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A documentary, “1948: Creation & Catastrophe,” on the establishment of the state of Israel and co-directed/co-produced by Ahlam Muhtaseb, a professor of communication studies at Cal State San Bernardino, is an official selection of the 26th annual Arizona International Film Festival in April.
“The screening at this film festival is the premiere of our documentary, so we are very excited,” said Muhtaseb, who made the documentary with filmmaker Andy Trimlett. “We anticipate more film festivals to come and screenings around the country in the next couple of years, so it will be very busy time for us.”
“The stories we have collected are so powerful and emotional,” Trimlett said. “For years, we have had to keep them under wraps as we researched them and edited the story. It is so gratifying to finally be able to share them with the world.”
The Arizona International Film Festival, which runs April 19-30 in the Tucson area, will screen “1948: Creation & Catastrophe” on Sunday, April 23 at 3 p.m.
The documentary, nearly nine years in the making, has been a massive research project. Muhtaseb and Trimlett did more than 90 interviews, poured over 20,000 pages of historical documents, collected more than 1,400 photographs from three dozen sources, combed through hours of archival film and gathered dozens of documents from Israeli military archives.
“1948: Creation & Catastrophe” looks to the pivotal year that David Ben-Gurion, the head of the Jewish Agency, proclaimed the establishment of the state of Israel and how that impacted the Middle East as seen through the eyes of the people who lived it.
But rather than being a history lesson, Muhtaseb and Trimlett said “1948: Creation & Catastrophe” is a primer for the present.
“It is simply not possible to make sense of what is happening in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict today without an understanding of 1948,” the filmmakers said. “This documentary is the last chance to hear first-hand accounts of what took place in Haifa, Jaffa, Dayr Yasin, Acre, Jerusalem, Ramle and Lydda from the Israelis and Palestinians who personally fought in and fled from this land.”
The 86-minute documentary includes interviews with veterans, refugees, survivors and historians of the war conducted in Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States.
“Those who lived through the war are the centerpiece of the story, but it also includes interviews with respected historians Charles D. Smith, Avi Shlaim, Nur Masalha, Benny Morris, Ilan Pappe, Rashid Khalidi and Sharif Kanaaneh, who provide context for the events,” according to the filmmakers.
Visit the film’s website and follow it on Facebook for more information on the documentary, and view “1948: Creation and Catastrophe Trailer” online. Also visit the Arizona International Film Festival website.