Gallery Curator Statement: Tom Hayes

Two Blue Lines provides an unswerving examination of the human and political rights situation of Palestinian people living under Israeli rule. The documentary, shot over a period of twenty five years in Israeli occupied Palestinian territory, presents Israeli narratives of the Palestinian experience from the 1930's to the present. More...

Some kids play basketball.  Some, like my friends and I, made films.  I wound up going to film school and have worked in the industry for decades.  Now I split my time between making and teaching.  A little over 30 years ago I had an epiphany about the situation Palestinians have been driven into.  It evolved from documentary work I had been doing in the Cambodian refugee camps along the Thai border.  It wasn’t much of a leap to connect the Cambodian experience to the Palestinian experience.  I haven’t looked back since.  Along the way I’ve made three long form documentaries about the human and political rights situation of Palestinian people. 

Martin Sheen narrates this examination of the lives of three Palestinian families who fled their homes in 1948 and have lived as refugees in Lebanon ever since. Originally released in 1985, Native Sons probes the roots of the Palestine/Israel conflict through lives of individual people. Utilizing archive footage dating from as early as 1935, the film provides an accessible introduction to "the Middle East Conflict."

My latest film, Two Blue Lines,  features Israeli narratives (progressive Jewish Israelis) of the Palestinian experience.  During the making of that film I got to know many Israeli organizations that have held fast to the Jewish ethical tradition.  I hadn’t found that orientation in the U.S. until I heard about the advent of Jewish Voice for Peace.  I joined up in a heartbeat.  JVP is a profoundly important social movement.  It shows the promise of having a real impact on improving the lives of both Palestinians and Israelis. Two Blue Lines is currently available through Americans for Middle East Understanding (AMEU).

I was asked recently to curate a gallery of films for JVP.  Here are some picks.  Some are quite old, but seminal works, some newer.  The list is a mix of fiction and documentaries.  Some of the films contain elements of both genres.  It’s not a comprehensive list of all the films made on this topic, but these are films I regard highly.