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About the film

The film gives background to the current crisis in Israel/Palestine and brings to light the lives of people we met on our 2022 journey in the occupied West Bank. Their universally human stories speak of intergenerational pain, trauma and resilience.  We hope they touch your heart, stir compassion and understanding, and give rise to a pursuit for justice. For without justice, peace remains an empty slogan.

Cinema can be a powerful force for change.  Our aim is, beyond mere education, to truly move hearts and minds and inspire audiences to echo the calls for freedom, equality and dignity that have gone unanswered for far too long.

The film is our modest contribution towards our dream for an end to the occupation in Palestine, the attainment of equal rights and fair treatment for Palestinian people, and the spreading of healing for all intergenerational cycles of trauma in the region.

Visit the film FAQ page

Characters

Ashira Darwish

Ashira Ali Darwish worked for 15 years as a TV & Radio journalist and researcher in Palestine for the BBC, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. She is the founder of Catharsis Holistic Healing, a trauma therapy project pioneering a type of Sufi active meditation which draws its roots from ancestral and Indigenous knowledge.

Ahed Tamimi

Ahed Tamimi is a Palestinian activist, born and raised in the small West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, which became a center of the resistance when an illegal settlement blocked off its community spring. When, in December 2017, at sixteen years old, she was filmed slapping an Israeli soldier, the video went viral, and Tamimi was arrested and detained for seven months. She was again arrested on Nov 6, 2023 and released on Nov 29 as part of a hostage exchange. The story of Ahed Tamimi has come to embody, in many ways, the wider Palestinian experience under Israeli occupation.

Amira Hass

Amira Hass is an Israeli journalist, author and columnist in the daily newspaper Haaretz. She covers Palestinian affairs in Gaza and the West Bank, where she has lived for almost thirty years. The daughter of two Holocaust survivors, she is the recipient of many awards for her work including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Women’s Media Foundation.

Dr. Gabor Maté

Dr. Maté, Holocaust survivor, Order of Canada recipient, and creator of the Compassionate Inquiry™ psychotherapeutic approach, is a Hungarian-Canadian physician and author known for his work on trauma, addiction, stress and childhood development.

Once identified as a Zionist, he later revised his stance and has since openly criticized Israel’s ongoing occupation of Palestinian lands, including the oppression, expulsion, and massacres of Palestinians. He believes that acknowledging historical context is crucial to understand the current conflict and to move forward.

Neta Golan

Neta Golan is an Israeli Activist and co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement, Israelis Against Apartheid, and Return Solidarity. She has actively resisted the occupation, participating in hundreds of demonstrations against the wall and the illegal colonizer roads. She is married and lives in Ramallah with her Palestinian husband.

Bassem Tamimi

Bassem Tamimi is a prominent Palestinian activist from the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh. He has a long history of persecution at the hands of Israeli authorities, including more than three years in administrative detention without charge. He was recognized as a Human Rights defender by the European Union after being convicted for organizing protests against settlement encroachment into his village’s lands. Human Rights Watch said the case was based on the coerced incriminating testimonies of minors and Amnesty International declared him a prisoner of conscience.

Nariman Tamimi

Nariman is Ahed Tamimi’s mother, pillar of the Tamimi family and active member of the culture of resistance. Her brother was killed in front of her by Israeli soldiers.

Sheikh Abdulghani Awawdeh

Bedouin from the Jordan Valley. His family home was destroyed over ten times by the Israeli military. His family endures daily harassment, including confiscation/killing of sheep, no access to water, and no schooling for children.

Ahmad Saleh Barghouth

An elder from Al-Walaja village. His grandson’s home was destroyed by the Israeli army.

Helena Beatriz Manrique Charro

Human rights activist and psychologist, UNRWA.

Hassan Mizher

A high-school student from the Dheisheh Refugee Camp who was shot and paralyzed while going to school in 2018.

Rafea Foukaha

Bedouin from the Jordan Valley. Bedouins are the most disadvantaged community living between the Jordan River and the sea. They suffer from poverty, settler violence, and harassment by the authorities. They lack basic infrastructure, including water, electricity, roads, and education.

The crew

Zaya Ralitza Benazzo

Producer/director

Zaya Ralitza Benazzo is a producer and a film director born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria. She is the co-founder of the nonprofit organization SAND. She has produced and directed several award-winning documentaries including The Wisdom of Trauma, The Art of Life, Rays of the Absolute, America’s Chemical Angels, and Wings and Strings.

Maurizio Benazzo

Producer/director

Maurizio grew up in Genova, Italy. At an early age he began actively traveling the spiritual path, exploring the practices of Zen Buddhism, Transcendental Meditation, Yogic philosophy, Catholicism and Philosophy. He has experience in all aspects of production both in front of and behind the camera, including acting, directing, cinematography, and distribution.

Ashira Darwish

Producer

Ashira Ali Darwish worked for 15 years as a TV & Radio journalist and researcher in Palestine for the BBC, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. She is the founder of Catharsis Holistic Healing, a trauma therapy project pioneering a type of Sufi active meditation which draws its roots from ancestral and Indigenous knowledge.

Caroline Campbell

Director of Photography

Caroline Campbell is a well-seasoned cinematographer, editor and director. Starting out with a BBC Horizon film ‘Global Dimming’, which won the Windscreen Planet Earth award, Caroline went on to found The Hive Studios creating branded content and soon connected with Zaya and Maurizio while filming SAND. Through their collaboration, Caroline went on to film/edit The Art of Life and filmed/edited Wisdom of Trauma. And this abundant relationship continues.

Nickoloz Kachibaia

Director of Photography

Born in Tbilisi, Georgia and raised in Toronto, Canada, Nika is a cinematographer, editor and colorist. Nika collaborated with the Director’s Guild of Canada for several years, where he created their content and helped launch the DGC Round Table Discussion series. Transitioning to commercial productions, Nika partnered with agencies in Toronto and engaged in meaningful work with NGOs worldwide. He worked on projects with renowned brands and agencies such as SONY, Aveda, WaterAid, War Child, Jameson, Stoneleigh, Gravity, ZINK and many more.

Finley MacNeil

Editor

Finley MacNeil is a film and television editor, producer, and director from Toronto, Canada. Having cut thousands of commercial spots by the age of seventeen and his first feature at eighteen, Finley practically grew up in a post-house. Working with countless producers in Canada, the US, and Europe, Finley has amassed innumerable credits at a very young age. His most recent works include The Case Against Cosby, Life Below Zero: Canada, and In Their Own Words.

Armand Amar

Composer

Armand Amar is a French of Moroccan composer (born in Jerusalem) and was imbued early with the sounds of instruments considered exotic at the time. He co-founded the record label Long Distance, dedicated to traditional music, and opened a museum in Paris for his huge collection of instruments from all over the world. Armand Amar created for the Fez Festival of World Sacred Music in Morocco, an oratorio named Leylâ & Majnûn, which was internationally acclaimed.

Maral Quttieneh

Location Producer

Maral Quttieneh is Palestinian journalist and producer from Jerusalem, raised and educated in Palestine, continued her Master degree in France and returned back to Palestine in 2007. Since then she has worked with different media outlets in Radio, TV and written press. She lives and works in Jerusalem as a freelancer and speaks Arabic, English, French and Hebrew.

Stacy Simone

Production Coordinator

Stacy Simone is an event producer currently living in the land currently known as Sebastopol, California. Hailing originally from a rather unremarkable town in the northeastern USA Stacy made her way to Sonoma County by route of London and San Francisco. When not working on productions, she enjoys studying Arabic music, geeking out on plants, doing cartwheels, baking exotic treats, practicing yoga, and contemplating the beauty, shadows, and intricacies of life.

Alexis Aurigemma

Post-Production Supervisor

Alexis Aurigemma is an Emmy award-winning producer and a video editor with over a decade of experience working for companies like NBC, CBS, ESPN and Netflix. She graduated from Brown University with a dual degree in Film and Theatre. When Alexis is not working on film and television, she enjoys performing with her band, Otaku Ongaku, and querying agents with her fantasy trilogy, The Shadow.

Jeanric Meller

Associate Producer

Jeanric helps SAND with sound production, media management, financial organization, writing, editing, translating, customer service, and a variety of odd areas that he’s happy to contribute to.

Yasen Stoev

Assitant Camera

Yasen, is a visual media artist and filmmaker based in California specializing in creating high-quality media by blending traditional filmmaking techniques with cutting-edge generative tools. Yasen has worked as a colorist, editor, AC, and Production Sound Mixer on SAND documentary’s and commercial projects.

Contact

Where Olive Trees Weep

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