film, religion, christian, film festival, reel rose award, john paul ii international film festival, the peoples festival award, documentary film
EGM’s Little Town of Bethlehem Nominated for Reel Rose Award Best Documentary Film & The People’s Festival Award
by Audra Jennings Wednesday, January 26, 2011
This year’s film festival has taken on an even greater significance in light of Pope Benedict’s call for a peace summit to halt violence between religions. “Humanity,” he entreated, “cannot be allowed to become accustomed to discrimination, injustices, and religious intolerance…” His Holiness, echoing the words and actions of his predecessors John Paul I and John Paul II, delivered his homily on the day the Church marked its World Day of Peace.
Little Town of Bethlehem was selected out of a multitude of submissions from around the world reflecting upon the meaning of “love.” Produced by Mart Green and directed by Jim Hanon, this full-length documentary shares the gripping story of three men—a Palestinian Muslim, a Palestinian Christian, and an Israeli Jew—each born into violence but willing to risk everything to bring an end to violence in their lifetime. Little Town of Bethlehem was filmed on location in the West Bank, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem with a hope to bring awareness to a growing nonviolent movement in the Holy Land that rarely, if ever, makes international headlines.
Sami Awad is a Palestinian Christian whose grandfather was killed in Jerusalem in 1948. Today he is the executive director of Holy Land Trust, a non-profit organization that promotes Palestinian independence through peaceful means. Yonatan Shapira is an Israeli Jew whose grandparents were Zionist settlers who witnessed the birth of the Israeli nation. Today he is an outspoken advocate for the nonviolent peace movement, both in his homeland and abroad. Ahmad Al' Azzeh is a Palestinian Muslim who has lived his entire life in the Azzeh refugee camp in Bethlehem. Today, Ahmad heads the nonviolence program at Holy Land Trust, where he trains others in the methods of peaceful activism.
Award-winning director Jim Hanon describes the film’s unique perspective, “Little Town of Bethlehem doesn’t focus on who’s right or who’s wrong. Rather, it shows what it truly means and ultimately takes to love one’s enemies. Images of men, women, and children standing firm in the face of overwhelming opposition are as inspirational as the words, thoughts, and actions of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi that Sami, Yonatan, and Ahmad each recalled during filming. However, Little Town of Bethlehem doesn’t just inspire viewers. It also raises an important question—“Might love be the greatest weapon of all?” Watch the trailer at http://littletownofbethlehem.org/.
Little Town of Bethlehem was produced by EthnoGraphic Media (EGM), an educational non-profit organization exploring the critical issues of our time. Other feature films and documentaries from EGM include The Grandfathers (2009), Miss HIV (2008), and the award-winning End of the Spear (2005) and Beyond the Gates of Splendor (2002).
Audra Jennings is Senior Media Specialist at The B & B Media Group. Since 1987, The B & B Media Group, Inc. has used its broadcasting, marketing and advertising experience to provide the specialized and strategic publicity necessary to achieve the public relations goals of each client. The Barnabas Agency, a division of The B & B Media Group, Inc., is a proven provider of exceptional public relations and personal management services for authors, speakers, ministries and organizations.
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