THE WANTED 18

By Amer SHOMALI

INTUITIVE PICTURES - as PROD

Documentary - Development 2011

In 1987, a group of Palestinian activists started a cooperative dairy farm in Beit Sahour with 18 cows. This unique animated documentary tells us this story from the unique perspective of both the activist and their cows. The Wanted 18: a film about dreams and hope for the future.

    • Year of production
    • 2011
    • Genres
    • Documentary, Animation
    • Countries
    • CANADA, FRANCE, PALESTINE
    • Languages
    • ENGLISH, ARABIC
    • Budget
    • 1 - 3 M$
    • Duration
    • 80 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Amer SHOMALI
    • Writer(s)
    • Paul COWAN
    • Producer(s)
    • Saed ANDONI (Dar Films), Dominique BARNEAUD (Agat Films), Ina FICHMAN (Intuitive Pictures)
    • Synopsis
    • In 1987, at the beginning of the first Intifada, Palestinian leaders asked their communities to develop Palestinian alternatives to Israeli products. In response, a group of Palestinian activists started a cooperative dairy farm in Beit Sahour with 18 cows.
      All of the activists were intellectuals who knew nothing about raising cattle or operating a dairy. But, after some training (and the purchase of some cows from Israel), these newbie dairy farmers managed to start producing a high quality competitive product. The people in the Bethlehem area came to depend completely on the cooperative's milk, which they called the 'intifada milk'.
      However, once the cooperative became successful the Israeli army ordered its closure, declaring it a threat to national security. The Israeli army gave the cooperative 24 hours to shut down. Defying the army, the activists covered their faces and went under cover. They hid the 18 cows in people’s houses and continued to produce milk. When the Military Commander realized that the production was still operating, he detained the activists for interrogation. When they did not provide any answers regarding the new location, the Commander held them in prison and sent his army's troops to search for the cows from door to door aided by a helicopter and spotlight.
      The cooperative survived despite the incarcerations and continued to produce Palestinian milk for years. The cows were hidden in mountains caves and cared for by new activists who were also wanted for being involved in political activities.
      A few years later, many of the activists moved on and the cooperative had to shut down. The few cows that remained were sold to Israeli settlers next to Bethlehem.
      The Wanted 18 is an animated documentary told from the unique perspective of the Cows and the Activists reflecting the dynamic and symbolic relationship between them. This documentary will mainly be based on filmed interviews with the Palestinian activists who initiated the dairy farm in 1988. In addition, the filmmakers will speak with members of the Israeli army (included the commander) as well as American dairy farmers who were involved in training one of the farmers.
      The Wanted 18 is an important story as it speaks of youthful activism, peaceful resistance and courage in a part of the world that is fraught with negative imagery. This film is need now: it’s a new vision of Palestine and the region told from a most human perspective, and with more than a dash of humour, as well.
    • Partners & financing
    • ARTE, SRC Arab and Sundance Institute Fund
    • Production schedule
    • Pre-production December 2010
    • Beginning of shooting
    • Jan 01, 2011
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