Children of Ibdaa, TheIn this short 36-minute documentary, director S. Smith Patrick has created a moving portrait of Palestinians relocated to the Dheisheh refugee camp in the West Bank, focusing mainly on the children involved in the Ibdaa dance troupe (founded in 1993). The word Ibdaa translates into “to create something out of nothing,” which is an apt title considering that these children are working to create dances depicting the struggle of their people, not only in the past when they were originally displaced from their land, but in the present as they struggle to get it back.

Featuring candid interviews with the children, and a basic breakdown of the history of the situation (to the point that even those with little or no previous knowledge will easily follow) The Children of Ibdaa offers a brief glimpse into the lives of young Palestinian refugees and their hopes for a peaceful future. As one child states “I have talked to many foreigners and they all seem to agree with me, but nothing changes.” This documentary seeks to peacefully adjust that lack of action simply by presenting viewers with vital information and history.

The DVD also features almost an hour of a digitally-shot performance the dance troupe presented in San Francisco, where the short film won Best Documentary Short at the San Francisco International Film Festival. The dancers are earnest and well-rehearsed and their message is nothing if not heartfelt. Anyone interested in the Palestinian situation will find more than enough compelling content in both the documentary and the dance footage.

Zach’s Rating: B
Perfect For: A brief history of Palestinian refugees’ struggle to return to their homelands
Stay Away if: 36 minutes isn’t enough of a documentary for you

To purchase The Children of Ibdaa, visit Arab Film Distribution or Amazon
For more information visit the director’s homepage

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