The Jerusalem Fund
“A Conversation with Annemarie Jacir”
Independent Film Director, Curator, Educator
Annemarie Jacir shares her reflections on the subjects of Palestinian film, and film-making as a Palestinian, after screening her latest film, Lamma Shoftak (When I Saw You) at the DC International Film Festival on 16, 17 April.
Synopsis of When I Saw You (Palestine/Jordan/Greece, 2012, 93 minutes, color)
“In Annemarie Jacir’s moving follow-up to her award-winning debut Salt of This Sea (FFDC 2011), a young boy and his mother personify the emancipating dream every refugee has imagined. Displaced to a Jordanian refugee camp in 1967, free-spirited Tarek and his mother temporarily settle in the Harir camp, and in the chaos they are separated from Tarek’s father. They anxiously wait to be reunited with him but to no avail. A few miles away, in the encampments that border Israel, the atmosphere is radically different as Palestinian freedom fighters train for battle. When Tarek and his mother cross paths with the combatants, the boy chooses to stay with them, forcing his mother to follow suit. When I Saw You is a mature, moving evocation of the very real barriers surrounding the Arab diaspora and the life-affirming spirit of those who struggle to break free of them.” —Toronto International Film Festival
Jacir co-founded Philistine Films, an independent production company, focusing on productions related to the Arab world and Iran. Jacir shot and produced the documentary Until When, an in-depth portrait of the lives of several families living in the Deheisha refugee camp as well as several other films. She collaborated with Algerian-French filmmaker Nassim Amouache on Quelques Miettes Pour Les Oiseaux, a documentary sketch of the lives of a handful of men and women eking out a living in the Jordanian town of Ruwayshed, a small time oil-smuggling entrepot that’s the last stop on the road to Iraq (Official Selection, Venice International Film Festival; Best Film, Montpellier; Press Prize Clermont-Ferrand).
Jacir is also chief curator and co-founder of the groundbreaking Dreams of a Nation Palestinian cinema project, dedicated to the promotion of Palestinian cinema. In 2003, she organized and curated the largest traveling film festival in Palestine, which included the screening of archival Palestinian films from Revolution Cinema, screening for the first time on Palestinian soil. She has taught at Columbia University, Bethlehem University, and Birzeit University and in refugee camps in Palestine, Lebanon and currently in Jordan. Board member of Alwan for the Arts, a cultural organization devoted to North African and Middle Eastern art, she has also served as a jury member to the Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival as well as Cinecolor Award, Argentina. She is a founding member of the Palestinian Filmmakers’ Collective, based in Palestine.