Witness Palestine Film Festival 2022

Witness Palestine
October 22-23 & October 29-30
All films are screening in Theatre 5

General Admission: $9
Students: $6

The Witness Palestine Festival is a project of Rochester Witness for Palestine, which seeks a just peace for the people of Palestine wherever they may be. Our advocates have traveled to Israel and Palestine on at least one political tour where they have met with and heard stories from both sides.

This film festival is an attempt to communicate some of this information to others in the Rochester and Western New York area by working with a broader, more diverse segment of the community. The Witness Palestine Festival Committee includes activists involved in interfaith and Palestinian solidarity work.

Blue Box

Saturday, October 22, 2022

2021 • 80 minutes • documentary • Hebrew with English subtitles

The Jewish National Fund’s Blue Box campaign was internationally successful in raising support for the purchase and forestation of land in Palestine. The trees have since spread their roots, but evidence remains of the Palestinian communities displaced by the once-fragile seedlings.

Filmmaker Michal Weits’ great-grandfather, Joseph Weitz, was a key figure in the organization. (Yes, the filmmaker’s surname is spelled differently.) Ancestor Weitz’ private diaries reveal the story of the massive land takeover that led to the creation of the state of Israel. In conversations with her family, Michal questions his actions which result in an exploration of a nation’s past and an uncomfortable truth – he also became known as the “The Architect of Transfer” for purging the area of as many Palestinians as possible.

Preceded by We Never Left, Palestine, a 5-minute poem by Susan Abulhawa

This screening will be followed by an opportunity to interact with filmmaker Michal Weits who will connect with us by video conferencing.

Huda’s Salon

Sunday, October 23, 2022

2021 • Rated R • 91 minutes • narrative • Arabic with English subtitles

Reem, a young Palestinian mother married to a jealous man, goes to Huda’s hair salon in Bethlehem for a routine visit. As they chat, this thriller shifts quickly when Huda betrays Reem, who is thrown into a dangerously compromising situation. She’s offered only one way out: work with Israel’s secret service, spying on her own community and thus betraying her people.

Preceded by We Never Left, Palestine, a 5-minute poem by Susan Abulhawa

The Journey of Others

Saturday, October 29, 2022 • 3pm

2019 • 74 minutes • documentary • English and Arabic with English subtitles

This movie is the story of actors and support crew from The Freedom Theatre in Jenin, West Bank, preparing for a trip to New York City to perform a play about the Israeli Defense Forces occupation of Bethlehem.

Preceded by…

  • We Never Left, Palestine, a 5-minute poem by Susan Abulhawa (English) and
  • Siri Miri, a 6-minute narrative about two young Palestinian men, struggling to find something to do for entertainment, ask iPhone’s Siri for suggestions – all of which are impractical in the West Bank. (Arabic with English subtitles)

This screening will be followed by an opportunity to interact with filmmaker Jaime Villarreal who will connect with us by video conferencing.


Sunday, October 30, 2022 • 3pm

2021 • 73 minutes • documentary • English

Preceded by We Never Left, Palestine, a 5-minute poem by Susan Abulhawa

Over the past six years, unbeknownst to most Americans, 33 states passed laws intending to silence boycott and other nonviolent measures aimed at pressuring Israel on its human rights record. These dangerous bills remove the legal protection that has been awarded to boycotts for generations, granting governments the power to condition jobs on political viewpoints.

As this wave of anti-boycott legislation has swept through the country, so has a counter-wave in defense of freedom of speech. Everyday Americans are challenging these laws for their constitutionality in a nation-wide battle likely to go all the way to the Supreme Court.

Boycott focuses on three successful court cases challenging government actions to oppose boycott of Israel by requiring state vendors to contractually pledge not to boycott Israel during the duration of the contract.

With full access to the plaintiffs and in revelatory moments with elected officials, Boycott chronicles one of the most consequential First Amendment battles of the past few decades and investigates the question – how did we get here?

At the conclusion of this screening, you’ll be able to interact with a Kate Schwartz, staff member of the production company, Just Vision. She will connect with us by video conferencing.