Bilin My Love (Wolgin Award for Documentary Film, Jerusalem International Film Festival 2006) is a dynamic point-of-view documentary about the struggle of the Palestinian village of Bilin, in the West Bank, over its land. The Israeli government divided the village as part of the construction of the separation barrier, and appended half of the land to a neighboring Jewish settlement, Mod’in.
Israeli director Shai Carmeli Pollak did not initially come to Bilin as a filmmaker, but as part of Activists Against the Wall, an international peace activists’ organization. Armed with his camera, for over a year he participated in the nonviolent resistance along with the Palestinian villagers and international activists, while capturing confrontations between protestors and the Israeli army and police. His intrusive and investigative camerawork reveals a complex reality and raises difficult and important questions about human rights.
With stunning guerilla aesthetics, the film depict the struggles of two Bilin residents: Mohamed, a member of the village’s local committee protesting the wall, and Wagee, farmer and father of ten, who is losing the majority of his land to the wall. They provide intimate, personal insights into the Palestinian side of the story. Shedding light on this fraught aspect of the Middle East conflict, Bilin My Love is an important documentary about the cooperative efforts of Palestinians, international human rights activists and Israeli Jews who feel morally compelled to protest their government’s policies in the West Bank
From 2008 Festival: Director, Israel
Shai Carmelli Pollak was born in 1968 and grew up in Jaffa. He is a graduate of the Film & Television Faculty at Tel Aviv University. He is both a director and writer. His work includes: the Zbeng series for youth, the animated series Zolgar and Pupkin Conquer the World, and the drama Abrahmov. For the past four years Carmeli-Pollack has documented and took part in the struggle against the separation Fence. Bilin My Love (Bil’in Habibti) is his first documentary film.
"I did not come to Bil’in as a filmmaker, but as an activist, to take part in the protest against the land theft caused by the separation barrier.
For a year and a half, I used my camera to document the moments of despair and hope, danger and courage and the birth of true partnership between Palestinians and Israelis. During this period the village has become a symbol of the joint struggle against the barrier and the occupation."