In 2004, the Israeli-Palestinian Bereaved Families for Peace and Reconciliation (PCFF) decided to initiate a TV series which would convey the message of reconciliation and peace between Israelis and Palestinians. The inspiration for the drama came from the TV series "Roots" which changed the perception of African-Americans in the US.
The members of the PCFF approached the producer Chaim Sharir, the director Uri Barabash and the script-writer Ronit Weiss Berkowitz and the outcome is the TV series "Good Intentions" which was screened on Channel 2 ("Reshet") during the summer of 2008.
The documentary film "Behind the Intentions" illustrates the connection between the PCFF members who have all lost an immediate family member due to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The two narratives intertwine to create one film where drama turns into reality and reality into drama.
On Friday 22.8.2008, Ronit Weiss-Berkowitz (screenplay writer), Uri Barabash (director) , Chayim Sharir (producer), Ayelet Bargur, ("Behind the Intentions" director), T.V. drama crew and actors and friends and members of the PCFF, all gathered in the Tel-Aviv cinematheque. During the event there were screenings of the trailer for ‘Good Intentions', one of the episodes and the film "Behind the Intentions".
Robi Damelin invited Mr. Howard Sumka, Head of U.S.A.I.D. Mission West Bank and Gaza, to open the event.
U.S.A.I.D. generous donation made the production of the drama and the "Making Of", possible.
Mr. Howard Sumka
When the screening of the episode ended, Ronit Weiss-Berkowitz, Uri Barabash and Chayim Sharir went up on stage. Ronit Weiss-Berkowitz spoke about how thankful she is to the PCFF members who inspired her and how wonderful it was to work with the crew on this production. Uri Barabash criticized, quite rightfully, "Reshet" (the Israeli television network) which decided to move the last episodes to a dead-end day and hour and, by so doing ruined the rating and damaged the drama's exposure and influence. The drama's "Making Of" which was to be broadcasted a week after the last episode, was postponed by a month and will be broadcasted on the 26.8.2008, late at night.
Ayelet Bargur, "Behind the Intention's" director, went up on stage at the end of the screening, thanked her crew and asked PCFF members who were in the audience to stand up so that everybody would be able to see them.
The festive event was shadowed by the absence of our Palestinian members who, despite their permits were not allowed to come through the Bethlehem checkpoint and were held up at the Tarkumiya checkpoint. Um Muhammad, an elderly bereaved mother, was asked to enter the security check machine in front of everybody and had to stand for minutes with her hands up while the machine checked that there were no explosives on her. Our Palestinian members, who were very worried about her well being and dignity, arrived tired and frustrated at the end of the screening.
After the event ended, Nir Oren, the Israeli General Manager, went with PCFF friends to buy lunch for the Palestinians and Ayelet Bargur hurried to arrange another screening for them.
"Behind the Intentions".
"Behind the Intentions" is quite out of the ordinary, it is an illustration of just how real the fictional characters in the drama happen to be, and how intertwined their lives are with the Parents Circle - Families Forum members who opened their hearts in the most intimate way to tell their stories.
There is an international message in "Good Intentions" and we feel sure that audiences all over the world will experience the human side of our conflict and perhaps have a better understanding of its bitter consequences.
Photography: Tamar Elkin, Mashka Litvak
The upper photo is from the movie "Behind the Intentions".
Watch "Behind the Intentions" (subtitles in Arabic and Hebrew).