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Birzeit University Commemorates Late Director of ‘Arna’s Children’

Tuesday
April 30, 2013
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The Birzeit University Cinema Club commemorated late “Arna’s Children” documentary film director Juliano Mer-Khamis on April 24, 2013. Juliano was killed in Jenin on April 4, 2011 by a masked man.

“Arna's Children” is a 2004 Dutch-Israeli documentary film about a children's theater group in Jenin refugee camp, in the northern occupied West Bank, that was established by Arna Mer-Khamis, the director's mother, an Israeli Jewish political and human rights activist.

The film portrays the lives of Arna and the theater children members: Ala el-Sabagr, Zakaria Zubeidi, Daud Zubeidi, Majdi Shadi, Haifa Esteti, Nidal Swetti, Yussef Swetti, Mahmoud Kaneri, Khairia Fakhri and Ashraf Abu-Alheji. It won "Best Documentary Feature" at the 2004 Tribeca Film Festival.

As years pass, director Juliano returns to the refugee camp back to look for these children that were part of his mother’s life and found that three of them had been killed while resisting the Israeli military, and two children had been imprisoned.

Juliano was born in Nazareth to Arna, who was Jewish, and Saliba Khamis, who was a Christian Palestinian. When Juliano served in the Israeli army as a paratrooper, Saliba refused to speak to him for a year. The filmmaker used to describe himself as "100% Palestinian and 100% Jewish."

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