WHAT IS KICKSTARTER
Kickstarter is a crowd-funding platform, an alternative way of raising money for a project or idea. With the help of people contributing, small or large, we can produce our film. Kickstarter is an all or nothing platform – so no donation is taken from you until we have successfully reached the funding target of 15,000 EUR. If we don't reach the full amount, no money is taken. If we do reach our goal – we will be able to make this project happen.
The Valley of the Cross is a queer love story, which takes place in Palestine at the beginning of the 20th century.
This is a love story that unfolds between three women; Herta, Emmanuel and Fanta, who live very different lives in Palestine under Ottoman rule and the British Mandate (ca.1910). Through a series of mishaps and misunderstandings, our comedy of errors describes the earliest fumblings of romantic love, experiencing the first taste of freedom on a journey that takes our characters up and down the countryside. From the shores of Haifa to the mountains of Jerusalem. The story gravitates around the Valley of the Cross in Jerusalem, an Olive and Cyprus grove tended by the monastery, an evocative and beautiful setting for their stories to transpire.
THE MAIN CHARACTERS
HERTA (Samira Saraya) comes from a Jewish family from Odessa, and immigrated to Palestine. She lives with her aunt and uncle who control a large part of the business in Haifa port. She works for her uncle but she dreams of becoming a construction worker and joining the Jewish Worker's Union. Herta wears pants and buttoned shirts despite what other people think. Her closest friend is Emmanuel. Herta visits Emmanuel and her mother every morning before she goes to work. Herta's character is mainly inspired by Henya Pekelman, Palestine's first female construction worker (1903-1940).
EMMANUEL (Liat Ezra) is a Palestinian woman from a wealthy Christian family, living in Haifa with her mother. She volunteers at the Palestinian Women's Movement at Frances Newton’s house. Emmanuel wishes to stay with her mother and doesn't believe in marriage. She prefers to work on the family economy and help the women's movement. Emmanuel admires Huda Sha'arawi, a renowned feminist leader from Cairo who founded the Egyptian Feminist Union. Emmanuel's character was inspired by the great Palestinian poet Fadwa Tuqan (1917-2003).
FANTA is a Yemenite Jewish woman living with her family in Jerusalem. She works in a cloth dyeing factory in the old city, dreaming of becoming a singer. Fanta’s mother secretly gives her some of the family’s limited budget for music lessons with Wasif Jawhariyyeh, the much admired musician in Jerusalem. One of Fanta's favourite places in town is the Valley of the Cross. The valley is a magical forest for her, where she can escape her many responsibilites and sing wihtout being heard. Fanta's character was mainly inspired by the Jewish Yemenite musician Bracha Zefira (1910-1990).
THE LOVE TRIANGLE (THE STORY)
Herta and Emmanuel are very close friends. She visits Emmanuel every morning before she goes to work. One morning, while sitting on the terrace, both get into a tense discussion which makes them confront their different political views and dreams for the future. Herta realizes that she's in love with Emmanuel and understands that there is no hope for them. Herta decides to leave Haifa and go on a journey. Herta eventually arrives in Jerusalem and finds work as a secretary at a cloth dyeing factory. One of the workers notes Herta's arrival with particular interest. This woman is Fanta. During a break Fanta approaches her, and they immediately become good friends.
Back in Haifa, Emmanuel realizes that Herta has left the city and she decides to go after her. In the next Palestinian Women’s Movement meeting she volunteers to bring an important letter to Huda Sha'arawi in Jerusalem. Her mother agrees to let her go if she stays with her uncle Wasif Jawhariyyeh. Emmanuel has a chance meeting with Fanta which changes everything...
HISTORICAL BACKROUND AND RESEARCH
For the last three years we have sifted through many texts, memoirs and history for stories about women from different backgrounds and reasons for being in Palestine at the beginning of the 20th century. Transmitted across time, we listened for the coded words that might signify what we are looking for; a recourse, a slip, a crack in the surface of the dominant narrative, a moment into which we can see ourselves and from which we can imagine our own story made. Imagining an alternative past other than what we were taught in school, started us on this adventure, searching for feminists and lesbians unknown to us. The transition years from the Ottoman Empire to the British Mandate seemed right for telling a story of exceptional characters in an exceptional time and place. With the help of many sources, archives and scholars; historical figures such as Huda Sha'arawi or Frances Newton a.o. came to our attention.
By telling the story from a marginalized point of view - women’s perspectives, lesbian perspectives and diverse cultural backgrounds – we would like to put these marginalized characters in the centre of their own drama and of Palestine’s drama. For us, imagining Palestine as it may have been, allows us to think what it could become. It's not our goal to perfectly reproduce history. It is more in our rebellious temper to plunder history, and share what may have been largely unseen by others.
CREW AND CAST
KEREN IDA NATHAN (IDA WILDE) – CO-DIRECTOR, SCRIPTWRITER, CO-PRODUCER
is a writer, director and visual artist. Writing and directing for stage, film and the discreet arts. Her work is trans-disciplinary and centers on storytelling, social morés, radical communality and femme/queer identity. Besides writing the script and co-directing The Valley of the Cross, she co-wrote and is currently directing The Swan Song, an operetta created with 30 artists over 7 years, recently awarded a grant for 2018. Completed her M.F.A. Drawing 2003 at London Scool of Art, Numerous Dance and Theater performances in collaboration with ausland, Berlin since 2004 and Tmuna Theater, Tel-Aviv 2007-2013, Choreographer in Residence Acco Theater, Acco 2010. Akademie der Kunste at re.act. Feminism 2013. Wrote and illustrated,The Wilde's, publ. 2014 and The Wilde's Collect, Les Complices, Zurich 2014, Beursschouwburg Theater, Brussels 2014, Schwankhalle Theater, Bremen 2015.
NOAM GORBAT – CO-DIRECTOR, EDITOR, CO-PRODUCER
is an experimental filmmaker and video artist, born in Israel. Since 2007 she is based in Berlin. She studied fine arts at the KH-Berlin university and finished her Masters in art & media at the UdK Berlin. 2013 she co-founded Can-doc: a woman-only audio-visual documentation collective for Theater, Dance and the Stage. Founder of FARA-FILMS productions. Since 2009 she has created experimental films and video installations, technical support and coordination for media art and video installations.
CONRAD NOACK – RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT
is a software engineer, performer, actor, curator and sort of musician. He was member of the performance company 'Institut für Primärenergieforschung', as well as member of the theater company “Formation HO'. Since 2009 he has participated in numerous different roles in the communal effort to create the operetta “The Swan Song”. Since 1995 he has curated performance, theater and music events, at first at the venue 'Anorak' and later at 'ausland'. In addition he was part of the artistic direction of a number of festivals such as 'Spurensuche' 1997, 'Radioriff', 'Dein Wort in Gottes Ohr' and Piano Sololala.
AGNES PAKOZDI – VIDEOGRAPHER / CINEMATOGRAPHER
was born in Budapest, Hungary. She studied film theory and film history in Budapest, where she also had her first film experiences. Due to these early works she obtained a scholarship for one year at the University of Arts in Berlin as a video artist. In 2008 she worked in Moscow on TV documentaries as a producer. At the same time she was shooting documentaries for the Hungarian Cultural Institute in Moscow. In 2009 she returned to Berlin to attend the German Film and Television Academy to study Director of Photography. She was taught among others, by Sophie Maintigneux, Fred Kelemen, Sonja Rom and Agnes Godard. In the last years she has shot several award winning short films, documentaries and a feature as a DP. She has worked all over Europe, Central Asia and the US.
SAMIRA SARAYA – PERFORMER
LIAT EZRA – PERFORMER
ANTONIA BAEHR (HENRY WILDE) – PERFORMER
ARIEL NIL-LEVY – PERFORMER
HILA GOLAN – PERFORMER
PIA THILLMAN – PERFORMER
MAYA WEINBERG – PERFORMER
CATALINA FERNANDEZ – LIGHT DESIGN
HILA LAHAV – MUSIC COMPOSER
ORKAN BAYRAM – PRODUCTION ASSISTANT
RÜZGÂR BUŞKI - SOUND
OMAR NICOLAS – GRAPHICS AND DESIGN
KENAN DARWISH – GRAPHICS AND DESIGN
KATRIN WINKLER – MAGIC ASSISTANT
YOUR MONEY WILL PAY FOR
FOOD – We want to be able to provide meals throughout the production days for our cast and crew. Supporting a local catering team with the same goals we share, and providing good healthy meals and enough food for everyone on breaks and at work.
TRANSPORTATION – Making sure that everyone involved in the production arrives safely to and from the shooting location. Transporting our equipment, material and food so that we have everything we need there.
EQUIPMENT – Camera, light and sound. We will choose the right gear and tech for this production according to the location needs and it's conditions. This will effect the aesthetics of our image and sound, and will help our crew to do their work in the best and safest way they can.
PROPS, COSTUMES, SET DESIGN – We would like to create as much of an atmosphere and visuals of the beginning of the 20th century in Palestine; sourcing costumes and costume jewelry, small props such as rugs, lamps, glassware, building a makeshift carriage and painting backdrops, for example.
So help us out if you want to see this film come to screens or festivals in your community! And thank you so much for taking the time to get to know us and share this with your friends.
T-shirt & Tote-bag
'A Very Wilde Story; The True Story of the Marriage of Ida and Henry Wilde' by Ida Wilde
'Call for Applications!' & Poster - 'How to Translate Gender' by Fehras Publishing Practices
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THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO HAS HELPED US THIS FAR:
Pia, Masayo, Hanna, Yael, Roni, Nanna, Yair, Maja, Mirjam, Itamar L., Shirli, Isabel, Mary, Adam, OiF, Mitzi de Vill, DJ Hamed, OFF, ausland, Len, Niva, Yochi, Lee, Dan, Omer, Max, Juli, Tarane, Adi, Ulrich, Druzbar, Lyo, Dalia, Itamar A., Anat, Smadar, Dana, Mayan, Orli, Kamern, Margarete, Skadi, Jule, Albi Cafe, Kathi, Cafe Commune.
Risks and challenges
Funding an independent queer historical film about the Middle East was never going to be easy. But we know how to make a small budget go far without limiting the creative vision for this film or the experience we want to create for the crew and for the audience. We have carefully planned our budget and shooting schedule, prioritizing the crew and the performers, then tech, sound, lighting, music, art and post. But without any help we simply won't be able to make this happen.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (60 days)