Theme Chosen for 2016: 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.