Confronting Israeli soldiers and settlers with video cameras, resilience and "sumud"

Sarura At the gates of the Negev desert, a group of young Palestinians fight against settlers who are committed to forcing them out of Sarura. Already the village has been abandoned but a team of activists are determined to face down the settlers and return the village to it former residents. They face aggression with nonviolent action, defending themselves from rifles with their video cameras; they oppose desolation and death with hope and life.

Sarura (2022) on IMDb

Festivals and Awards

LaurelStockholm City Film Festival | Best Feature Documentary
LaurelBergen International Film Festival | Best Feature Documentary
LaurelKarama Film Festival | ANHAR Award

Reviews and More

The primitive, bleakly beautiful surroundings take on a Biblical cast as the Palestinians work to transform the barren land.” – The Arts Fuse

The Producers

Nicola Zambelli - Director

Nicola Zambelli is one of the founders of SMK Factory, an independent production company with whom he has made several documentaries awarded at international festivals and
screened all over the world. SMK is the creator of the independent distribution portal OpenDDB, a multilingual digital platform inspired by the open source philosophy that
promotes documentary cinema and independent culture through VOD and non-theatrical circuitry, collaborating with cultural associations and independent cinemas.

He works on educational projects in the schools with which he wins the first prize in 2019 and a special mention at the “International audiovisual awards” on the days of the 76th Venice International Film Festival.

In May 2020 he won a special mention at the "EVA - excellence in visual anthropology awards" conferred by the Ethnocineca of Vienna for the film "Cracks" and the "Best Performance" awarded by the "Nil Art Gallery" of New York with the short film "The awakening hour".

His latest documentary film "Sarura - the future is an unknown place" was selected in 2020 at the "Impact days" of the Human Rights Festival FIFDH.

Making The Film

Directors' Statement
In 2010 we were invited by the Italian association Operation Dove to visit the village of At-Tuwani, where it had been present for some years with a monitoring and unarmed accompaniment garrison, to tell the experience of nonviolent resistance of the Popular Committee of the Southern Hills of Hebron. We were a group of young filmmakers, and for the first time we were confronted with such a sensitive political issue as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the military occupation of the West Bank.

In order to keep the promise made to the shepherds of the area and to the committee's activist, we returned to Italy and produced, thanks to crowdfunding, "Tomorrow's Land - how we decided to tear down the invisible wall", a documentary made thanks to hundreds of supporters and screenings that took place in many cities in Italy and around the world. To us Sarura is the return to the same village ten years later, the new promise to give visibility to the incredible story of the shepherds, men and women of the South Hebron Hills’ resistance, told through the voices of their children, those who in Tomorrow's Land were only boys and girls and who have grown up continuing to confront the abuse and violence caused by the colonies' expansion projects and the military occupation of their fathers' lands.

We chose to tell the story from their point of view, spending a few weeks with the Youth of Sumud, sleeping with them in the Sarura caves, accompanying them to school, witnessing the settlers' constant provocations and the soldiers' intimidation at the borders of their village (a few hundred meters from their homes). We spoke with them, trying to understand what are the aspirations of a young person who grows up and lives in a village constantly threatened while studying by the light of a led lamp to prepare for his law school exams. Boys and girls who dream of living a normal life, getting married and having children and to give a future to their existence in conditions of normality, wondering whether to leave a tortured land or stay to continue a struggle that seems eternal but at the same time necessary and legitimate.

We have decided to tell the story of Youth of Sumud because it can be a concrete example of hope, a peaceful struggle full of human dignity, whose conclusion is still uncertain but whose final outcome is written through the story of each person. A tiny story compared to the History with a capital H, but at the same time universal and representative of a conflict that seems never to end.

Nicola Zambelli, Director

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