become founding members of the Realistic Religious Zionism group [2].This transformation is a huge step, and usually unheard of, for someone who grew up in the settlements. Subsequently, Shlomo tries to encourage the people of his hometown, as well as other settlements, to withdraw from these occupied territories and convince them that the persistence of these settlements will bring down the Jewish State of Israel.

George then joined the Bereaved Families Forum, 3 months after her death, like many of the others in the film. There he met Israelis and Palestinians who had gone through the same losses and were ready to fight for peace on top of their pain. In an interview George has said that he received an apology from the soldiers that had begun the shooting. In the same interview he is quoted as saying “We also call for peace that is just and real where there will be no Palestinian or Israeli family that has to go through the same thing we did. Our goal now is to try as much as we can through our love and forgiveness to carry on with our lives and help others not to go through what we went through.” [3] George was a principle of a high school in Bethlehem, but after the shooting he became the deputy mayor of Jerusalem.

Cast[edit]

  • Ali Abu Awwad
  • Robi Damelin
  • Sami Al Jundi
  • George Sa'adeh
  • Tzvika Shahak
  • Shlomo Zagman.

Crew[edit]

  • Ronit Avni (Producer, Director)
  • Nahanni Rous (Producer)
  • Julia Bacha (Co-Director, Writer, Editor)
  • Joline Makhlouf (Producer).

Making of the Film[edit]

Ronit Avni [4] (Encounter Point director) and Julia Bacha [5] (Encounter Point co-director) worked together to make this film. Avni founded a non for profit organization that helps to promote peace between Israelis and Palestinians called Just Vision. She has worked with other human rights organizations in other countries as well. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Vassar College. She was on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2005. Bacha, who is originally from Brazil, co-wrote and edited the famous Control Room, which was a movie about the coverage of the Iraq war, on the television channels of Al Jazeera. Bacha came to New York City from Brazil in 1998 to study Middle Eastern History at Columbia University. She later graduated Magna Cum Laude.

Awards and Acknowledgments[edit]

Encounter Point has won various awards in several countries.

  • Encounter Point was the Audience Award winner for best documentary film in 2006 at the San Francisco International Film Festival [6]
  • It won the best Musical Score in the 2006 BendFilm Festival[7]
  • Was the 2006 Rencontres Film Festival’s [8] Audience Award winner for Best Documentary Film
  • Won the 2006 Spirit of Freedom Award in the Bahamas International Film Festival [9].
  • Winner of the Docupolis Award for Best First Documentary
  • Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the São Paulo Jewish Film Festival
  • The film was also part of the Official Selection in the Jerusalem Film Festival [10], the Dubai Film Festival [11] and the Tribeca Film Festival [12]. Encounter Point was screened at the Boston Independent film festival on April 29 [13], the Harrisburg film festival in PA on May the 5th [14], the Swansea Bay film festival [15] to name a few.

External links[edit]