About

The Witness Palestine Film Festival

The conflict in Palestine-Israel is decades old and so is the dispossession of the Palestinian people. However, this conflict is not presented as a human rights issue in mainstream American media. It is highly politicized and distorted. The idea of the Witness Palestine Film Series is to address such misconceptions by screening documentary and narrative films about the conflict, compelling films which illustrate the realities on the ground in both Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

The conflict in Palestine-Israel is decades old and so is the dispossession of the Palestinian people. However, this conflict is not presented as a human rights issue in mainstream American media. It is highly politicized and distorted. The idea of the Witness Palestine Film Series is to address such misconceptions by screening documentary and narrative films about the conflict, compelling films which illustrate the realities on the ground in both Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

The Witness Palestine Film Festival is sponsored by Christians Witnessing for Palestine, who seek a just peace for the people of Palestine wherever they may be. They have all traveled to Israel and Palestine on at least one political tour where they have met with and heard stories from both sides.

This film festival is an attempt to communicate some of this information to others in the Rochester and Western New York area by working with a broader, more diverse segment of the community. The Witness Palestine Film Committee includes activists involved in interfaith and Palestinian solidarity work as well as local filmmakers.

 

Theme for the 2016 Season

When We See Them, We See Us

In this fifth season of Witness Palestine, we have reason to consider where we have been these past four years. We began with a desire to help our audience understand some of the basic facts of the Palestine/Israel conflict. Experience has taught us that it is important to see the humanity in everyone when trying to understand human interactions and conflicts. So, we try to include a mix of documentaries and narrative stories in each Festival, and we try to consider a variety of issues.

Panelists have been a part of the Festival since we began. Using a mix of Skype and in-person visits, we can bring panelists with local experience and particular insight right into our theater.

Starting with our third year, the Festival has included an annual event called ‘Celebrate Palestine’, with a taste of food and music from the region. Sometimes even impromptu dancing. A celebration!

Live theater became a part of the Festival in 2014 when we brought the one-woman play, “My Name is Rachel Corrie” to the Fringe Festival. Other plays or dramatic readings are in the works for future years.

The Rev. Graylan Hagler keynote address, "Connecting the Dots: Ferguson to Palestine"

The Rev. Graylan Hagler keynote address "Connecting the Dots: Ferguson to Palestine"

Connecting the Dots: when the Black Lives Matter movement started, some of the issues resonated. What are the parallels between Ferguson and Palestine? The 2015 Witness Palestine keynote address by the Rev. Graylan Hagler, “Connecting the Dots: Ferguson to Palestine”, helped us see events in both countries from the standpoint of racism. Thereafter, our films at The Little in 2015 (“The Wanted 18”, “Roadmap to Apartheid”, “Where Should the Birds Fly” and “Al Helm: Martin Luther King in Palestine”) all helped connect some of those dots for us.

 

We continue our search for understanding this year with the theme, “Witness Palestine Film Festival 2016: When We See Them, We See Us.

What can that mean to us?

We realize that American society and Israeli/Palestinian society are microcosms of the same struggle for human rights, with power and privilege making it hard for dominant groups, as well as the state, to see their racism. As we witness Palestine at the Festival this year, we endeavor to make these connections and highlight our common humanity in order to push for social justice everywhere.

Programs for 2016

Miko Peled
Keynote Presentation

Miko Peled

Justice and Freedom: the Keys to Peace in Palestine

Thursday, September 15, 2016, 7:00 p.m.
Historic German House
315 Gregory Street, Rochester, NY 14620
There is no charge for this event.
>> Read more

3000 Nights

Sunday, September 18, 2:00 p.m.
The Little Theatre, #5
240 East Ave Rochester, NY 14604
Admission $10 ($5 students)
>> Read more

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The Idol

Monday, September 19, 6:45 p.m.
The Little Theatre, #5
240 East Ave Rochester, NY 14604
Admission $10 ($5 students)
>> Read more

Two Blue Lines

Sunday, September 25, 2:00 p.m.
The Little Theatre, #5
240 East Ave Rochester, NY 14604
Admission $10 ($5 students)
>>> Read more

Pinkwashing Exposed: Seattle Fights Back!

Monday, September 26, 6:45 p.m.
The Little Theatre, #5
240 East Ave Rochester, NY 14604
Admission $10 ($5 students)
>>> Read more

Batman at the Checkpoint

Israel's Wall: Security or Apartheid?

Jerusalem in Exile

When I See Them, I See Us

My Neighborhood

Batman At the Checkpoint

Israel's Wall: Security or Apartheid?

Jerusalem in Exile

My Neighborhood

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A program of ‘shorts’

Israel’s Wall: Security Or Apartheid?
When I See Them, I See Us
Batman at the Checkpoint
Jerusalem in Exile
My Neighbourhood
Monday, October 10, 6:30 p.m.
St. John Fisher College
3690 East Ave, Rochester, NY 14618
>>> Read more

Celebrate Palestine
Closing Event

Celebrate Palestine

Friday, October 21, 6:00 p.m.
Asbury First United Methodist Church
1050 East Ave, Rochester, NY 14607
Admission $20 ($10 students)
>>> Read more

Archive

2015 Events & Films

Witness Palestine's 2015 season included seven programs:

  • A keynote presentation by Rev. Graylan Hagler, "Connecting the Dots: Ferguson to Palestine"
  • Once again, a "Celebrate Palestine" cultural event closed out the 2015 with Palestinian food, music, discussion, and dance.
  • Four films at The Little and one area screening at a local university
Connecting the Dots: Ferguson to Palestine with Rev. Graylan Hagler

Connecting the Dots: Ferguson to Palestine with Rev. Graylan Hagler

WPFS-Flyer-2015-Thumb-791x1024

Flyer for Witness Palestine 2015

    • The Wanted 18
    • Roadmap to Apartheid
    • Where Should the Birds Fly
    • Al Helm: Martin Luther King in Palestine
    • The Road to Silverstone

 

Witness Palestine 2015

2015 Photo Gallery

2014 Events & Films

We offered seven programs in 2014:

Fringe Festival: My Name is Rachel Corrie

Fringe Festival: My Name is Rachel Corrie

Witness Palestine 2014

Flyer for Witness Palestine 2014

2013 Events & Films

After our successful inaugural run in September and October 2012, we reprised the series in September 2013.

  • We increased the number of programs from five to six
  • We kept the popular format from 2012: a screening followed by a panel discussion
  • The venues remained the same: The Little in the heart of Rochester NY, and St. John Fisher College.
Jonathan Kuttab and Rev. Gordon Webster

Panelists Jonathan Kuttab and Rev. Gordon Webster

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Flyer for Witness Palestine 2013

2012 Events & Films

We started the film series based on our belief that the U.S. mainstream media don’t portray a full, consistent picture of what’s happening in Israel-Palestine. We presented a total of six films at The Little Theatre, along with area screenings at St. John Fisher College, Rochester Institute of Technology, and the School Without Walls.

Julia Hurley and Haneen Ali

Panelists Julia Hurley and Haneen Ali

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Flyer for Witness Palestine 2012