ABOUT

When a nation-wide uprising breaks out in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, a young woman in Gaza must make a choice between love, family, and freedom. Undaunted, she embraces all three, joining a clandestine network of women in a movement that forces the world to recognize the Palestinian right to self-determination for the first time. Naila and the Uprising chronicles the remarkable journey of Naila Ayesh and a fierce community of women at the frontlines, whose stories weave through the most vibrant, nonviolent mobilization in Palestinian history – the First Intifada in the late 1980s.

Using evocative animation, intimate interviews, and exclusive archival footage, this film brings out of anonymity the courageous women activists who have remained on the margins of history -- until now. While most images of the First Intifada paint an incomplete picture of stone-throwing young men front and center, this film tells the story that history overlooked – of an unbending, nonviolent women’s movement at the head of Palestine’s struggle for freedom.

While the First Intifada provides the backdrop for Naila and the Uprising, its lessons transcend that particular time and place. Through the experience of countless women engaged at all levels of society, we learn what is possible when women take the lead in struggles for rights and justice -- from a movement’s inception to peace talks -- and what we lose when they are stripped of their roles. Echoing struggles around the world, we also witness the tremendous power of nonviolent organizing: women’s committees, drawing on all the hallmarks of civil resistance, were able to mobilize hundreds of thousands through massive street rallies, mobile health clinics, underground schools and concerted boycott campaigns, sustaining the uprising while generating indigenous self-sufficiency. In Naila and the Uprising we see how women-led civil resistance can stir the masses, put pressure on power-holders, and affect real structural change.

The film was directed by award-winning filmmaker and Just Vision’s Creative Director, Julia Bacha (director of Budrus and co-director of My Neighbourhood) and produced by Just Vision’s Education and Public Engagement Manager, Rula Salameh and Rebekah Wingert-Jabi (co-director of My Neighbourhood). Executive Producers include Just Vision’s Executive Director, Suhad Babaa, along with Abigail E. Disney, Gini Reticker, Deirdre Hegarty, Joan Platt and the Women Donors Network. Learn more about the crew and cast here.

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