"LIVE From Bethlehem" with director MATT SIENKIEWICZ IN-PERSON!
The 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 trains its focus on people more than on abstract issues, yet it never loses 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.
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.
- 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 Bethlehem...gives 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
8PM, $5 suggested donation.