DUBAI // Films from the Middle East can bring about change and help humanise the Arab-Israeli conflict, Queen Noor Al Hussein of Jordan said yesterday at the Dubai International Film Festival. Queen Noor will deliver the keynote speech tonight after the world premiere of Budrus, a highly anticipated documentary. "We are trying to find films that help to humanise primarily the Arab-Israeli conflict," Queen Noor said in an exclusive interview with The National. "It's very hard to find film makers who find and produce stories that help you look at things from outside. I really think they can have impact."
Queen Noor is known for her humanitarian work across the Arab world, focusing on education, conservation, sustainable development, human rights and cross-cultural understanding. She will be accompanied in a panel discussion after the film by the Hollywood producer Mike Medavoy and Rebecca Saxe, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor. The panel will put forward research to prove the impact of media and cinema in the conflict.
Queen Noor said Budrus was proof of the role that media can play. In the documentary, a Palestinian leader unites Fatah, Hamas and Israelis in an unarmed movement to save his village from destruction. Success eludes him until his 15-year-old daughter joins the fray. The documentary was filmed over months of protests. It claims to have captured the efforts of individuals who take on rigid, violent, political, social divides to work collectively for peace.
"This film also provided us an opportunity to present some research that we have been undertaking, through an organisation of like-minded Muslim-Americans and others from the media," Queen Noor said. "We share a concern that not enough is done. This was causing us a lot of pain. Yet, there is a conviction that media can play a great role." Her foundation's media and humanity programme attempts to bring to the fore films that talk about the conflict in the region with an open, outside perspective.
Queen Noor agreed that such films did not reach enough people and more needed to be done to help the films' makers. "We will be discussing in our panel how we can take such films that tackle the most divisive problem of our times, the Israel-Palestine issue, beyond historical mindsets that exists in both these communities," she said. "We need to take that out of the theatre and extend it more broadly to the entire community."
The panel discussion will be held tonight at 8.30pm at the Madinat Arena and is open to the public. firstname.lastname@example.org