About the Film

In a world torn by conflict—in a place where the idea of peace has been abandoned—an energy of determined optimism emerges. When someone is willing to disturb the status quo and stand for the dream of a free and secure world, who will stand with them?

DISTURBING THE PEACE is about people born into conflict, sworn to be enemies, who challenged their fate. The film follows everyday people who took extraordinary actions by standing for what they believe in, just like those who came before them – Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and many others whose names we don’t know. The movie challenges all of us – to understand the narratives we live within, to look at our current roles in our societies, and to decide what role we are going to play in creating a more humane world, for all. And it starts with our willingness to disturb the peace.

DISTURBING THE PEACE is a story of the human potential unleashed when we stop participating in a story that no longer serves us and, with the power of our convictions, take action to create new possibilities. DISTURBING THE PEACE follows former enemy combatants – Israeli soldiers from elite units and Palestinian fighters, many of whom served years in prison – who have joined together to challenge the status quo and say “enough.” The film reveals their transformational journeys from soldiers committed to armed battle to nonviolent peace activists, leading to the creation of Combatants for Peace.

At a time in our world when societies are becoming more polarized and painfully few people are speaking of nonviolent solutions to our conflicts, popular movements like Combatants for Peace have the potential to capture the public’s imagination and shift the conversation from the inevitability of conflict, to the possibility and process of establishing lasting peace. DISTURBING THE PEACE evokes universal themes relevant to us all and inspires us to become active participants in the creation of our world.



Film Participants
In Order of Appearance

SULAIMAN KHATIB

SULAIMAN KHATIB
Raised in the village of Hizme in northeast Jerusalem, Suliman joined the “Fatah” movement when he was 12 years old. At the age of 13, he was arrested for attacking two Israelis served 10 years in Israeli prison. Suliman is a Co-Founder and current Director of Combatants for Peace.

CHEN ALON

CHEN ALON
Chen served for four years in the Israeli army and then for 10 years as an operations officer in the reserves. Later, he signed a petition initiated by soldiers and officers refusing to serve in the occupied territories–the “Courage to Refuse Letter.” He is a Co-Founder of Combatants for Peace. Chen is a theatre director, facilitator and lecturer at Tel Aviv University.

JAMEL QASSAS

JAMEL QASSAS
Jamel was born in the Deheisha refugee camp outside of Bethlehem. His brother was killed by the IDF during the 1st intifada. He went to jail 13 times for his participation in the 1st intifada. He is a member of The Parents Circle – Families Forum as well as Combatants for Peace. He works in construction and continues to live in Deheisha with his wife and children.

AVNER WISHNITZER

AVNER WISHNITZER
Avner was born and raised in Kibbutz Kvutsat Shiller. Between 1994 and 1998 he served as a combatant in the elite unit Sayeret Matkal. In late 2003 he was part of a group of soldiers and officers in that unit who publicly refused to serve in the occupied territories. Avner is a co-founder of Combatants for Peace. In 2010 he was awarded the Goldberg IEE Prize for Peace in the Middle East, together with CFP co-founder Bassam Aramin. He is a professor of Ottoman History and resides with his family in Jerusalem.

SHIFA AL-QUDSI

SHIFA AL-QUDSI
Shifa al-Qudsi From the West Bank town of Tulkarem, as a 24-year-old beauty technician, Shifa was recruited to blow up a supermarket in the nearby Israeli town of Netanya. Before she could complete her mission, Shifa was arrested and later convicted. She served a six year sentence in prison. There, Shifa realized that many Israelis wanted peace as well. She joined Combatants for Peace after her release from prison. Shifa still lives in Tulkarem in Palestine.

MAIA HASCAL

MAIA HASCAL
Born in Nofit village in northern Israel, Maya is a social worker who volunteered for reserve duty after finishing her mandatory service in the Israeli Defense Forces. Following a traumatic event, as she became increasingly aware of the effects of the Occupation on both the Palestinians and Israeli soldiers needing to enforce it, she realized a different path must be taken. Maia joined Combatants for Peace in an effort to resolve this situation through non-violence.

MOHAMMED OWEDAH

MOHAMMED OWEDAH
Mohammed was born in Silwan, East Jerusalem. As a teenager, he was involved in illegal violent anti-occupation activities and served time in prison. Mohammed lives in East Jerusalem and is now a social worker and activist for peace.

ASSAF YACOBOVITZ

ASSAF YACOBOVITZ
Assaf served as an officer in the Israeli Airforce. After taking part in Operation Cast Lead (the first Gaza War) he joined Combatants for Peace. Assaf is a psychologist who lives in Tel Aviv.



Film Makers

STEPHEN APKON

STEPHEN APKON
Stephen Apkon (Director and Producer) is a filmmaker and social entrepreneur. He is the Founder and former Executive Director of the Jacob Burns Film Center, a non-profit film and education center located in Pleasantville, NY. Opened in 2001, the JBFC has become one of the premier film institutions in the United States, with a Board of Directors that includes Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard and Jonathan Demme among others. Disturbing the Peace is his directorial debut. He is a Co-Producer of Presenting Princess Shaw, directed by Ido Haar (distributed by Magnolia Pictures and Participant Media), Producer of I’m Carolyn Parker, directed by Jonathan Demme and Enlistment Days, also directed by Haar, and Executive Producer of Planetary. Mr. Apkon is the author of The Age of the Image: Redefining Literacy in a World of Screens, published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in April 2013 – foreword by Martin Scorsese.

ANDREW YOUNG

ANDREW YOUNG
Andrew Young (Director and Cinematographer) is an acclaimed filmmaker whose work received an Academy Award nomination, two Emmy Awards, seven Emmy nominations, and five awards at the Sundance Film Festival including the “Grand Jury Prize.” He has directed and photographed over a dozen documentaries, including Children of Fate, Cutting Loose, Americanos, The Last Royals, Deadly Messengers, Lives in Hazard, Madagascar: A World Apart, and Glacier Bay: Alaska’s Wild Coast. Young is also an award-winning cinematographer who has received the Excellence in Cinematography prize at Sundance three times as well as a Cinematography Emmy Award and the Cinematography Prize at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival. His work has been exhibited theatrically and on HBO, Cinemax, National Geographic, the BBC and PBS.

MARCINA HALE

MARCINA HALE
Marcina Hale (Co-Producer) is co-founder of Reconsider. With degrees in both Media and Psychotherapy, it is part of Marcina’s vision to utilize film as a catalyst to create experiences that evoke thought and conversations that both challenge and inspire a way of relating to live more dynamically. Marcina is also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). In her roles as master therapist and dynamic facilitator, she conducts workshops that challenge and inspire others to live their lives more consciously and to take responsibility for their own creations.

ORI DERDIKMAN

ORI DERDIKMAN
Ori Derdikman (Editor) is a highly imaginative and creative film editor who has has already established a reputation as one of the most up and coming editors. She graduated from the prestigious Sam Spiegel Film & Television School in Jerusalem and has since gone on to collaborate with some of the strongest directors in Israel.

ROCCO CARUSO

ROCCO CARUSO
Rocco Caruso (Consulting Producer) has spent more the 25 years in film and television. He began his career as an associate producer on the PBS children’s show Shining Time Station which starred Ringo Starr and an animated train that later became known as Thomas the Tank Engine. He segment-produced the CBS television special Superman’s 50th Anniversary for producer Lorne Michaels and has produced TV spots, trailers and short-form programming for MTV, HBO, PBS, Lifetime, Comedy Central, XM Radio, Showtime and Warner Bros.




Disturbing the peace - The Title

The characters are deeply involved in nonviolent resistance, in an effort to end the Occupation and achieve freedom and security, with Israelis and Palestinians living peacefully alongside each other. In this work, they have utilized creative processes, including Augusto Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed and the work of Bread and Puppet to deliver their message.

One of the protests we filmed included families, puppets, a small marching band, and scores of individuals – Palestinian and Israeli – who had gathered to protest. During the event, the Israeli military showed up. They singled out two of the leaders, and as the protest wound down and everyone headed home, they arrested two of our subjects, Mohammed and Chen for “Disturbing the Peace.” It made us think about the irony of being arrested for Disturbing the Peace in a completely nonviolent event and raised the questions, what is “the Peace?” and who is “Disturbing” it?

When an arrest is made for “Disturbing the Peace,” not as a way of protecting the peacefulness of the environment but rather as a form of social control, then what is referred to as “peace” is actually the status quo.

The Combatants for Peace and many other human rights participants who continue their efforts to transform their societies, often deal with arrests and other harassment from the entrenched structures and people whose role it is to protect the status quo. They stand in a long line of people – from Gandhi to MLK Jr., Rosa Parks and many others who have been arrested and those today who continue to be willing to “disturb the peace,” in an effort to help all of us move toward a more just and peaceful world.

We wanted to take the opportunity to honor those who are willing to disturb the “peace” or the status quo to create a better world and to pose a very personal question to each of us: what are we willing to stand for? Are you willing to disturb the peace for a world that you believe in?




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Reconsider

RECONSIDER IS A NONPROFIT MEDIA PRODUCTION AND WORKSHOP ORGANIZATION THAT INSPIRES INNOVATION, ENCOURAGES CREATIVITY, STIRS RESPONSIBILITY, AND FORMS COMMUNITY IN AN EFFORT TO MAKE OUR WORLD MORE DYNAMIC, CONNECTED, AND INSPIRING. RECONSIDER WAS INVOLVED IN THE AWARD-WINNING PRODUCTIONS OF PLANETARY, DIRECTED BY GUY REID, WHICH PREMIERED AT SXSW IN 2015 AND PRESENTING PRINCESS SHAW, DIRECTED BY IDO HAAR, WHICH PREMIERED AT THE JERUSALEM FILM FESTIVAL AND THE TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL IN 2016 AND CURRENTLY IN THEATERS – DISTRIBUTED THROUGH MAGNOLIA PICTURES AND PARTICIPANT MEDIA. DISTURBING THE PEACE WAS DEVELOPED AND PRODUCED BY RECONSIDER. THE ORGANIZATION IS CURRENTLY IN PRE-PRODUCTION OF SEVERAL ADDITIONAL DOCUMENTARY PROJECTS AND IS DEVELOPING EXPERIENCES AND WORKSHOPS THAT EXPLORE AND ENGAGE AUDIENCES IN MORE CONSCIOUS AND CONNECTED LIVING AS IT ASKS TWO FUNDAMENTAL QUESTIONS: WHAT KIND OF WORLD DO YOU WANT TO LIVE IN? WHAT KIND OF LIFE DO YOU WANT TO CREATE?




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Combatants for Peace

COMBATANTS FOR PEACE IS A BI-NATIONAL MOVEMENT OF PALESTINIANS AND ISRAELIS WHO ACTIVELY PARTICIPATED IN THE CYCLE OF VIOLENCE IN THE REGION, BUT HAVE SINCE CHOSEN THE PATH OF NONVIOLENCE IN PROMOTING PEACE AND CO-EXISTENCE. THE MOVEMENT HOLDS NONVIOLENT PROTESTS, EDUCATIONAL TOURS OF THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES, IN-HOUSE MEETINGS, “LEARNING PEACE” LECTURES, AND MEETINGS OF ACTIVISTS IN ISRAEL AND IN PALESTINE. COMBATANTS FOR PEACE STRIVES FOR THE END OF THE OCCUPATION AND OPPOSES ANY FORM OF VIOLENCE ON EITHER SIDE, CALLING FOR THE RECOGNITION OF A DIALOGUE BETWEEN PARTNERS.




Abramorama

Abramorama

ABRAMORAMA IS AN INDEPENDENT DISTRIBUTION AND MARKETING COMPANY. AN INDUSTRY LEADER IN THE FOCUSED, PERSONALIZED FORM OF FILM DISTRIBUTION, ABRAMORAMA PROVIDES INVALUABLE ALTERNATIVES TO FILMMAKERS AND CONTENT OWNERS. COMING OFF THE SUCCESSFUL RELEASES OF LAURIE ANDERSON’S ASTONISHING NEW YORK TIMES CRITICS’ PICK, HEART OF A DOG, AND DAWN PORTER’S SUNDANCE AWARD-WINNER TRAPPED, ABRAMORAMA’S RECENT MULTIPLE-NOMINATED AND AWARD-WINNING TITLES ALSO INCLUDE SHOWTIME’S LISTEN TO ME MARLON (NATIONAL BOARD OF REVIEW WINNER) AND DRAFTHOUSE’S THE LOOK OF SILENCE (2016 DOCUMENTARY ACADEMY AWARD® NOMINEE AND 2015 IDA BEST DOCUMENTARY WINNER).

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