New Animated Film Tells Palestinian Narrative
After immense anticipation in the Arab world and the international community at large, “Fatenah”, Palestine’s first 3D animated feature film, has finally begun to grace the festival circuit. Introduced only in Boston thus far, Dearborn will be the second city to premiere the film in the United States. The 30 minute animation will make its debut at the 5th Annual Arab Film Festival this weekend— December 3rd-5th.
Inspired by true events, “Fatenah” tells the story of a 28 year-old Palestinian from Gaza, who discovers she has breast cancer. The film follows her journey as she struggles to attain sufficient medical attention outside of her war-torn homeland. Through the account of just one woman, the film outlines the crippled health care system in Palestine and highlights the realities of living under Israeli occupation.
A two-year-project, the film was proposed and financed by the World Health Organization (WHO), which saw the importance of illuminating the inadequacies of health care. Seeking to tell a very intimate and authentic story, the film’s animator, Ahmad Habash, and producer, Saed Andoni called “Fatenah” a true labor of love. “I would never be able to animate such a film if I didn’t feel so passionately about the message and the characters,” said Habash.
Born in Iraq, yet raised in Ramallah, Palestine, Habash exists as one of few Arabs in the animation industry. With limited exposure to the study of moving pictures, he credits his father who gave him Disney animation software at random when he was 12 years-old. It is then that Habash became fascinated with the illusion of images and their effect on the human mind.
While Habash and Andoni did have the option to create a non-animated film with real actors, they ultimately felt an animated feature could best tell a fictionalized version of the true account. “Animation has the ability to soften a heavy subject. It was our intent to attract a wider audience, perhaps educating those who normally might not have exposure to such topics,” said Habash.
“Fatenah” is undoubtedly growing steadily to success. The film has most recently been awarded the highly coveted Jury Special Mention at the Abu Dhabi Middle East International Film Festival (2009). Not to mention its numerous glowing reviews— each review proclaiming praise for a film that powerfully portrays the oppression of an entire society through the heartwarming narrative of just one.
“Fatenah” will debut at the Arab American National Musuem on Thursday, December 3rd. See the following link for ticket information: www.arabamericanmuseum.org/arabfilmfestival09