Arna's Children Dir. Juliano Mer Khamis and Danniel Danniel, 2003, 84 min. Yussef committed a suicide attack in 2001. Ashraf was killed by the Israeli army in 2002. Alla led a group of resistance fighters to his death in 2003. The director who documented them as promising child actors in a theatre group he founded with his Israeli mother Arna, returns to Jenin Refugee Camp in April 2002, to see what happened to the children he knew and loved.
Q&A with Reem Khamis-Dakwar and Nancy Leigh (Both cousins of Juliano) to follow screening.
"100% Jewish and 100% Palestinian"
This screening is a tribute to the award-winning Juliano Mer Khamis, an Israeli actor, director, humanist and freedom fighter who described himself as "100% Palestinian and 100% Jewish." He was shot and killed last month by a masked assailant in front of his pregnant partner and one year old son, outside the theater that his mother established to cultivate creativity, critical thinking and hope in Palestinian children living inside the virtual prison of Jenin Refugee Camp.
Juliano's mother, Arna Mer was a devout Israeli Jew who served in the army as a teenager. She went on to meet and fall in love with a Palestinian Christian, Juliano's father, and as she became more and more disenchanted with Israel's policies, Arna began to actively work for the rights of Palestinians living under occupation. She opened a learning center for children after Israeli troops closed all Palestinian schools and, with her son Juliano, organized a children's theater troupe as part of the curriculum. Juliano often brought a camera to classes and rehearsals between 1989 and 1996, and he and filmmaker Danniel Danniel used this footage as a starting point for the award-winning documentary ARNA'S CHILDREN. The film begins with a hopeful look at youngsters growing up under trying and dangerous circumstances who have found joy and self-expression through art, but it ends with the directors tracking down several of Arna's students, only to discover that the realities of life in occupied Palestine have not escaped them.
Part of Hi Wednesdays: Join us every first Wednesday of each month as we bring back several award-winning films from Harlem International Film Festival 5 (Hi5) plus some must-see gems that have not yet been screened.
343 Lenox Ave.
New York, NY 10027