Mornings in Jenin: The Film Adaptation

One of my favourite books of all time, Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa, is to be made into a movie by Filmworks Dubai who picked up the rights just yesterday according to literary and film agency Pontas.

Freedom Theatre in Jenin 003 - Aug 2011
Freedom Theatre in Jenin, Palestine. By Guillaume Paumier (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

To give you a very brief summary:

The story starts off in 1948 Palestine when the Abulheja family are forced to leave their ancestral home in Ein Hod and move into a refugee camp in Jenin. We mainly follow Amal Abulheja, who was born in the camp, and experiences more love and loss than we could imagine in her lifetime. Told through six decades of Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the story is set in Palestine, Israel, Lebanon and America. We are told the story of her brothers: one, kidnapped when young and brought up to be an Israeli soldier, and the other, a member of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation who is willing to die for his peoples’ freedom. We also learn of her mother, father, grandparents, friends and finally, her daughter.

Susan Abulhawa is an American-based author and human rights activist of Palestinian descent. She lives with her daughter in Pennsylvania and is the founder of Playgrounds for Palestine, a children’s organisation which is “dedicated to upholding the Right to Play for Palestinian children living under Israeli military occupation in Palestine and in refugee camps elsewhere” according the her website.

Her debut novel, Mornings in Jenin, was originally published in America in English as The Scar of David by Bloomsbury but has since been translated into many other languages. Now it is set to go into production at the end of 2013!

This excites me for two reasons:

Firstly, this is a deeply moving book which highlights atrocities in Palestine while still managing to remain sympathetic to Israelis. It is heartbreaking, enlightening, beautifully written and real. I would honestly bet that if anybody read this book their eyes and heart would open to a pain and strength that many, many of us have never even had to imagine.

Secondly, Filmworks Dubai have been pretty awesome at film production so far. They produced an excellent movie called City of Life which was directed, written and produced by the pioneering Emirati film maker (and rather good looking Dunhill ambassador) Ali F Mostafa who I’ve had the very good fortune to actually meet (I had to put that out there!). They also produced Tobe Hooper’s thriller Djinn which I have not seen, but after reading about it (it’s a slasher flick set in Abu Dhabi) I’m certainly going to!

And if that’s not enough to convince you – which I’m pretty sure it’s not as I’m not sure how many people will have heard of these movies – Filmworks Dubai were also production partners on top Hollywood projects such as Syriana, The Kingdom and Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol.

In a nutshell, they know what they’re doing and I, for one, cannot wait to see the film adaptation of a story that is going to change a lot of lives.

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