Press Releases

Jewish Studies Presents Arab Actor Director Mohammad Bakri Nov. 11

Date Released: 11/6/2009

The film "Zahara" will be screened followed by a talk with producer Carole Zabar and director Mohammad Bakri at 4:30 PM in Room 1007, Humanities Bldg. Free. Jewish Studies is partnering with Manhattan-based "Other Israel Film Festival."

Purchase College's Jewish Studies Program is partnering with the Manhattan-based “Other Israel Film Festival” to bring the new documentary “Zahara” to Westchester for a public screening on November 11,, 2009.  Both the film’s producer, Carole Zabar, and the director, Mohammad Bakri, will be present at the screening to discuss the import of the film as it relates to the Arab-Israeli conflict.  As a partner of the “Other Israel Film Festival,” Purchase College SUNY joins fellow New York regional higher education institutions such as Columbia University and New York University.

With touching personal style and breathtaking cinematography, Director Mohammad Bakri tells the story of his 78 year old aunt Zahara, from the times of pre-state Palestine to present, leading the family with love and wisdom through the many trials of life.  Bakri, a well-known actor on both stage and screen, has starred in films such as  “Cup Final” and “Beyond the Walls,” the latter an Academy Award Nominee for Best Foreign Film in 1984.


“This is a tremendous opportunity for our students and community members to meet cutting-edge filmmakers who bring new and complex perspectives on Israeli society to the screen,” notes Professor Rachel Hallote, Director of the Jewish Studies Program of Purchase College SUNY. The film screening, free of charge and open to the public, is scheduled for Nov. 11th at 4:30pm in Room 1077 of the Humanities Building as part of a semester-long course on Israeli literature and cinema offered by Visiting Assistant Professor Andrea Siegel. Members of the public who wish to attend the screening and discussion must contact Professor Siegel directly at 914-251-6563 or to preregister.

Now in its third year, Other Israel Film Festival explores the lives and challenges of the Arab minority in a Jewish defined state. The Festival celebrates the diversity of Israeli life with award-winning films and open discussions by and about the country’s Arab minority populations, (Christian, Muslim, Bedouin and Druze) which make up 20% of Israel’s population.

The controversial state of Arabs is extremely relevant to America today. Other Israel Film Festival brings these stories to the big screen and to the American public. The Festival will take place in New York City from November 12th – 19th and will run at JCC in Manhattan, Cinema Village, and other locations around New York City. It is presented by The Israel Film Center at The JCC in Manhattan. The full festival schedule with Manhattan ticket purchasing information is available at “Zahara” at Purchase College SUNY on November 11th will be the only film from the festival to screen in Westchester.


“The goal of the Other Israel Film Festival is to promote tolerance,” said Festival founder Carole Zabar. “Film is a great vehicle for cultural understanding and social awareness and we are excited to continue our conversation and shine a light on a segment of Israel’s population that no one gets to see. I never imagined three years ago that the Other Israel Film Festival would be in the center of the Israeli film industry. We have just produced our first film “Zahara” by Mohammad Bakri and we are thrilled with the films that you will see at this year's festival.”