2001, 106 minutes
Producer/ Director: Justine Shapiro and B.Z. Goldberg; co-directed and edited by Calros Bolado
Distributed by The Promises Film Project

Yarko and Faraj. Photo: Meagan Shapiro

Additional Resources


Documentary Films

Children of Shatila (1998, 47 minutes)
Director: Mai Masri
Distributor: Arab Film Distribution
A Nour Productions film
      Fifty years after the exile of their grandparents from Palestine, the children of Shatila camp attempt to come to terms with the overwhelming realities of being refugees in a camp which has survived massacre, siege and starvation.

Arab Diaries, part 1: Birth (2000, 26 minutes)
(part 1 of five-part series, Arab Diaries)
Director: Suheir Farraj, Abbas Hashim, and Abeer Esber
Distributor: First Run Icarus Films
A Tamouz Media Production, produced by Deborah Davies, Daoud Kuttab and Ilan Ziv.
      This five-part documentary series provides insight into contemporary life across the Arab world. Part 1 presents three stories: In Palestine Fatima is caught in a cycle of pregnancies because she fears if she does not produce a male child for her husband he will marry another woman. In Baghdad, Daoud is a sick baby born under the international sanctions against Iraq, In a Syrian village Roza, after may years of childless marriage, has learned that her husband has the fertility problem, not her, as she struggles with the traditional expectations of her society.

Bethlehem Diary (2001, 60 minutes)
Distributor:: First Run/Icarus Films
      The streets of Bethlehem have been deserted, the hotels and shops are empty, and it is Christmas in Bethlehem, 2000. The Israeli army has closed off Bethlehem since the 2nd Intifada began. This film focuses on two Palestinian families and a human rights lawyer during this tumultuous period.

Frontiers of Dreams and Fears (2001, 56 minutes)
Distributor: Arab Film Distribution: 56 minutes, 2001.
Produced and directed by Mai Masri; produced in association with the Independent Television Service.
      This video shows the friendship that evolves between two Palestinian girls, Mona, a resident of a Beirut refugee camp, and Manar, who lives under Israeli control in Bethlehem's Al-Dheisha camp. After corresponding through letters, the girls finally meet at the border during the Israeli withdrawal from South Lebanon and are affected when the Intifada erupts around them.

Gaza Strip (2002, 74 minutes)
Director: James Longley
Distributor: Arab Film Distribution
Produced, directed, camera, edited, sound, and music by James Longley
      American filmmaker James Longley follows Palestinian Arabs living in the Gaza Strip, and the events following the election of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, including the first major armed incursion by the Israeli Army forces in spring, 2001. Filmed almost entirely in the cinéma vérité style, this documentary focuses on ordinary Palestinians rather than politicians, presenting an inside look into the stark realities of Palestinian life and death under Israeli military occupation.

Jenin-Jenin (2002, 54 minutes)
Director: Mohamed Bakri
Distributor: Arab Film Distribution
Produced by Iyad Samudi and Mohamed Bakri
      This video shows the extent to which prolonged oppression and terror has affected the state of mind of the Palestinian inhabitants of the Jenin refugee camp. This film investigates the Israeli army's Defensive Wall operation, during which the city and camp were the scenes of fierce fighting.

Palestine Is Still The Issue (2002, 50 minutes)
Director: Tony Stark
Distributor: Bullfrog Films
Carlton Television Limited; written and produced by John Pilger
      John Pilger travels to Israel and the West Bank of Jordan and Gaza to ask why the Palestinians are still refugees in their own land. In a series of interviews with both Palestinians and Israelis, he explores the issue of Palestine and presents the Palestinians as a nation, traumatized, humiliated and yet resilient. He asks for a solution that will bring justice and peace to Palestine.



Holliday, Laurel. Why Do They Hate Me: Young Lives Caught in War and Conflict. New York, NY: Pocket Books, 1999.

Holliday, Laurel. Children of Israel, Children of Palestine: Our Own True Stories. New York, NY: Pocket Books, 1998.

Kimmerling, Baruch; Joel S Migdal. Palestinian People: a History. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003.

La Guardia, Anton. War Without End: Israelis, Palestinians, and the Struggle for a Promised Land. New York, NY: Thomas Dunne Books, 2002 1st U.S. edition.

Shipler, David K. Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land. New York, NY: Times Books, 1986 1st ed.



Columbia University – Middle East Studies Internet Resources
      Columbia University's collection of Middle East Studies Internet Resources is a comprehensive database of electronic bibliographic resources and research materials.

Cowboy Pictures
      Video specific references to related print and electronic sources for the film Promises.

Promises (Review)
      "Talking to the Children: the Documentary Film, Promises focuses on Israeli and Palestinian children" Elizabeth DiNovella, The Progressive, June, 2002.

ITVS: Promises (co-producer's web site)

On-Line Film Critics Society (reviews)
      Diverse film reviews.

POV (television program, original broadcast site)
      Includes diverse educational and information resources in addition to on-line dialogue.

The Promises Project (Promises distributor)

Film website
      Includes filmmaker biographies

United Nations
      This URL links to a subsection of the UN site entitled "The Question of Palestine." The area collects a wide variety of materials offering deeper insight on the subjects in question.

University of Texas – The Center for Middle Eastern Studies
      The University of Texas-Middle East Network Information Center (UT-MENIC) is the online arm of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, offering a virtual library of information on the Middle East.


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