By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
The Jewish/Muslim Film Institute (JMFI) will present a free screening of the movie, “A Bottle In The Gaza Sea” on Sunday March 6. The event will take place from 1:45 to 4 p.m. at the Emanuel Synagogue, 900 NW 47th Street, in Oklahoma City.
A discussion session will be held following the screening.
The JMFI mission is to bring diverse groups together to share films that will raise awareness and encourage conversation.
The 2011 drama, “A Bottle In The Gaza Sea” takes place in Jerusalem and Gaza. Less than a hundred kilometers separate the two cities, which are home to Tal, a 17-year-old recent French immigrant to Jerusalem, and Naïm, a 20-year-old Palestinian confined to Gaza.
After witnessing a bombing at her local café, Tal refuses to accept the fact that only hatred can exist between these two peoples. She places a message into a bottle, thrown into the Gaza Sea, which is soon discovered by Naïm.
The Jerusalem teenage girl portrayed by Agathe Bonitzer and the Palestinian boy (Mahmoud Shalabi) start corresponding via email, which leads to hope that their blossoming friendship may give them the strength to face the world and to change it in their own small way.
“Our intention is to inspire dialogue through film and to help our audience members consider the point of view of others,” said Joan Korenblit, executive director of Respect Diversity Foundation, one of the event sponsors.
“Through film and dialogue, people from all cultures learn that we are more alike than different,” Korenblit said. “During the first year, we watched a number of friendships develop between people of different cultures. And now we’re looking forward to another year of thought provoking films.”
Other films to be presented this year include “Dancing in Jaffe” on August 21 at Raindrop Turkish House, and “Two-Sided Story” at Temple B’nai Israel on November 13.
Partners for the JMFI event include: CAIR Oklahoma, Dialogue Institute OKC, Emanuel Synagogue, Islamic Society of Greater OKX, Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice, OCU Film Institute, Oklahoma Conference of Churches, Jewish Federation of Greater OKC, The Interfaith Alliance of OKC, Temple B’nai Israel, UCO College of Education & Professional Studies and United Nations Association OKC
Funding for this program is provided in part by a grant from the Oklahoma Humanities Council (OHC) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).
OHC is an independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote meaningful public engagement with the humanities—disciplines such as history, literature, film studies, ethics, and philosophy.
“The humanities offer a deeper understanding of ourselves and others by confronting us with the questions, values, and meanings of the human experience,” said Ann Thompson, OHC executive director.
“OHC brings people together to explore these ideas through programming and community grants that support book groups, exhibits, film festivals, teacher institutes, and more,” Thompson added.
Seats for “A Bottle In The Gaza Sea” are limited and registration is required. To RSVP, call 405-359-0369 or email Joan Korenblit at [email protected].
For more information, visit www.jewishmuslimfilminstitute.com.