BBR Saatchi & Saatchi Israel’s short documentary film Blood Relations that tells the story of Ben and Seham, a bereaved Israeli father and Palestinian sister from the Israeli/Palestinian Parents Circle-Families Forum and their journey to donate blood to save lives on the other side, screened in the Other Israel Film Festival in New York yesterday.
Members of the public were able to donate blood in support of the ‘Blood Relations’ project the film tells the story of, at a mobile blood donation bus that was on site outside the JCC Manhattan. The blood drive that attracted hundreds of participants and provided a much-needed boost to the city’s blood supplies after many of New York’s blood donation clinics were closed by superstorm ‘Sandy’.
The short film ran as an introduction to the full-length documentary One Day After Peace, featuring the story of Robi Damelin, also a member of the Parents Circle – Families Forum, and one of the original participants in the ‘Blood Relations’ initiative. The award-winning film, directed by Erez and Miri Laufer, follows Damelin as she tries to contact her son’s killer. When he refuses, she returns to her country of birth, South Africa, to examine how they achieved reconciliation after decades of conflict. Damelin and journalist Gideon Levy spoke and addressed questions after the screening.
The Other Israel Film Festival is taking place in New York City from November 8-15, featuring New York premieres of internationally acclaimed, award-winning films by and about Arab and minority populations living in Israel. The Other Israel Film Festival is the foremost U.S. presenter of new cinematic works that bring into focus the most talked about and controversial topics concerning Israeli society today. In addition to the screening of One Day After Peace on Sunday, it was also screen on Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 7:00 PM at CinemaVillage. For full program information, visit OtherIsrael.org
Yossi Lubaton, CEO of BBR Saatchi & Saatchi Israel said: “We are very proud to have our film shown in the Other Israel Film Festival. We hope this film will make people think differently about what it means to be a ‘Blood Relation’ and that the people who see it will not only share in our hope that things will get better, but that they will be inspired to share their blood and donate in support of that hope. It has been an honour to work with such an amazing organisation as the Parents Circle and the Peres Centre for Peace and we thank them for giving us the opportunity to make the film that documents their incredible story.”
Isaac Zablocki, a programmer of the Other Israel Film Festival, adds, “The Other Israel Film Festival is proud to create a platform of dialogue and inclusivity as demonstrated through the arts. And now, we extend this platform to include a much needed blood drive. This drive will serve the New York public at times of need, and also serve as a symbol equality and peace.”
The donations in New York on Sunday mark the latest in a series of blood donation events that have been taking place across the world as part of the ‘Blood Relations’ initiative. The project began in September 2011 when Israeli and Palestinian members of the Parents Circle – Families Forum, came together to donate blood to each other that was then shared to save lives on the opposite side.
‘Blood Relations’ was borne out of a global challenge ‘The Impossible Brief', launched by BBR Saatchi & Saatchi Israel at the 2010 Cannes Advertising Festival where creative minds from all over the world were invited to present ideas that would bring Israelis and Palestinians closer together. Visit www.bloodrelations.org for more information.
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About The Parents Circle Families Forum
The Parents Circle Families Forum (PCFF) consists of more than 600 bereaved families, half Palestinian and half Israeli. It has played a crucial role since its inception in 1995, in spearheading a reconciliation process between Israelis and Palestinians. The Forum members have all lost immediate family members due to the violence in the region.
The PCFF is a not-for-profit organization that operates from two offices, the Israeli office located in Ramat Ef'al (suburb of Tel Aviv) and the Palestinian office in A-Ram (north of Jerusalem). The organization is operated and backed up by a large body of volunteers from the bereaved families as trained and experienced lecturers, facilitators and activists. The Forum is supported by a network of friend organizations in the United States, Britain, Germany and Israel.
Their work is well known within international political circles. President Barack Obama publicly acknowledged them as an example of the desire for reconciliation in the region in his 19 May 2011 address on the Middle East. Their work has also been recognised by President Bill Clinton, President Carter and Desmond M. Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus and has received numerous awards including the Gandhi Foundation International Peace Award in 2010.
The 6th Annual Other Israel Film Festival will take place in New York City from November 8-15, featuring New York premieres of internationally acclaimed, award-winning films by and about Arab and minority populations living in Israel. The Other Israel Film Festival is the foremost U.S. presenter of new cinematic works that bring into focus the most talked about and controversial topics concerning Israeli society today. The Festival takes understanding beyond the finite viewing experience by offering world-class speakers and conversations in the SpeakEasy Café following each screening. The Other Israel Film Festival was founded by Carole Zabar in 2007, with the mission of giving an international voice to minority groups in Israel through cinema.
Films will screen at the JCC in Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave, and the Cinema Village, 22 E. 12th St., in New York. This year, the festival will offer nationwide access to select films and conversations on its streaming site: OtherIsraelOnDemand.org