In February 2012, filmmaker Aaron Dennis and journalist Jacob Wheeler created a 7 part web-series called "The People and The Olive" that followed the daily events of the Run Across Palestine. Upon return, they realized there was a bigger story to tell and that this project needed to be made into a feature length documentary. Six months later and after hundreds and hundreds of hours of donated time, this movie is ready to be released to the world! But we need your help to get it across the finish line. The world premiere is set for early September 2012, and we're launching our Kickstarter campaign to cover the post-production expenses and to allow us to submit the film to film festivals and other venues to get the uplifting story of the Palestinian farmers out to as wide an audience as possible.
“They planted so we ate. Now we plant so they eat. Past generations planted these trees that we’re eating from and are supporting our lives, and we plant trees for our future generations to support their lives.” — Palestine Fair Trade Association founder Nasser Abufarha
What do olive trees mean to Palestinian farmers? Olives are their livelihood, their source of sustenance and the way they root themselves, historically and spiritually, to the land. But Palestinians are denied access to nearly 30 percent of their beloved olive trees in the West Bank as they struggle to live under Israeli military occupation. How do they persevere? And what should the international community understand about Palestinian olive farmers, who love their land and harvest it every season to feed their families — just as farmers across the world do?
The Run Across Palestine in February 2012 was an effort by six Americans to run 129 miles in five days across the West Bank, in order to raise awareness about the struggles of Palestinian fair trade olive farmers, and replant uprooted olive trees along the way. The Run was organized by the Traverse City, Michigan-based nonprofit, On the Ground which supports sustainable community development in farming regions across the world. The runners faced many barriers during the endeavor — barriers that represented a microcosm of what their Palestinian friends face every day. Along the way, they forged deep bonds with their hosts while witnessing the harsh political reality and uplifting beauty of life in the West Bank.
During the run, Dennis and Wheeler produced a daily web series that told the story of these farmers and received over 10,000 views worldwide. Their feature-length documentary, The People and the Olive, narrates the drama of the run and the challenges and uplifting stories of the farmers. They are submitting the documentary to film festivals throughout North America and encouraging at-home screenings, in an effort to shed light on Palestinian olive farmers. The filming, editing and writing of this this was an act of love - we were happy to do produce this for no pay. In January, we raised $5000 on Kickstarter (thanks again to our supporters!) to pay for the travel costs to create the web-series, but there were a lot of costs accrued during the post-production of the documentary. Your Kickstarter contribution will help offset these costs and help support our film festival entry fees and DVD duplication to help get this story out to the world. The ultimate goal of the film is to inspire and motive people to help keep the mission of the Run Across Palestine alive - to raise awareness of the lives of the Palestinians, to help replant more olive trees and to promote their amazing fair trade products.
We're happy to announce that we've been accepted into our first film festival - The Boston Palestine Film Festival for October of 2012!
To learn more about the film or for more info on hosting a screening, go to www.ThePeopleAndTheOlive.com
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