Archive for February, 2011

“One Day in the West Bank” at Cinema Jenin

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Last Thursday, the 24th of February, Cinema Jenin had the honour of presenting the results of the 10-day film workshop “One day in the West Bank” which Beleza Film produced in 2010 in collaboration with the Goethe Institute Ramallah. 10 upcoming Palestinian directors shot short films revolving around their life in the West Bank.

The results were as diverse as the filmmakers themselves: while some films focused mainly on the power and beauty of images, others told heartbreaking stories of confrontation between adolescents and their parents, between hopes, dreams and reality. Some shorts were documentaries, others pure fiction, and others questioned the border between reality and fiction, between life and film. The compilation of films gave an interesting insight into viewpoints of the upcoming directors – we hope to see more of them!

The event coincided with the opening of an exhibition in Cinema Jenin, presented by Goethe Institute, Al-Ma’Mal Foundation and the Spafford Centre Jerusalem. Over several weeks, young people from Jerusalem, accompanied by artist Martin Lebioda, held a photographic diary. The result are intimate pictures and snapshots that allow a close insight into the daily life of young Palestinians.

Goethe_FrontGoethe front2Jörg spricht

“Family ties” Film workshop of the Goethe-Institut at Cinema Jenin

Monday, February 21st, 2011

The Goethe-Institut Ramallah together with Lost Sense Media Film Productions, Cinema Jenin and Allianz Kulturstiftung is organising a ten- day-film-workshop from April 5 – April 14, 2011 in Jenin.
Ten young Palestinian filmmakers will get the chance to develop and produce their short films in cooperation with three German trainers.


The workshop is open for young Palestinian film makers (between 18 and 30 years) from the West Bank, East-Jerusalem or Gaza with first experiences in film making. The workshop will include script writing, camera and sound, editing and post production. The workshop covers all training and production costs and provides technical equipment, editing tools, accommodation and food.


Boris Laaser (project coordinator, director and editor) Paul Murray (camera, editing, post production) Herve Thiot (camera, sound, music, editing).A


Workshop participants will stay at the Cinema Jenin guesthouse in separate dorms for male and female participants.


The workshop will be held in English.

How to apply:

Fill in the application form you find at

Your film can be a love story, an action film or a comedy, but the theme has to be “Family”.

It can be a documentary, a music video, a fiction film or a video installation.

Send your application per email to (keyword: “Filmworkshop Jenin”) or drop it off at the French-German Cultural Centre in Ramallah until March 15, 2011. Participants will be selected until end of March.


Goethe-Institut Ramallah Lost Sense Media Film Production Allianz Kulturstiftung Cinema Jenin

Download Brochure with Application Form [PDF]

FINAL COVER film workshop

One day in the Westbank

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

Screening One Day in the Westbank Cinema JeninThe Goethe-Institut and Cinema Jenin invite to

One day in the Westbank”
Filmscreening and Exhibition
Thursday, 24th february, 5 p.m.
Cinema Jenin

In the film-workshop “One day in the Westbank” several young, film enthousiastic Palestinians shot short-movies about their live in the Westbank.
Supported by the Goethe-Institut and Beleza Film.

One day in the West Bank is a Project of Beleza Film, the Goethe-Institut Ramallah, Cinema Jenin and the Freedom Theatre.

Theatre Group rehearses a new play in the Cinema

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

The theatre group of Mahmoud is rehearsing their third play in the rooms of Cinema Jenin.
The play with the title “Out of service” is about a minister living a really comfortable live in prosperous circumstances with his family. He has five children and one nephew. This nephew is a little bit strange  or maybe he has just his one way of thinking to take live.
One day the parents of his nephew die because of an car accident and the minister takes the nephew to his home and he takes care of him. This changes the life of all. At the end of this humorous play, which really has aspects of a comedy, not only the nephew seems to be crazy but the whole family is…

The theatre company just started with the rehearsals so we can be anxious for the performance.
In any case we are very happy the Cinema is not only used for watching movies but offers also other various possibilities to be creative.

Below you see the theatre company in action.

Theatre companyYousef and Mohammad

Cinema Jenin Education Program – just the beginning

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Right after the opening, Johannes, the architect and me started working out an education program to train people from Jenin in Jenin or in Germany, people who worked with us in a wonderful way and with whom we became friends during the last two years. It is quite complex and goes from intensive courses for experienced workers to improve their skills to 3 years apprenticeships for „newcomers“.

We applied at the Chamber of Commerce in Berlin for 2 month courses for our to learn about new technologies. Together with B5 solar, the solar company that donated and fixed the solar equipment on the cinema’s roof (see photo) – we applied at the Ministry of Economy in Brandenburg for a 2-month intensive course at B5 for Ghassan and two of his workers. In Palestine, there is a lot of sunshine – and a lot of electricity cuts, too. It’s just a beginning. Others will get trained to improve their skills and to get to know new sustainable, eco-friendly technologies.


Nocturnal meeting on the cinema's roof

SES (see under: will start their first programs for Palestine with us in Jenin. Retired seniors, who quit their manager jobs but want to still give their knowledge to others, will come to analyze and help approving structures and workflows of companies. Wael, our great, committed contact person, who studied and worked for years in Germany, will take care of them in Jenin .

We are delighted and honoured that Dr. Gesine Schwan became our patron of the Women’s Empowerment Program. It has been worked out directly by a very motivated group of Jenin women ready to create a base for their own future projects, like for instance an organic bakery.


Women's society in Jenin

Hazar already applied for a 3 years apprenticeship at a very important organic bakery in Berlin, involved in a lot of social projects. She just has been kindly invited for a first test in May. And wonderful coincidence: a former volunteer, Stephan, studying nutriton science, will write his diploma about the bakery project and will actively support its realization in Jenin. And so on and so forth….

One topic of the list I got from the women’s society after their brainstorming is Yoga! Palestine is the country of the biggest epidemic of diabetes worldwide, due to permanent stress and unhealthy, fat, and sweet food. So yoga could definitely be of big help. Yana, our yoga teacher, just finished her first yoga classes with the women. She will tell you more about her amazing experience in her blog entry.


Yana introducing yoga

We also went to the head of the local schools in and around Jenin and got the green light for a cooperation. We will show documentaries about school relevant subjects for school classes at the cinema in the morning, followed by Q & A with specialists.

Currently we are brainstorming about an environmental program together with friends in Jenin, who already have great ideas of how to raise awarness and realize projects.

Well, these are some examples of our „kick-off program“, starting directly with the people who have been involved in the project. But hopefully from this first phase it will expand and develop new branches, organized directly by the people of Jenin – and supported by us and – you?

If you would like to know more about the Education Program or contribute in any way, please contact us:



Ma salama,


Right after the opening, Johannes, the architect and me started working out an education program to train people from Jenin in Jenin or in Germany, people who worked with us in a wonderful way and with whom we became friends during the last two years. It is quite complex and goes from intensive courses for experienced workers to improve their skills to 3 years apprenticeships for „newcomers“.

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Daily Work in Cinema Jenin

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

In the following a few impressions of the daily work of the Cinema.

You see Hatem and Shadi selling cinema tickets at the ticket corner. Shadi is also our graphic designer and does the artwork for the programm flyer.

Then you see Abdullah, who is the projectionist of the Cinema.

And to watch a good movie you really need popcorn, that you can get from Allam, who is also running our cafeteria in the garden in the summer months.

Hatem and ShadiAbdullahAllam

Amjads Story

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

In these days we are doing a film project, Amjad, a Palestinian Volunteer came up with.
It is a little film, which promotes the cinema and its idea.
Amjad, who also is the leading actor in the film, plays a young guy who is looking for a job and starts as a new volunteer at Cinema Jenin. At the beginning he is very sceptic and not really in the mood. But then after he meets the other volunteers and gets to know more of the cinema, he becomes more and more enthousiastic and celebrates his new job with his friends.

Today we had our second day of shooting and everybody of the Cinema Jenin team and friends of the Cinema is involved in the shooting – as extra, camerman, producer, lightengineer …As soon as the film is ready you are able to watch it here.Amjad (Actor) and Ben (Director)Falko (Camera) and Ben (Director)Falko (Camera) and Allam (Actor)

“CINEMA JENIN – The Movie” press conference on Tuesday, February 15 2011 in Berlin

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Microsoft Word - Press Release_Cinema Jenin_150211.doc logo

The CINEMA JENIN reopened in August 2010 after twenty years, attracting broad international attention. Built in the 1960s, the cinema used to be considered one of the major film theatres in Palestine, until it was closed down in 1987 with the outbreak of the first Intifada. Initiators of the project are the film-maker Marcus Vetter and Jenin resident Ismael Khateeb. The idea to rebuild the old cinema in Jenin / West Bank as a cultural centre developed in the context of the moving documentary THE HEART OF JENIN that received inter alia the German Film Award 2010 and the Cinema for Peace Award. The documentary tells the story of Ismal Khateeb’s 12-year old son Ahmed, who was shot dead in 2005 by Israeli soldiers in the refugee camp of Jenin whilst playing with a toy gun. Khateeb and his wife decided to donate their son’s organs to Israeli children so as to safe their lives.

The documentary CINEMA JENIN, that is currently in the making, portrays how, owing to the dedication of countless of volunteers and generous supporters, a decayed pigeon paradise was turned into a state-of-the-art cinema and cultural centre – with its very own film production, a Guesthouse, an integrated media library run by the Goethe-Institut and an emerging film school.

SENATOR FILM DISTRIBUTION and Cinema Jenin e.V. are pleased to invite you to a press conference to inform you about the current situation and about upcoming projects.

Tuesday, February 15, 11 am at the Hackesche Höfe, Kino 2, Rosenthaler Straße 40-41, 10178 Berlin

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State of the Project

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

Hello out there, friends of Cinema Jenin! It’s been quite awhile since we last published some news on this site, so it’s about time you get an update!

Jenin's kids at the ticket window

   Jenin's kids at the ticket window

As you might know, we managed to open the cinema in the beginning of August. The very day after the opening, we assumed regular operations in the cinema. We were open every day for the whole month of Ramadan, which started a few days after the Opening. During this time, we offered film screenings inside of the cinema, as well as live transmissions of the popular Bab-al-Harah Ramadan-Soap on the open-air screen behind the cinema. To give you an idea of how popular: the final episodes were attended by more guests than the Soccer World Cup Final, and emotions boiled significantly higher – I never heard so many people cheer when a bad guy was brought to justice!

The end of Ramadan was celebrated with the Eid-al-Fidr (“Feast of Sugar”), and we used the occasion to premier a new Egyptian Comedy, along with several animated films. As a special treat, we also screened “My father the Turk” in attendance of Marcus Vetter, who held a spontaneous Q&A session after the screening.

Family seating area on the balcony

Family seating area on the balcony

During the whole Feast, we started screening films at 10 AM, and had our last show at 9 PM. Families and youngsters from Jenin turned up in such large numbers that we even had a couple of shows that were completely sold out!

But after that, things took a more negative direction. The fact that we were still highly indebted from the Opening started to become an obvious hindrance to the further success of the Cinema. Crippling us in our ability to invest, we could no longer rent new films. For example, a 35 mm film copy from Egypt costs 3000 $ and up, just to give you an idea. Without new films, the numbers of visitors started to drop steadily, leading us into a vicious circle that prevented us from lifting ourselves out of the debt! So there we were, the cinema with the best technology in the Westbank and beyond, showing films that were already on television.

Making matters even worse, some of our long-time volonteers were forced to leave the project in favor of payed jobs, because we could not offer them any salaries for their amazing work. This left us in the most depressing situation I personally encountered in the project since I joined it more than a year ago.

Concert at Cinema Jenin

   Concert at Cinema Jenin

Fortunately though, there was another Eid! In the mid of November, Jenin celebrated the Eid-al-Sagheer (“Feast of Slaughter”), and the remaining team in Jenin organized another special program with up to four shows every day. Despite of the program still consisting of older films, people from Jenin and the surrounding villages came back to the cinema in large numbers. This was also thanks to theatre performances and concerts we organized with a local theatre ensemble and a band from Jenin. This enabled us to purchase two new films from Egypt, and thereby presenting Jenin once again an attractive program.

Since the middle of January, we increased our program to four days a week, and it seems that our stubbornness is starting to be rewarded – people realize that the cinema is reliable, and that we keep the promises we make by publishing our program. Slowly, visitor numbers have picked up in the last two weeks, and we are confident that this trend will continue!

Theater performance at Cinema Jenin

Theater performance at Cinema Jenin

To ensure this, we do need your support, though! Please donate to Cinema Jenin! At this stage, the Cinema Jenin Project is not yet self-sustainable. We can barely pay salaries to the Palestinian team, and it will still take a couple of weeks until we can afford to bring new films. Please help us in preventing another vicious circle! We are working very hard to establish Cinema Jenin as an important cultural center in Jenin and all of Palestine, with a diverse program that goes far beyond cinema. Please support us with your donations! Thank You!

Franz Stephan Macher

Cinema Manager