Julia Bacha's Budrus screens at Take One Action Film Festival
Middle East documentary
Rio de Janeiro, 1980.
Bacha studied Middle Eastern history and politics at Columbia University. She worked as co-writer and editor on the 2004 multi award-winning documentary about Al Jazeera, Control Room, and was co-director of Israeli/Palestinian peacenik documentary Encounter Point (2006). ‘I have been making documentary films since 2003,’ she says. ‘My work concentrates on Palestinians and Israelis working together for peace and conciliation.’
What is she up to now?
Bacha’s latest film, Budrus, is a documentary about the locals and activists involved in non-violent protest in the titular village. A place of only 1500 people not far from Ramallah, the village became a site of activity when the Israeli government decided to build a huge barrier through the West Bank. It would have run through Budrus. ‘I became aware of the situation in Budrus when working on Encounter Point. We kept in touch with the people actively involved, and so interview access was very easy.’
What is Just Vision?
It’s the non-profit company, funded through tax-deductible donations, that made Budrus possible. It was made with the help of 200 of those donations. If you visit www.justvision.org, you can help to fund future productions with a donation of your own. It was set up in response to a lack of coverage of conciliatory measures between Palestinians and Israelis. ‘We are providing alternative role models in a complex and changing world. I have seen people challenged, inspired and motivated to take action based on the stories we tell.’
What’s next for Bacha?
‘We are researching other projects; we want to take the sort of work we’ve been doing into other areas. The result is likely to be a series of short films.’
Brazilian Bacha almost ended up doing a master’s degree at Tehran University, but the Iranian government wasn’t issuing visas to international students at the time.
Budrus is showing as part of the Take One Action Film Festival. GFT, Glasgow, Thu 23 Sep; Filmhouse, Edinburgh, Fri 24 Sep. A Skype Q&A with Bacha will follow both screenings. See Festival Focus.