Encounter Point“This film is dedicated to the thousands of Palestinians and Israelis committed to non-violence as a means of ending the conflict and building peace.”

So reads the dedication at the end of the 85-minute documentary Encounter Point; a film that director Ronit Avni and co-director, writer, and editor Julia Bacha spent more than four years researching, filming and editing. The film has proven itself more than worth the filmmaker’s time, and not because it has been lavished with numerous awards (Audience Award for Best Documentary – San Francisco International Film Festival,  Audience Award for Best Documentary – Rencontres Film Festival in Montreal, Spirit of Freedom Award – Bahamas Film Festival, Best First Documentary – Barcelona Docupolis, and more) but because it has now screened in over 35 countries and has opened up important political dialogues whereever it goes.

Encounter Point examines the conflict between Palestine and Israel by exploring and following the lives of numerous citizens in both areas that have been hurt by loss but have chosen to seek peace rather than vengeance. There are no politicians involved, as the filmmakers decided that “politicians come and go but what’s happening on the stret is what’s most important.” Thus, this is a feature documentary interviewing and showcasing ordinary people who are driven to achieve peace for both sides.

Watching Robi Damelin, an Israeli mother who has lost her son, Ali Abu Awwad, a Palestinian who has lost his brother as well as numerous other bereaved family members and socially conscious Palestinians and Israelis, is as inspiring as it is impressive. These are everyday citizens taking it upon themselves to help everyone work together towards peace, rather than apart towards destruction. The filmmakers are careful to avoid subjectivity and are fairly successful, focussing on dialogues between groups and meetings between peace-seeking Israelis and peace-seeking Palestinians rather than using a narrator to explain (and possibly distort) the facts to viewers.

Anyone who has been following the recent news from this area cannot help but feel effected by this film. This is more than just a film, it is a call to peaceful action. The extras on the DVD are especially nice as well, including numerous deleted scenes and a 10-minute short doc following several screenings of the film and audience reactions. Rather than showing clips of people praising the movie, this 10-minute section focuses on people’s complaints about the movie and helps to showcase how the film can be used to open discussions about these important topics. Don’t miss Encounter Point. It’s the kind of documentary that seeks to change the world, and not by force, but by education and understanding.

Zach’s Rating: A
Perfect For: Opening up much-needed dialogues worldwide
Stay Away if: You honestly just don’t care about what’s happening in the world

To purchase Encounter Point, visit Arab Film Distribution
For more information and to get involved visit Encounter Point or Just Vision

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