By Molly Stuart
This weekend I had the pleasure of representing Guy Hircefeld: A Guy with a Camera at Impugning Impunity: Human Right’s Documentary Film Festival. In the heart of Manhattan, the festival setting stood in stark contrast to the mountainous Palestinian desert I tread with director Andrés Gallegos to make this film. Distant though these locations are, the film’s timely themes had no problem translating across cultures and continents.
The personal sacrifice and political transformation of Guy Hircefeld (lead subject) resonate with people around the world seeking justice in these tumultuous times. And his ever-present use of the camera as a weapon (in the face of more lethal weapons) reveals a unique example of the power of popular documentation.
Audience members remarked on the simultaneous beauty and unsettling nature of the images. They asked about the impact of Guy’s filming of Israeli settler violence and the expansion of illegal settlements. I reported that since the completion of the film, the settlers whose violent acts were documented in the film have been removed from their outpost on Palestinian herding land. However, last month another illegal outpost was built by the same group of extremist Israeli settlers, demonstrating the continued importance of the tireless efforts of Guy and his organization, Ta’ayush.
It was encouraging to hear such resounding enthusiasm from our New York audience. Their insistence that this film must be seen broadly will fuel our efforts to grow international understanding of this intractable conflict and the personal stories within it.