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Music, Memory and Identity as Palestinian American musician Fuad Foty returns to the West Bank after 40 years away from home.
Music, Memory and Identity as Palestinian American musician Fuad Foty returns to the West Bank after 40 years away from home.
282 backers pledged $17,379 to help bring this project to life.

About

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Ziad Foty shooting experimental film "The Strange Ways of the Occident".
Ziad Foty shooting experimental film "The Strange Ways of the Occident".

Who We Are

I am Ziad Foty a Palestinian American and Washington, D.C. native who has lived in Dublin, Ireland where I completed my MPhil in Film Studies at Trinity College and in Montreal, Canada where I studied towards my PhD in Film Studies at Concordia University.  I have produced several short films exploring issues of race and identity including The Strange Ways of the Occident an Official Selection of the 2013 D.C. Palestinian Film and Arts Festival and the 2013 Alwan Film Festival. Currently, I am completing my MFA in Film at Howard University where I'm committed to telling the story of my father, local musician Fuad Foty and his return this June 2014 to Ramallah, West Bank Palestine, his home that he's been away from for forty years.

Fuad Foty playing Oud at wedding, 1978.
Fuad Foty playing Oud at wedding, 1978.

Shortly after the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, my father and his family moved to the U.S. and into a very different world of Houston, Texas.  After witnessing enormous violence during his last days in Palestine and being met with hardship and further violence in Houston, playing the Oud (Arabic Lute) became a central part of Fuad's life. While in the U.S., Fuad used the Oud as a way to battle the fresh memory of Israeli oppression as well as the unexpectedly unfriendly environment of Houston. 

Now a long-time Washington, D.C. resident, Fuad like many others in the city, is a federal government worker by day but in his own time, he is a well known local musician playing both traditional Palestinian music and Arab fusion. Fuad holds onto the memories of old Ramallah through his unwavering commitment to playing and signing Palestinian resistance songs on the Oud. He has instilled in his family and encourages in his community, a sense of Palestinian identity and pride through music.  

Fuad playing the Oud, 2013.
Fuad playing the Oud, 2013.

For years, Fuad has had a deep desire to return to Ramallah but fear of safety has kept him from home, until now. As the American Federation of Ramallah, Palestine, a Palestinian American organization has planned its upcoming annual convention in Ramallah for the first time ever, Fuad is determined that this time he will return home. 

The Project

Return To Ramallah: A Palestinian American Story will follow Fuad Foty on his return home by tracing his life from D.C. back to his college days in Michigan, his teenage years in Houston and onto Ramallah. This June 2014, we will be shooting the Palestinian segment of this feature length documentary, incorporating the journey of other Palestinian Americans who for many like Fuad Foty, this will be their first times back home in decades. 

The production will also focus heavily on the significance of memory, music and identity--specifically on how 'nostalgia' impacts perceptions of 'home' as one would expect, the Ramallah Fuad left 40 years ago is very different from the one he will see this summer. 

HOW THE FUNDS WILL BE USED

  • We must raise $15,000.00 to cover the cost of a three-week production shoot in the West Bank Palestine. This money will be used for the expenses of a three person crew including the cost of airfare, ground transportation and accommodations. This will also cover the purchase of digital camera and sound equipment as well as hard drives. Again, this is a low budget documentary production and the $15,000.00 is for the Palestinian element of the story. 

PLEDGES

  • In appreciation of your generous pledges, we are offering Rewards including mementos from Palestine along with DVD copies of the documentary film. For our high-end Backers, please see Updates on original painting by local Egyptian American artist Mona El-Bayoumi as gifts for your pledged donations.
The almond tree in front of Fuad's house in Ramallah
The almond tree in front of Fuad's house in Ramallah

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT

On Saturday, March 22, 2014, we were so moved when over 70 people attended a fundraising event for the film. In that night we raised $2500 for the film! We are so inspired and humbled by the generosity from everyone who attended. 

Fundraising Dinner Hosted by Anna Jhirad
Fundraising Dinner Hosted by Anna Jhirad

Also, an enormous thanks to Docs In Progress and to the Film Faculty of Howard University's Department of Media, Journalism and Film who have been tremendously supportive. 

I believe strongly that it is through independent films like these that we can bring stories of Palestinian Americans to a larger audience with your support.

- Ziad Foty

Visit us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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Updates

We have just learned that Mona El-Bayoumi, a local D.C. artist of Egyptian decent, has agreed to generously donate two original paintings to our campaign! Both paintings which depict the Palestinian Landscape (below) will now be offered as rewards. You can find more detailed information about these two items in the rewards section.  Also if you would like to learn more about Ms. El-Bayoumi please visit her website at monaart.com 

Landscape of Palestine 1 1985
Landscape of Palestine 1 1985
Landscape of Palestine 2 1999
Landscape of Palestine 2 1999

Risks and challenges

The biggest challenge for this project are the risks associated with trying to film in Palestine. We are worried that our footage will be taken from us and must take additional security measures to ensure we can bring it back home.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    DVD of the finished film when completed.

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    قطعة من الارض [Piece of al-Ard] | #40For40:

    Pledge $40.00 for the 40 Years local musician Fuad Foty has been away from Palestine and receive a signed copy of the DVD as well as Soil from the Olive Tree in Foty's childhood home in Ramallah.

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    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    Sweet Memory. A production still from our time in Palestine.

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    My family recorded a music cd of Arabic music when we were kids. This reward includes the CD and a DVD of the film.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    A Momento From Palestine. For a donation of $75, we will send you a signed DVD of the film and an original scarf from Palestine that Fuad will donate to the campaign following our travels to Ramallah.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Your Own Piece of Palestine. A very dear friend and jewelry maker is donating her work to help fundraise for this film. For $100 you will receive a DVD of the film and an original piece of jewelry.

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    Pledge $110 or more About $110

    CD, DVD and scarf package.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Title: Landscape of Palestine 2
    Artist: Mona El-Bayoumi
    Dimensions: 8 inches x 10 inches
    Medium:Acrylic and marker on paper

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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    Title: Landscape of Palestine 1
    Artist: Mona El-Bayoumi
    Dimensions: 11 inches x 14 inches
    Medium: Acrylic on paper Matted and Framed

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Funding period

- (35 days)