Live. From Bethlehem

Matt Sienkiewicz, Joseph C. Sousa. 2009. Palestine. vo Arabic. s English. 37’

v English

Bethlehem-based Ma'an News Agency (MNA) emerged out of the ashes of the second Intifada to become the only independent news network in the Palestinian Territories and an increasingly prominent and influential journalistic force in the wider Middle East. Live: From Bethlehem tells MNA's remarkable story. It chronicles the agency's struggles and successes through the eyes of the station's reporters, producers, and photographers, in the process quietly revealing the humanity of ordinary Palestinians as they go about their daily business. The documentary focuses on people rather than abstract issues, without losing sight of the myriad social and political forces and pressures that Ma'an journalists are forced to negotiate as they try to gather and report balanced information. What results is an admirably nuanced portrait of how news gets produced, and how Palestinians live, in one of the world's most troubled regions.

Filmmaker Info Filmmakers: Matt Sienkiewicz and Joseph C. Sousa Producers: Matt Sienkiewicz and Joseph C. Sousa Co-Producer: Amira Hanania Associate Producers: Emily Sienkiewicz, Vera Ventura Videography: Matt Sienkiewicz Editors: Walter Blazewicz, Cob Carlson, Joseph C. Sousa Assistant Editor: Ethan Schwelling Audio Mix: Joel Schwelling Colorist: Dave Allen Translation: Nidal Al-Azraq Filmmaker's bios JOSEPH SOUSA | Producer/Director Joseph Sousa is an Emmy-nominated producer, director, and writer of non-fiction television and independent documentaries. Sousa has produced programs for PBS, Animal Planet, The Discovery channel, Spike TV, Hearst-Argyle, and Portuguese satellite network RTP-International. Sousa is currently producing a one-hour documentary about Alaska for the Discovery Channel and recently completed work on the acclaimed Animal Planet series, Dogs 101. MATT SIENKIEWICZ | Producer/Director/Cinematographer Matt Sienkiewicz is an Emmy-nominated screenwriter and documentarian, as well as a PhD candidate at the University of Wisconsin. His credits include the award winning comedy series Windy Acres and the acclaimed television documentary Festa. His academic research focuses on Western involvement in Middle Eastern broadcasting initiatives and ethnic representation in American media. He has articles forthcoming in The Journal of Film and Video and The Community Media Reader. AMIRA HANANIA | Producer At the age of 24, Amira Hanania became a reporter at the Ma'an Network. She now works with Lebanon's Future TV, serving as its correspondent in Ramallah. She has produced documentaries for Al-Jazeera and Egyptian satellite stations. Film Festivals Watch Docs Human Rights in Film International Film Festival | Dec. 3-12, 2010 | Warsaw, PolandSociety for Cinema and Media Studies Conference | March 17-21, 2010 Philadelphia Independent Film Festival | June 26th, 2009 Athens (Ohio) International Film Festival | April 30th, 2009 Rhode Island's Roving Eye Documentary Film Festival | April 28, 2009 Global Visions Film Series, University of North Dakota | April, 21, 2009 Boston International Film Festival | April 20th, 2009 Chicago Palestine Film Festival | April 19 and 20th, 2009 Awards Related Links Producer's website Press Reviews Filmmaker Matt Sienkiewicz on Wisconsin Public Television's Director's Cut The Capital Times Praise for the Film "fascinating..." - The Chicago Reader "A truly superb film...exceptional in its nuanced portrayal of the forces that come to bear on media production in the Palestinian Territories." - Dr. Michael Curtin | author of Playing to the World's Biggest Audience "The film presents a concise snapshot of the struggles faced by a news organization struggling to survive and maintain integrity in an atmosphere of extreme political tension and economic uncertainty, and as such would provide an additional dimension to a collection supporting Journalism and Middle Eastern studies curricula. Recommended." - Educational Media Reviews Online "Live From Bethlehem goes behind the cameras and beyond the standard frameworks of seeing the Palestinians as either antagonists or victims in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict...This thought provoking, action packed, and sensitive documentary is a must-see for anyone interested in how journalists work, and for anyone who wants an up close look at working life under occupation." - Dr. Amahl Bishara | Professor of Anthropology at Tufts University "Live from viewers, especially those of us without first-hand experience of the region, a sense of the conflicting political and social forces journalists must deal with as they strive to provide Palestinians with a source of reliable news. This film is an important contribution to both popular and scholarly understandings of the Middle East." - Dr. Kyle Conway | Professor of English at University of North Dakota