Released in 2017, the documentary “1948: Creation and Catastrophe,” co-produced by Ahlam Muhtaseb, Cal State San Bernardino professor of communication studies, continues to win awards – the latest coming on Dec. 5.
The film won the Jerusalem International Film Festival’s Special Jury Award in the Feature Documentary category, and Muhtaseb learned of the prize while being interviewed by the director of the film festival Dr. Ezzedin Shalah via Skype during the awards ceremony, and broadcast and livestreamed on Facebook by Palestine TV. Although the interview was in Arabic (the segment begins at about 8 minutes, 40 seconds into the archived video), the look of surprise on Muhtaseb’s face was easy to discern.
Muhtaseb translated her reaction to the news from Arabic to English: “Really …. [shocked but happy] … Thank you … A very nice surprise, especially coming from the people of Gaza. I would like to salute the people of Gaza. I hold a lot of empathy and love for the people of Gaza to the extent that, because of how much I write about Gaza on my Facebook and social media outlets, people think I am from Gaza … and I feel very proud when they say that. Thank you very much ... This is such a nice surprise … Thank you all and thanks to the jury as well.”
The award is the latest in a growing list for the film that Muhtaseb co-produced with Andy Trimlett. In January it was honored with the Storytellers: Media & Education Award by Rebuilding Alliance.
The documentary began its screening journey in 2017, with its premiere at the 26th annual Arizona International Film Festival in April. Since then, it has been shown at various national and international events, and was nominated for an Al Ard XV Film Festival award in Italy. It was also named one of the top five films to watch in the Sydney Morning Herald. Writing in the academic journal, Arab Studies Quarterly, film professor Terri Ginsberg said, “1948 makes the Nakba uncannily real for the doubting spectator.” 
Muhtaseb and Trimlett spent 10 years making their 86-minute documentary, which explores the events of 1948, the most pivotal year in one of the most controversial conflicts in the world. According to its website, “this documentary was the last chance for many of its Israeli and Palestinian characters to narrate their first-hand accounts of the creation of a state and the expulsion of a nation.”
Muhtaseb and Trimlett poured over thousands of pages of historical documents, conducted more than 90 interviews, collected more than 1,400 photographs from three dozen sources, combed through hours of archival film and gathered dozens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 and Catastrophe” is available on Kanopy, iTunes, Google Play and Amazon.

For more information about “1948: Creation and Catastrophe,” visit its website at