IN 1967 Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria. Before the occupation, there were 139 villages. Following the occupation, 130,000 Syrians were forced from their homes. Today only five villages remain.
Now a major feature documentary on this region and its people, Apples Of The Golan, will be shown in the Cinemobile, outside the Town Hall Theatre, on Thursday July 12 at 4pm. The screening is part of the Galway Film Fleadh.
Apples Of The Golan concentrates on the people of the village of Majdal Shams and look at how it has become a kind of prison for the inhabitants. It will also examine the lives and passions of the local people and show they are far removed from Western stereotypes of Arabs. Here are rappers, rockers, salsa dancers, holy men, fishermen, traitors, lovers, freedom fighters, and mothers, set against the backdrop of the violence engulfing Syria and the Israeli occupation.
Apples Of The Golan was born from a chance encounter in the Galway Film Centre during 2006. Gearóid O Cúinn had visited the Golan Heights conducting human rights research and told Keith Walsh and Jill Beardsworth stories from the region.
The pair became fascinated and saw potential for a fascinating documentary - a little known place from a well known conflict; the occupation of the Golan Heights has not featured in the news headlines for much of the last 45 years; the occupation and its resistance are less apparent than in the West Bank.
Between 2007 and 2011, Jill and Keith visited the area eight times over the period and spent a total of nine months filming in the village, and worked as a two person crew directing, filming, and editing the film themselves. The pair’s work also led to their establishing the Twopair Films production company in 2009.
Keith studied film and television in GMIT and worked professionally in Galway city for 10 years. Jill also worked professionally in Galway for eight years before they moved to County Clare and set up Twopair Films. Apples Of The Golan was produced by John Wallace. The executive producer was Donal R Haughey, a filmmaker based in Gort.
The film has already won critical acclaim with Film Ireland’s Steven Galvin calling it an “absorbing documentary…a well-structured documentary that tells part of a complex story with skill and craft, Apples of the Golan is a striking tale of the strength and spirit of a people determined not to lose their identity and the land that it is tied to.”
The film will be screened in the Cinemoblie as part of the Galway Film Fleadh 2012 on Thursday July 12 at 4pm. There will be a Q&A with the directors following the screening.
Tickets are available from the Town Hall on 091 - 569777 and www.tht.ie