Hotel Everest: One Step at a Time
Nestled between Jerusalem and Bethlehem stands a small hotel called The Everest. It is one of the few places in the region where Palestinians and Israelis can get together. The film follows the efforts of “peace climbers”, individuals who want to see the “others” as human beings rather than demonized enemies. They come from several places, including Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hebron, Palestinian refugee camps, and Idaho.
Two men are at the center of our story, Ibrahim Issa, a Palestinian peace activist, and Eden Fuchs, a social activist and former Israeli Defense Forces Colonel. Together, they host and facilitate discussions with other like-minded people from both sides of the conflict. Whit and Paula Jones from Idaho founded the Center for Emerging Futures (CEF), the organization supporting these efforts.
Over the course of our filming, violence in the region escalated, including horrific kidnappings, murders of Israeli and Palestinian teenagers, and this past summer’s brutal clash between the Israeli military and Hamas, which took so many innocent people’s lives. Our film exists in this tumultuous context and addresses whether the Global Village Square program, an initiative of the CEF, will be able to continue? Will the friendship between Eden Fuchs and Ibrahim Issa be able to withstand this crisis? How does the current crisis impact the choices of the participants to engage with one another?
I remember something President Obama said in his last visit – he said, “Let me tell you, politicians do not take risks on this. The people make them take these risks.” And I completely agree with that. And when we have a few tens of thousands of people interacting and doing partnerships together, then it will [create] pressure. You know, we’re patient.” – Eden Fuchs
Why is this story important?
We have long been bombarded with images and stories of violence from the region. But we rarely see the efforts of individuals who work toward peace, often putting their lives in danger. How do you develop friendships and partnerships in such an environment? How do people break away from a conflict-focused system to simply get together or create long term collaborations? What are the transformative moments in the personal stories of these individuals that make them agents of change, when so many on both sides and around the globe have lost hope.
This past summer, war broke out in Gaza. Retaliation for acts of violence took the lives of many in the most brutal ways, pain and destruction impacted too many lives. These intense and difficult times increased the interest and focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a great moment to leverage this attention and to bring forward a reality that is rarely seen.
Our goal is to create a compelling documentary that raises awareness, inspires and generates greater support to the work of peace builders in Israel and Palestine, and, more broadly, that serves as a model for collaboration to other conflict-ridden areas in the world.
Help us make this happen and pledge now.
“Throughout my career as a psychologist and as a businessman, I’ve been very interested in the role of foundations and how they can affect the community. [...] As I got to the point of being ready to pass on the leadership of my company to the next generation, I began to [wonder], is there some other area in which I could do something and maybe have a positive impact?” - Whit Jones, founder CEF
“I think by involving as many people as possible, [by] meeting and connecting with people, exploring the possibilities for the partnership, we [not only] address the conflict, but also we are creating a new generation of Palestinians and Israelis believing in peace and co-existence....” – Ibrahim Issa
How can you help?
Our goal is to raise $10,000 or more from this Kickstarter campaign. Your donation will help us further the production.
Your contribution will go towards:
- Shooting of additional footage in Israel and Palestine
- Editing and post-production
- Subtitling (into Arabic and Hebrew)
- Application to and participation in film festivals
- Marketing and Distribution
HELP US REACH OUR GOAL PLEDGE NOW.
Ibrahim Issa was born in the Dheisheh refugee camp south of Bethlehem and lived there until he was 8 years old. Issa is the director of the Hope Flowers School, a school founded by his father in 1984 to promote peace education in Bethlehem. He is also the co-manager at the Center for Emerging Futures Middle East initiative. He was shot by an Israeli soldier and healed by an Israeli doctor, his house was demolished by both the Israeli Defense Forces and by members of his own people. Ibrahim’s dedication to his heritage, family and well-being of the Palestinian people fuels his commitment of working tirelessly towards the day after peace.
Eden Fuchs, a former Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) colonel and peace activist, served in IDF from the time he was 18 years old till he retired at the age of 44. His love for his heritage, family and community, combined with an authentic commitment to make peace with his nation’s life-long enemy plays out dramatically in his everyday life. His desire to meet Palestinians on a human level after finishing his army duties led him to participate in one of the first gatherings hosted by the Center of Emerging Futures. After his third meeting, in spite of all his fears and hesitations, he volunteered to be one of the program’s hosts, and later became Ibrahim's partner as co-manager of activities.
Whit and Paula Jones: In 2004, Whit, a Boise, Idaho retired psychologist, had an idea. With his wife, Paula, they would go on to found the Center for Emerging Futures (CEF). They organize Palestinian/Israeli exchanges, including visits to historical landmarks, dialogues about personal histories, and even business partnerships, highly unusual in this part of the world. The Joneses organize these gatherings with a team of Israeli and Palestinian employees and volunteers.
The Makers Of Hotel Everest The Movie:
We are very fortunate to have as one of the Executive Producers, Fabio Golombek, president of FJ Productions. Fabio is an award winning producer and director. His early career as a documentary filmmaker makes his guidance to our project extremely relevant. In addition, he has produced several feature films and TV series. Fabio is a member of of the Producers Guild of America, the International Documentary Association, and the National Association of Latino Independent Producers.
As well as an amazing crew and support team:
Cinematographers in Israel: Harvey Stein and Rotem Malenky; Audio: Mika Tzu; Cinematographer in Palestine: Elias Nawawieh; Additional cinematography in Boise, Idaho: Andy Lawless and Tom Hadzor, Audio: Michael Gough; Additional cinematography in New York: Michael Gomes, Audio: Pablo Diez; Production Assistant: Jack Levinson;Financial Production Manager: Catherine Kleynhoff; Storytelling Consultant: Tom Schlesinger; Editor trailer: Giovanni Moriconi; Production support in New York City: Scott Gracheff
We will make the film available to educators (high schools and universities, in the US and overseas), and organizations and groups which share the vision of the film.The film will be submitted to festivals and proposed to TV channels (Al Jazeera America, Sundance, History Channel, among others) in the United States and abroad. It is our goal to have the film subtitled in Hebrew and Arabic to ensure that it is available to all audiences.
The situation in the Middle East is extremely volatile. Our characters are very courageous and determined to share their stories.
Thank you for sharing our vision and supporting our project. Pledge now and help us reach our goal.
Risks and challenges
The uncertainty of the situation may force us to adjust our schedule, particularly the final shoot which is only possible if the meetings between Palestinians and Israelis take place. But our commitment to complete the film and to tell this story is unwavering.
Thank you for sharing our vision and supporting our story. Pledge now and help us reach our goal.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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