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Naila and the Uprising

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Palestine | 2017 | 76 minutes | Julia Bacha

Weaving together interviews, news footage, and expressive animation, award-winning documentarian Julia Bacha inventively chronicles the remarkable journey of Naila Ayesh, who in the late 1980s joined a clandestine movement of Palestinian women who played a pivotal role in the nonviolent uprising known as the First Intifada.

"Thoughtful, moving, immensely valuable re-telling of the First Palestinian Intifada." - Michael Berkowitz 

In her third documentary feature, director Julia Bacha chronicles the compelling story of Naila Ayesh and her role in the nonviolent Palestinian uprising known as the First Intifada. This story begins when she is eight years, growing up in Ramallah on the West Bank. One day at school, she and her sisters hear an explosion, only to discover later that their home has been demolished by the Israeli authorities. Living in Gaza in the late 1980s when the protests first broke out, she joined an underground network of women who led a resistance movement that would bring the Palestinian quest for self- determination to the world's attention. With many men having been deported or arrested, women took the lead in the political and social organizing that would eventually lead to the Oslo peace talks. (Despite their contributions, these women found themselves largely supplanted by men when Yasser Arafat returned from exile to form the Palestinian Authority in 1994.) The film recounts their struggle and their sacrifices as well as their successes, exploring the often-high personal cost of their political activism. Creatively combining animation, archival imagery, and personal interviews, Naila and the Uprising tells a powerful story that, until now, has remained largely untold.

Director Biography
Julia Bacha began her filmmaking career in Cairo, Egypt where she wrote and edited the film Control Room (2004), for which she was nominated for the Writer's Guild of America Award. Bacha is the Creative Director at Just Vision and with the team directed such films as Budrus (2009) and My Neighborhood (2012). In addition to filmmaking, she is an advisory board member to the Tribeca Film Festival and a Young Global Leader at the World Economics Forum. In 2016, she delivered the TED talk: "How Women Wage Conflict Without Violence." Bacha currently lives in New York.

Sponsored by Red Element Studios

  • Director: Julia Bacha
  • Principal Cast: Naila Ayyesh, Zahira Kamal, Sama Aweidah, Rabeha Diab, Terry Boulata
  • Premiere Status: Seattle
  • Country: Palestine, USA
  • Year: 2017
  • Running Time: 76 minutes
  • Producer: Rula Salameh, Rebekah Wingert-Jabi, Suhad Babaa, Jen Marlowe
  • Cinematographers: Talal Jabari
  • Editors: Rebekah Wingert-Jabi, Flavia de Souza
  • Music: Tristan Capacchione
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Filmography: Budrus (2009); Encounter Point (2006)
  • Language: Arabic
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP