Title Deed from Moses
PALESTINE / 1998 / Arabic, English / Color / Video / 30 min

Director, Script, Photography: Azza El-Hassan
Editing: Sa'ed Andony
Music: Odeh Turjuman
Source: Azza El-Hassan
P.O. Box 1901 Ramallah, West Bank PALESTINE
Phone: 972-50-260800
Fax: 972-2-2959962
E-mail: yamama@palnet.com

Azza El-Hassan

Born in Amman, Jordan, to a Palestinian family in 1971, and moved to Lebanon with her family. Following the Israeli invasion of Lebanon the family moved back to Amman in 1982. Studied at Glasgow University and University of London. Has an MA in Television Documentary. Worked as assistant director for Middle Eastern Broadcasting Centre (MBC), London. Returned to Amman and worked as director for Dubai Satellite Station. Went to Palestine in 1996 to make first-time documentary film Arab Women Speak Out. Decided to remain in Palestine and has worked on several economic and human rights short documentaries. In 1999 she made Sinbad is a She.

A Palestinian journalist questions the expansion of Israeli settlements and the devastating consequences it brings to long-term Arab villagers. Her investigation leads her to various testimonies - by human rights activists and architects, by Israeli townspeople and particularly by suffering Palestinian villagers whose claim to land is supposedly "less ancient" than the Jews.

Director's Statement

Occupation and oppression affect you as an individual in a very personal way. That is why, when I wanted to do a film about an Israeli colony, I couldn't but start with my thoughts and myself.
Title Deed from Moses was shot with a small mini DV camera, which in many ways resembles a home video camera. This gave the film the feel of a video diary, which I think was instrumental in telling this very personal story. Yet the choice to use a mini DV was more motivated by the need to be faster than the expansion of Ma'leh Adumim colony; in order to capture what was happening to Arab villages before they disappear. We simply had no time to wait for funding.
Many times I think to myself, "If I were a man I would probably have never been able to make Title Deed from Moses." A scene like the Wailing Wall is a perfect example, since the day on which it was shot was a Jewish religious holiday. Palestinian men were not even allowed to be near the place. Still, I was able to enter first not only because I was a woman but also because of Israeli stereotyping of how Palestinians should look and act; an image which I did not fit into. Yet all of my shoots that day needed to be recorded from behind the fence, since women in general are not allowed to be near that sacred wall.
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