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JUST VISION PRESENTS

Naila and the Uprising

DIRECTED BY JULIA BACHA

When a nation-wide uprising breaks out in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, a young woman in Gaza must make a choice between love, family, and freedom.


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When a nation-wide uprising breaks out in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, a young woman in Gaza must make a choice between love, family, and freedom. Undaunted, she embraces all three, joining a clandestine network of women in a movement that forces the world to recognize the Palestinian right to self-determination for the first time. Naila and the Uprising chronicles the remarkable journey of Naila Ayesh and a fierce community of women at the frontlines, whose stories weave through the most vibrant, nonviolent mobilization in Palestinian history - the First Intifada in the late 1980s.

Using evocative animation, intimate interviews, and exclusive archival footage, this film brings out of anonymity the courageous women activists who have remained on the margins of history -- until now. While most images of the First Intifada paint an incomplete picture of stone-throwing young men front and center, this film tells the story that history overlooked – of an unbending, nonviolent women’s movement at the head of Palestine’s struggle for freedom.

While the First Intifada provides the backdrop for Naila and the Uprising, its lessons transcend that particular time and place. Through the experience of countless women engaged at all levels of society, we learn what is possible when women take the lead in struggles for rights and justice -- from a movement's inception to peace talks -- and what we lose when they are stripped of their roles. Echoing struggles around the world, we also witness the tremendous power of nonviolent organizing: women's committees, drawing on all the hallmarks of civil resistance, were able to mobilize hundreds of thousands through massive street rallies, mobile health clinics, underground schools and concerted boycott campaigns, sustaining the uprising while generating indigenous self-sufficiency. In Naila and the Uprising we see how women-led civil resistance can stir the masses, put pressure on power-holders, and affect real structural change.

The film was directed by award-winning filmmaker and Just Vision's Creative Director, Julia Bacha (director of Budrus and co-director of My Neighbourhood) and produced by Just Vision's Education and Public Engagement Manager, Rula Salameh and Rebekah Wingert-Jabi (co-director of My Neighbourhood). Executive Producers include Just Vision's Executive Director, Suhad Babaa, along with Abigail E. Disney, Gini Reticker, Deirdre Hegarty, Joan Platt and the Women Donors Network.

For more information on Naila and the Uprising and how to bring this film to your community, visit our FAQ page.

Learn more about the crew and cast.

For over a decade, whenever I've asked Palestinian grassroots leaders about the models of inspiration that they draw on, they've consistently pointed to the First Intifada. I knew after years of filmmaking in the region that, despite the First Intifada's immense status among Palestinians, it remained misunderstood internationally, shaped by a dominant narrative steeped in a law-and-order frame that largely overlooked the daily grassroots organizing at the core of the uprising. When the Just Vision team decided to conduct our own in-depth research, we came to grasp just how much of the story had been obscured. The First Intifada was not only a vibrant, strategic and sustained nonviolent civil resistance movement; for months, it was also led by a network of Palestinian women who were fighting a dual struggle for national liberation and gender equality.

We knew we wanted to bring this story to light by producing a documentary that could provide insight and wisdom from the veteran women activists of the First Intifada to today's rising leaders. We felt it was crucial to provide a more holistic account of that time, illuminating how Palestinians have historically engaged in unarmed resistance efforts, underscoring the power of civil society in creating change and elevating the role of women in movement building.

The lessons of Naila and the Uprising are as relevant today as they were in 1987. Women across the globe continue their struggle for basic freedoms and dignity. From the First Intifada to the present moment, it's clear: women's leadership in civil society organizing is vital. But too often, their work is sidelined or ignored. That's a troubling trend, particularly as a number of academic studies have demonstrated that movements that support women's leadership are more likely to employ nonviolent tactics. And those that employ unarmed civil resistance are much more likely to achieve their goals. This research resonates strongly with what Just Vision has observed in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories for over 15 years, including in the successful struggle against the separation wall waged by Budrus - a village in the West Bank and the subject of our 2009 film - in which women and girls played a central role.

Our research on the First Intifada made it clear that the women in Budrus were drawing from a deep legacy. Women have consistently been a part of influential social movements coming out of the Middle East, but time and again, the cameras focus on armed men, leaving us with a narrative that not only erases women, but also misrepresents the struggles themselves, as well as the demands behind those struggles. Naila and the Uprising calls attention to those movements, in real time and historically, so that the courage and creativity of women can be amplified and leveraged. The film is also a cautionary tale for what happens when women are stripped of their leadership roles and excluded from ongoing struggles.

When the team at Just Vision first embarked on Naila and the Uprising, we knew that surfacing this history was important. But we didn't fully anticipate exactly how timely the film would be. The women in Naila and the Uprising are not only role models for the rising generation of Palestinians and Israelis struggling for justice, freedom, dignity and equality. They also illuminate lessons and legacies for communities around the globe who are demanding more of their political leaders as they organize for the rights and well-being of all.

We were privileged to connect with dozens of women while making this film. They demonstrated incredible courage and resilience - in their ongoing resistance and as they step forward to tell their stories. It is our hope that their experiences will inspire and inform audiences worldwide just as they have moved and educated us.

Julia Bacha (2017)

Naila and the Uprising Discussion Guide

This discussion guide is designed to help you learn more about women's leadership, unarmed civil resistance and grassroots organizing in the Israeli-Palestinian context. The questions offered in this guide are designed to encourage a constructive conversation on a variety of issues raised in the film. You will also find more information about the protagonists, a guide to facilitation and support materials including further reading, frequently asked questions and answers (FAQs) and a glossary. We encourage you to use this guide alongside the resources below, grouped thematically.
Download 56-page PDF.

The First Intifada was a rich and complex historical period that has been the subject of numerous research studies, articles, books, films and other resources. The resources below, organized around clips from the film, are not meant to be comprehensive. Rather, they provide useful context to deepen your understanding of this pivotal time in Israeli-Palestinian history. Please note that these resources do not necessarily represent the perspective of Just Vision.

Background on the first Intifada




Women's Leadership in Movement Building




Nonviolent Resistance in Action




More clips for discussion


DIRECTOR
Julia Bacha

PRODUCERS
Rula Salameh
Rebekah Wingert-Jabi

DIRECTORS OF ANIMATION
Dominique Doktor
Sharron Mirsky

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Talal Jabari
ADDITIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY BY
Mohammed Abu Safia

EDITORS
Fl√°via de Souza
Rebekah Wingert-Jabi
ORIGINAL SCORE BY
Tristan Capacchione

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS
Suhad Babaa
Abigail E. Disney
Barbara Dobkin
Deirdre Hegarty
Joan Platt
Gini Reticker
Women Donors Network
CO-PRODUCERS
Fadi Abu Shammalah
Suad Amiry
Ronit Avni
Pilar Crespi & Stephen Robert
Suzy Davis & Emilia Ferreira
Jessica Devaney
Jen Marlowe
Nava Mizrahi
Anya Rous

ASSOCIATE PRODUCERS
Sara Fusco
Hannah Lawrence
Haggai Matar


Graphic Designer
Garry Waller

Lead Archival Researcher
Rosemary Rotondi

Archival Researchers
Mohammed Abu Safia
Lydia Dallet
Tyson Flagg
Tamara Masri
Olivia Reed
Sigal Rosh
Rula Salameh
Yasmine Saleh
Elias Zananiri

Consulting Editors
Jessica Congdon
Rabab Haj Yahya

Assistant Editors
Sara Fusco
Vinny Terlizzi

Post-Production Associate
Mahrya MacIntire
Kevin Merkelz

Sound Recordist
Issam Rishmawi

Sound Edit
Judith Gruber-Stitzer

Dialogue Editor
Kyle Stanfield

Additional Sound Editing by
Sharron Mirsky & Dominique Doktor

Assistant Sound Editor
Sacha Ratcliffe

Foley Artist
Karla Baumgartner

Foley Recordist and Editor
Judith Gruber-Stitzer

Foley recorded at
Digilog Studios - Montreal, Canada

Post Production Services
Technicolor-PostWorks New York

Colorist and Online Editor
Mike Nuget

Digital Intermediate Producer
Dylan Puchala

Re-Recording Mixer
Christopher Koch

Audio Services Producer
Bryn Neuenschwander

Senior Vice President, Sales
Rob Morlano

Post Production Supervisor
Brandt Gassman

Post Production Associate Producer
Nora Unkel

End Titles created with
ENDCRAWL . com

Lead Translator
Mohammed Nassar

Translators
Mohammed Abu Safia
Lorena Galliot
Abdul Hakim Salah
Joline Makhlouf
Eva Mousa
Mo Nassar
Yoav Netanyahu
Mehra Rimer
Shoshana London Sappir
Nader Uthman
Mairav Zonszein



ANIMATION

Additional Design
Jenni Tannahill

Animators
Dominique Doktor
Jocelyne Laliberté
Sharron Mirsky
Bekky O'Neil
Jenni Tannahill

Post Production Assistants
Fabio De Felice
Annie DeSilva
Jacob Hansen
Jocelyne Laliberté
Michael Pagels
Élodie Roy
Raquel Sancinetti
Rebecca St. John
Jenni Tannahill
Dana Zidulka


JUST VISION TEAM

Emma Alpert, Public Engagement Manager
Yael Marom, Public Engagement Manager, Israel
Eva Mousa, Lead Designer and Developer
Daniel Nerenberg, Communications Manager


FORK FILMS TEAM

Aideen Kane, Vice President of Production
Juli S. Kobayashi, Vice President of Operations
Molly O'Brien, Chief Business Development Officer
Angie Wang, Chief Operating Officer


MUSICIANS

Jean-Christophe Lizotte, Cello
Levi Dover, Bass
Stéphane Allard, Violin


RECORDIST MIXER/RECORDERD AT

Music Recordist and Mixer
Tristan Capacchione
Recorded at
Ton of Bricks Studios - Montreal, Canada


POSTERS

Poster 1
"Uprising Continues" by MOHAMMED ROUKWIE
Published by Palestinian Women's Organization circa 1990
Source: The Palestine Poster Project Archives & Amer Shomali


STILL PHOTOGRAPHY

Still Photography Courtesy of
Mahfouz Abu Turk
Active Stills
Naila Ayesh
Rabeha Diab
Zahira Kamal
Luisa Morgantini
Zahra Othman


ARCHIVAL FOOTAGE

Archival Footage Courtesy of
ABCNEWS VideoSource
AP Archive
Michal Aviad
BBC
CBC
CNN
Jo Franklin's Days of Rage
INA
IPBC Film Archive (IBA collection)
ITN Source
Michael Khelifi
Mai Masri
Nissim Mossek
The film "My Home, My Prison"
NBCUniversal Archives
Screenocean / Channel 4
Screenocean / Reuters
Wazee Digital
YLE
York Zimmerman Inc.
Additional Archival Material
ABC
Al Jazeera
Al Quds
Amal, Inam, Naila
BBC
Birzeit University Library
Derech Hanitzoz - Tariq A-Sharara Archive 
Hadashot
Jerusalem Post
New York Times
War and Peace in the Middle East


SPECIAL THANKS

Lucas Welch
Mila and Kai Bacha-Welch
Ana Soares
Edmar Bacha and Maria Laura Cavalcanti
Andrea and Jorge Gouvea Vieira
Marwan Nidal Taha
Ibrahim Salameh and Tahani Rassas
Hannah Jabi
Vicky and Vern Wingert
Luis Pantoja
Rebecca Abou-Chedid
Colorlab
Mona Eldaief
Arca Foundation
Compton Foundation
Dorot Foundation
Heinrich Böll Foundation Palestine & Jordan
One Foundation
Rockefeller Brothers Fund
Tecovas Foundation
Iikka Vehkalahti
Peter Jaszi
Bradley Abelow
Edward Ayoob
Sam Bahour
Mickey Bergman
Ravida Din
Deirdre Hegarty
Michael Hirschhorn
Ariadne Papagapitos


THANK YOU

Abelow Family Foundation
Nadia Abu Nahle
Jihad Abu Zneid
Dr. Nabil Abuznaid
Susan Adelman
Luigi Allemano
Khawla Al-Azrak
Fatima Al Jaafari
Nafiz Al-Rifaie
Anonymous
Cynda Collins Arsenault
Arsenault Family Foundation
Dr. Hanan Ashrawi
Asian Women Giving Circle, a donor advised fund of the Ms. Foundation for Women
Marz & Manijeh Attar
Anan Attireh
Shira Avni
Sary & Ed Backer
Susan Bardfield
Teresa Barger and Travis Brown
Katherine Barry
Annie Berdy
Nancy Bernstein
Kamil Chajder
Daniel Chalfen
David Chambers
Lisa Chanoff
David & Devon Cohn
CrossCurrents Foundation
Hussain Currimbhoy
Jamie Dobie
Dobkin Family Foundation
Sonnie Dockser
Geralyn Dreyfous
Sandi Dubowski
Alicia Dwyer
Sara Edelman
Gayle Embrey
Ray Fabi
Manal & Riadh Fakhoury
Abdel Fatah Hamayel
Mohammed Fawzi
Kristin Feeley
Lois Feinblatt
Ina Fichman
Beadie Finzi
Maxyne Franklin
Ellen Friedman
Ellie Friedman
Phyllis Friedman
Mary Galeti
Geeta Gandbhir
Anne Germanacos
Jessica Glick
Margery Goldman
Lynda Goldstein
Ted Green
Alicia Groos
Ken Grossinger and Micheline Klagsbrun
John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation
Donna Hall
Rima Hamami
Serge Hamel
Ryan Harrington
Craig Harwood
Judith Helfand
Michael Hill
Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema Animation Internship Program
Lama Hourani
Ibrahim AlHusseini
Polly Howells
Carol Hutner & Terry Winograd
International Center on Nonviolent Conflict
Dr. Jad Isaaq
Tabitha Jackson
Dr. Islah Jad
Kenneth Johnson
Yael Kahn
Joanna Katz
Rashid & Mona Khalidi
Dr. Ghassan Khatib
Saman Khoury
Amal Khreisheh
Mary Elizabeth King
Pat Kozu
Anna Lefer Kuhn
Joan Kuriansky
Felicia Langer
David Lee
Hali Lee
Left Tilt Fund
Jeanne & Ken Levy-Church
Rebecca Lichtenfeld
Cristina Ljungberg
Maan Network
Zuhair Manasrah
Mary Manhardt
Eliezer Margolis
The Geneviève McMillan-Reba Stewart Foundation
Foundation for Middle East Peace
Pat Miles
Millstreet Foundation
Robin Morgan
Luisa Morgantini
Ayed Morrar
Nancy Murray
Jody Myrum
Mimmi Nuetela
Raed Othman
Zahra Othman
Tamar Pelleg-Sryck
Kathleen Peratis
Nicholas Peterson
Joan and Lewis Platt Foundation
Issa Qumsiyeh
Elaine Reuben
Eric Rockey
Sue Ross
Kareem Roustom
Cilia Sawadogo
Jess Search
Pamela Shifman
Amer Shomali
John Sinno
Matt Sokolowski
Maria Stephan
Victoria Steventon
Janice Stieber Rous
Sara Tmeizi
Leah Tsemel
Jean Tsien
Monique Weil
Paula Weiman-Kelman
Bonnie Wildorf
Ruth Wolman
Women's Organization for Political Prisoners (WOFPP)
Barbara Wyckoff
Steve York
Joyce Yu
Elias Zananiri
Mariam Zaqout
Miriam Zimmerman


Supported by a grant from the NoVo Foundation




Title
Naila and the Uprising
Copyright
Just Vision

When a nation-wide uprising breaks out in 1987, a woman in Gaza must make a choice between love, family and freedom. Undaunted, she embraces all three, joining a clandestine network of women in a movement that forces the world to recognize the Palestinian right to self-determination for the first time.

The film revolves around the tragic and remarkable story of Naila Ayesh, an active student organizer in Gaza in the 1980s. Naila has spent years building the infrastructure for economic independence for women and self-sufficiency for Palestinians under Israeli occupation. She is pregnant when first arrested in 1986. None of her friends and family knows where she is being detained, and the Israeli army and prison system deny that she is in their custody. After days of torture and interrogation in the prison, she starts bleeding - a sign of a possible miscarriage - but guards ignore her repeated requests to see a doctor.

While the First Intifada provides the backdrop for Naila and the Uprising, its lessons transcend that particular time and place. Through the experience of countless women engaged at all levels of society, we learn what is possible when women take the lead in struggles for rights and justice -- from a movement's inception to peace talks -- and what we lose when they are stripped of their roles. Echoing struggles around the world, we also witness the tremendous power of nonviolent organizing: women's committees, drawing on all the hallmarks of civil resistance, were able to mobilize hundreds of thousands through massive street rallies, mobile health clinics, underground schools and concerted boycott campaigns, sustaining the uprising while generating indigenous self-sufficiency. In Naila and the Uprising we see how women-led civil resistance can stir the masses, put pressure on power-holders, and affect real structural change.

Naila's husband and long-time partner in activism, Jamal, reaches out to Israeli journalist and activist Roni Ben Efrat, imploring her to look into Naila's case. She works with Israeli journalist Oren Cohen, whose investigation points to clear evidence despite police denials. He publishes just the same. Oren's story hits the headlines, forcing the authorities to reveal that Naila Ayesh is being held by the Shin Bet, Israel's secret service. By the time the bureaucratic machine releases her - without charge - she has lost her child.

One year later, Naila gives birth to her son Majd, and as the uprising breaks out, she pours her heart into it. Naila and dozens of other women start building parallel institutions to challenge the Israeli military's control of Palestinian life: underground classrooms to replace schools that were shut down by the army, citizen-run health clinics to treat those with no access to hospitals, and "victory gardens" to break reliance on Israeli agriculture.

Naila also orchestrates the secret distribution of leaflets, the underground leadership's communication system to inform people of strikes, boycotts, marches, and other direct actions being planned each week. A new mother, Naila puts baby Majd in a sling and takes him with her at night, hiding the communiqués in loaves of bread.

When her husband is deported for political activities soon after the outbreak of the Intifada, Naila is left to raise a child alone while sustaining her vital role in the uprising. As she gains visibility in the movement, the Israeli authorities arrest her again, this time in the middle of the night, taking her away from her 6-month-old son. With one parent in prison and the other deported, Majd is eventually sent to join his mother and the imprisoned women of the First Intifada, taking his first steps in an Israeli prison yard. Months pass and the uprising persists, leaving the fate of Naila and her family hanging in the balance.

We follow Naila and the women's struggle through the end of the uprising and into negotiations with Israel, where Palestinians are recognized for the first time on the world stage. The women's movement bore immediate fruit, with female activists taking their place on the Palestinian delegation, more female representation than any other party. But will the women be able to carry forward the vision of equality that their activism set in motion?

Using evocative under-camera animation, intimate interviews, and exclusive archival footage, this film brings out of anonymity the courageous women who shook the Israeli occupation and put Palestinians on the map for the first time. Most images of the First Intifada paint an incomplete picture from a law-and-order frame. This film tells the story that history overlooked - of an unbending nonviolent women's movement at the head of Palestine's struggle for freedom.

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The New York Times

An invitation into the worlds of real, heroic people who persevere when all hope is lost.

Christiane Amanpour

Amanpour & Co.

Has so much hope of invigorating a whole new generation.

The Nation

Stories like Naila’s remind us of a third way: one of nonviolent resistance led by self-reliant, democratic, gender-equal communities.

The Daily Beast

In (Naila and the Uprising), female activists are not shiny aberrations—they are the unseen spine holding up a movement.

The National

Naila and the Uprising" seeks to ensure that our analysis does not erase a core element of [the First Intifada]: the participation and the leadership of Palestinian women.

Huffington Post

Julia Bacha’s moving film which combines stirring archival footage, thoughtful interviews and evocative animation is a fitting tribute to the women who still struggle for a fully democratic Palestinian state . . . and their rightful place in that state.

The Hollywood Reporter

The smart direction and tech work are as straight-arrow and determined as the protagonist.