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Jewish-Arab Dialogue Film to Premiere Next Month

The documentary film Refusing To Be Enemies: The Zeitouna Story will premiere on Sunday March 18 at 7pm at the Michigan Theatre in Ann Arbor. Those of you lucky enough to be near Ann Arbor can email eneuhaus@sbcglobal.net for advance tickets. The showing on the 18th is expected to be sold out (all 1600 seats!), so a second showing may be needed to meet the demand for tickets.

The movie profiles the twelve women of a local dialogue group called Zeitouna (“olive” in Arabic) and documents their developing relationship over a four-year period. Six of the Zeitouna women are of Arab descent and six are of Jewish descent. Some are native born and some are immigrants. What they all have in common is their humanity and their desire to bridge the gulf that has developed between their two communities. They chose the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the focus of the group and use the dialogue process as a means of personal transformation leading to socio-political transformation.

The 17-minute trailer, which you can view at http://standingpoint.org/zvideo (and which is amazing, by the way), captures close-up the complexity of the emotions that arise from the dialogue process. The intimacy of the documentary is due in part to the unique access and background of the director who, in addition to being a filmmaker, is a psychotherapist and a Zeitouna member. The film includes personal narratives and dialogue footage from the group’s spring 2006 trip to Palestine/Israel.

If you would like to arrange a showing of the trailer in your community, contact Wadad Abed at w.abed@CMIdata.com to arrange and schedule. Because the trailer should be accompanied by an opportunity for community discussion and reasoned dialogue, a representative of the Zeitouna dialogue group must be present. For travel of a significant distance, expenses will need to be covered.

Learn more about the film at http://zeitounamovie.org/.

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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