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// Films // Beyond Blue and Gray

Beyond Blue and Gray

Jessica Habie & Nirah Shirazipour / United States - Palestinian Territory / 2008 / 46 ' / Arabic - English / S.T. English

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A look at the relationship between conflict and creativity in Palestine.

Synopsis

The Dialogue Project Our films deal with trying to understand the Israeli Palestinian conflict in new ways, through the lens of the artist. Inspiring global dialogue in times of stagnant political rhetoric with a renewed dedication to all of mankind. Everyone knows, if we can accomplish peace in Jerusalem, we can cultivate justice anywhere. One of the main reasons we created theses film projects was to use them as tools to facilitate dialogue in Europe and the United States about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is our hope that our work will make connections between organizations and individuals working around similar issues globally. It is extremely important that Jews, Israelis, Arabs and Moslems living in the international Diaspora communicate often and honestly because dialogue between these groups living in the Middle East has become very painful and often problematic. We must support our family in the Middle East and let them feel that we won’t remain silent while they continue to suffer.

'Beyond Blue and Gray' is a look at the relationship between conflict and creativity in Palestine. Why Two Films? Beyond Blue and Gray's sister project, Art and Apathy People often ask us, as filmmakers who are working towards reconciliation and justice for Israel and Palestine, why did we chose to create two separate film projects, rather than housing all of our artists under one roof. The answer is difficult and took many years of work to understand. Unfortunately, at this time, artwork (especially by international artists) that aims to bring together Israeli and Palestinian voices is often doing more harm than good. Bringing Israeli and Palestinian artists together to co-create in a project, gives the illusion that dialogue, peace and reconciliation can flourish in today’s political atmosphere. The opposite is true. The cruelty of the military and political powers in the region makes such ideas completely unattainable. We felt that it is important to discuss reality as experienced by Israelis and Palestinians living in the Middle East today. This way international audiences can appreciate a more humanistic depiction of the conflict, and begin to ask themselves what they are doing to support the cycles of violence.

Another reason why we have separated our films is because Israelis and Palestinians have never been so segregated. There is a complete separation of societies, historical narratives and cultures. For this reason we chose to present a diverse range of opinions and personalities rather than asking our audience to accept one unified voice. We ask our audience to hold space for several voices, as we begin to understand that several narratives exist, several complex histories have brought us to this point and it is absolutely impossible to hold one persons truth higher than another’s.

However, it is equally important to understand that although we are talking about two complex histories, there is only one occupation. The occupation must end in order for freedom to grow, and a stable way of life to replace checkpoints, ammunition, fear and death. Lastly, out of respect for all of the artists who trusted us with their stories we decided it was best to create two separate series of short films. Each series stands alone, holding space for the artists and their creations, allowing the audience to draw their own conclusions about the relationship between Israel and Palestine. It was important to us that both groups of artists feel safe to express their stories truthfully. In order to ensure that safety, we had to allow the both communities of artists to have their own cinematic spaces.

 

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