"Arna's Children" - Juliano Mer-Khamis


Film Screening and Discussion with the Director

Israeli actor and Freedom Theatre founder Juliano Mer-Khamis visited Brandeis on March 30, 2006, to screen "Arna's Children," a film he directed which tells the story of Freedom Theatre.

Established in the Jenin refugee camp in Palestine, The Freedom Theatre has become a space for the children of the camp to empower and strengthen themselves through the medium of theatre. It has been a supportive tool for dealing with the daily hardships of their lives. The recent re-opening of the theatre in the refugee camp is an act of faith and belief in the ability of the arts to support people in their effort to rehabilitate and rebuild their lives.

"Arna's Children" is a story of coexistence and reconciliation. It is a story of developing different mechanisms for dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and for addressing injustices in innovative and artistic ways. The theatre is providing the children of the camp with an opportunity of escaping from the violence they face daily, using theatre as a central liberating and strengthening tool.

In addition to presenting a different perspective on a well-known conflict, the film and its director exposed the audience to realties that are very often hidden from the mainstream media, bringing to the forefront an extremely important discussion about coexistence and understanding of "the other." Those attending the event reported being moved and deeply touched by the film, as well as by the conversation with the director.

This event was sponsored by the Malkin/Slifka Scholars, the Arab Jewish Dialogue Group and the PAX program.