Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Other Israel Film Festival Spotlight: Waiting for Giraffes

I’m delighted to be returning for the sixth time to cover the Other Israel Film Festival, which features a diverse crop of Israeli and Palestinian cinema and is hosted by the JCC Manhattan. The 11th Annual Other Israel Film Festival takes place November 2nd-9th, 2017.

Waiting for Giraffes
Directed by Marco de Stefanis
Festival Information

Who doesn’t love a zoo? That’s the subject of this film, the only zoo that sits within the Palestinian territories in the city of Qalqilya in the West Bank. The myth of the lost giraffe stems from the Second Antifada, and its present-day operations are focused on trying to earn accreditation for the zoo from EAZA, a European organization that will allow the zoo unprecedented access to certain animals and open up relations with other zoos around the world. A big part of the application involves a partnership with the Jerusalem Zoo, one that serves as an inspirational example of dynamic collaboration. The film repeatedly polls Palestinians about what animals they would like to see in the zoo, but its real heart comes from the seriousness with which the zookeepers and veterinarians take a site visit that notes problems they must address that have nothing to do with their political or geographic situation, showing just how committed they are to creating a substantial and educational environment for all of their visitors.

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