Arna’s Children

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Arna’s Children

Arna’s Children

Arna Mer Khamis was a legendary activist against the Israeli occupation. Born into a Jewish family, she married a Palestinian Arab and and moved to the West Bank. She founded an alternative education system for Palestinian children whose lives had been disrupted by the Israeli occupation. In the Jenin refugee camp, Arna opened a theatre group where she taught the children to express anger, bitterness and fear through acting and art. The children slowly grew to trust and to love Arna: “She’s like my mother,” says one child. “She helps us. She saved us from the streets.” Arna’s son, Juliano Mer Khamis, was a director at the theater group and filmed his mother and the children rehearsing and performing over a six year period. When Arna died of cancer in 1995, the theater group struggled to continue for another two years but ultimately did not survive.

Five years after Arna’s death, Juliano returns to the camp to discover what happened to Arna’s children. Shifting back and forth in time, the film juxtaposes the sweet-faced young boys with the fighters and suicide bombers they become. Arna’s Children reveals the tragedy and horror of young lives trapped by the circumstances of occupation.

Festivals and Awards:

Best Documentary Feature at the Tribeca Film Festival, 2004; Audience Award at IDFA, Amsterdam, 2003; First Prize at One World Festival, Prague, 2003; Special Mention at Visions du Reel, Nyon, 2004; Best First Documentary Prize at Hot Docs International Film Festival, Toronto, Canada, 2004; Dutch Academy Award - Dutch Academy, 2005; Viennale, Vienna, Austria, 2005; INPUT, Barcelona and Rio de Janeiro, 2004; Melbourne International Film Festival, 2004; 3 Continent Film Festival, South Africa, 2004; Istanbul Film Festival, Turkey, 2004.

Director: Juliano Mer Khamis, Danniel Danniel

Producer: Osnat Trabelsi, Pieter van Huystee

Production Company: Trabelsi Productions LTD, Pieter van Huystee Film

Cinematographer: Juliano Mer Khamis, Hana Abu Shaada, Uri Shteinmintz

Editor: Obbe Verwer, Govert Janse

Supporter(s): The New Fund for Cinema and Television, IKON, VRT, CoBo Fund

Subtitles: English

Film Name in Hebrew: הילדים של ארנה

Arna Mer Khamis was a legendary activist against the Israeli occupation. Born into a Jewish family, she married a Palestinian Arab and and moved to the West Bank. She founded an alternative education system for Palestinian children whose lives had been disrupted by the Israeli occupation. In the Jenin refugee camp, Arna opened a theatre group where she taught the children to express anger, bitterness and fear through acting and art. The children slowly grew to trust and to love Arna: “She’s like my mother,” says one child. “She helps us. She saved us from the streets.” Arna’s son, Juliano Mer Khamis, was a director at the theater group and filmed his mother and the children rehearsing and performing over a six year period. When Arna died of cancer in 1995, the theater group struggled to continue for another two years but ultimately did not survive.

Five years after Arna’s death, Juliano returns to the camp to discover what happened to Arna’s children. Shifting back and forth in time, the film juxtaposes the sweet-faced young boys with the fighters and suicide bombers they become. Arna’s Children reveals the tragedy and horror of young lives trapped by the circumstances of occupation.

Festivals and Awards:

Best Documentary Feature at the Tribeca Film Festival, 2004; Audience Award at IDFA, Amsterdam, 2003; First Prize at One World Festival, Prague, 2003; Special Mention at Visions du Reel, Nyon, 2004; Best First Documentary Prize at Hot Docs International Film Festival, Toronto, Canada, 2004; Dutch Academy Award - Dutch Academy, 2005; Viennale, Vienna, Austria, 2005; INPUT, Barcelona and Rio de Janeiro, 2004; Melbourne International Film Festival, 2004; 3 Continent Film Festival, South Africa, 2004; Istanbul Film Festival, Turkey, 2004.

Director: Juliano Mer Khamis, Danniel Danniel

Producer: Osnat Trabelsi, Pieter van Huystee

Production Company: Trabelsi Productions LTD, Pieter van Huystee Film

Cinematographer: Juliano Mer Khamis, Hana Abu Shaada, Uri Shteinmintz

Editor: Obbe Verwer, Govert Janse

Supporter(s): The New Fund for Cinema and Television, IKON, VRT, CoBo Fund

Subtitles: English

Film Name in Hebrew: הילדים של ארנה

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