New Film Series to Explore the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict

“Barriers” is the first of many films to be shown in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS, JUNE 12, 2013 - Webster University School of Communications is partnering with the Barbara and Michael Newmark Institute for Human Relations of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), and the Jewish Community Center's (JCC) Jewish Film Society to present four movies that explore various aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  “Barriers,” a short film that examines the complexities behind the numerous Israeli-run checkpoints in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, will be shown on June 17 as the first film in the series. This program is additionally co-sponsored by the St. Louis Jewish Light, which partners with the JCRC and the JCC on the quarterly “Can We Talk?” discussion series, which will immediately follow the screening of the film.

The film and discussion will take place at the Carl and Helene Mirowitz Performing Arts and Banquet Center at the Jewish Community Council on the Millstone Campus, 2 Millstone Campus Drive, in St. Louis. It is free and open to the public.

“As a global university that offers programs in 60 cities, 8 countries and 4 continents, one of our roles is to promote dialogue on topics of global significance,” said Webster University President Beth Stroble. “We look forward to learning from the perspectives that will be shared in these films and the conversation about them.  Webster University welcomes and values a diversity of viewpoints on topics that touch us here in St. Louis and around the world." 

The 2011 film “Barriers” follows three Israeli soldiers as they work one day at an Israeli checkpoint. Confusion erupts when two women attempt to interfere with their orders and suddenly an order is given to close the check point due to an unspecified bomb threat.

“This film was selected because it presents a nuanced view of some issues surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that are often ignored in the United States,” said Batya Abramson-Goldstein, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis.  “By viewing several films that explore different aspects of the conflict, and providing the opportunity for discussion, we hope to start a civil community conversation about these issues.”

After the screening  on June 17th, of the 23-minute film, a discussion will be held featuring James Harrison, coordinator of the Webster University Film Series, Professor J. Martin Rochester from University of Missouri, St. Louis, and former Givat Haviva board member Steve Skrainka. The talk will be moderated by Ellen Futterman, editor of the St. Louis Jewish Light.

The second film in the series, “The Day After Peace,” will be shown at 4 p.m. Sept. 15 at the Winifred Moore Auditorium on Webster University's Webster Groves Campus. Other films scheduled for the series include “Bottle in the Gaza Sea” at 4 p.m. Oct. 6 at the Carl and Helene Mirowitz Performing Arts Center, and a 7 p.m., Dec. 8 showing of “Precious Life” at the Winifred Moore Auditorium. Discussion panels will be held after each film. More information about the panelists will be released before each screening.

“Such a complex and deeply historical issue as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is difficult for most Americans to understand from a distance, when most of our information comes from short news stories of the day or politicians' sound-bites,” said Eric Rothenbuhler, dean of Webster's School of Communications. “Films provide more time for reflective thought and through visual narrative, aid our understanding of how these conflicts are really experienced by the people who live there.”

For more information about the screening of “Barriers” on June 17th or to make your reservation for the film and discussion, visit www.stljewishlight.com/CanWeTalk. Seating is limited so RSVP's are requested by June 15.

For more information on the Webster University Film Series, visit http://www.webster.edu/film-series/index.html