Wednesday I had the opportunity to interview Palestinian-Arab Israeli filmmaker Ibtisam Salh Mara’ana.
Most of Mara’ana’s films are documentaries. “Paradise Lost” is a documentary about the small fishing village on the Mediterranean of Paradise, where Mara’ana was born in 1975. “One of the few Arab communities remaining after the 1948 war, Paradise became culturally and politically isolated as Jewish settlements sprung up around it, and today it is a place defined by silence and repression,” according to the Women Make Movies Web site.
Women’s stories and culture are common themes in Mara’ana’s films. “3 Times Divorced” is about a Palestinian woman in Israel whose abused by her Arab-Israeli husband. The woman is left divorced, struggling to get her children back, and battling the state of Israel in court.
“Lady Kul el-Arab” is about a young Druze woman who is a finalist in an Israeli-Arab beauty pageant. She decides to enter an Israeli beauty pageant as well, when her family and life is confronted with a series of events and cultural disputes.
The screening was followed by a question and answer session, and I sat down with Mara’ana to talk about her filmmaking. Mara’ana graduated from the Jewish-Arab academic center of Givat Haviva where she studied cinema.