Documentaries, Charity, Health & education
Israeli and Palestinian doctors work together to save the lives of sick children. Please support this documentary which tells their story!
On the outskirts of Jerusalem, only a few kilometres from the separation wall, stands the huge hospital complex, Hadassah Ein Kerem.
Here, there is no place for politics or religion.
There is only one enemy: disease.
In this hospital, Israeli doctors work side by side with Palestinian doctors to save the lives of children.
We need you in order to pass on the message of peace which these doctors convey every day by saving children suffering from heart disease, regardless of their origins or their religion.
Thanks to your help and support, we have already reached our first goal of 15 000€ therefore the documentary film will be made! Please keep on supporting the project to enable us to screen it at the Global Fund Replenishment Forum 2019, in the presence of the most important players in international aid.
Amos Oz and Costa-Gavras, who endorsed this incredible adventure from its inception!
After spending many years studying medicine abroad, Ibrahim Abu Zahira returned to live in Hebron, in the West Bank, where he was born. Here, he became aware of the extremely high rate of Palestinian children suffering from severe, often deadly, congenital heart defects. However, in the territories under the control of the Palestinian Authority, the lack of technological and financial means, combined with a lack of sufficiently trained cardiologists, gives families no other choice than to bring their children to "enemy" territory: without outside help, these children, many of whom are infants, are doomed.
In order to get the training required to fight these diseases, Ibrahim decided to go to Israel. In spite of the tensions and prejudice in the region, he chose to work with Professor Jean-Jacques Rein, Head of the Department of Paediatric Cardiology in Hadassah, who took him into his team to train him so that he might one day be able to operate on the children over there, in Hebron, on the other side of the separation wall.
Following not only Ibrahim's work, both with Prof. Rein and with Doctor Sagui Gavri, who collaborates with Prof. Rein and is his successor, and through contact with parents, both Israeli and Palestinian, accompanying their sick children, director Katya Chelli will immerse herself completely in the daily life of the medical team and the families, showing us how the way people perceive each other can change - on both sides - and how trust can come to replace mistrust.
WHY WE ARE FIGHTING FOR THIS FILM TO EXIST:
Because HEALING HEARTS is a film which is firmly focused on peace, and carries a message of solidarity and friendship between the Israeli and Palestinian people. On a larger scale, it is a film which expresses its director's faith in humanity.
HEALING HEARTS asks essential questions:
Can one talk today of reconciliation without taking sides?
Can one speak of solidarity without being judgmental?
Can one still have faith in the future and get mobilised to act in the here and now?
This is what Ibrahim is trying to do together with a few doctors such as Prof. Rein and Dr Gavri, who have invested in cooperation in order to save children in the midst of a war carried out by adults.
This is also what Katya Chelli is trying to do via HEALING HEARTS, by following the daily work of the team in the Department of Paediatric Cardiology in Hadassah Ein Kerem.
Wherever she goes, Katya will place her camera sensitively, always with discernment and focus, in order to bear witness to the actions of those who set aside differences and conflicts in order to merge their skills and heal hearts.
The tone Katya has opted for is one of unifying: her film intends to bear a message of hope, of positive values, and of faith in the future.
It is for all of these reasons that we need you today in order for this film to exist, and for it to be seen by the largest number of people, in order to show that, today, beyond conflicts, beyond hatred and tension, solidarity exists, and that there can be no "maybe" when it comes to the survival of children.
WE ARE SUPPORTED BY
A FEW WORDS FROM THE DIRECTOR, KATYA CHELLI
A few years ago, I came across an article in the daily paper ‘Le Monde’, describing the little-known activity of Israeli and Palestinian doctors in the shadow of war, working together in Hadassah Hospital, Jerusalem, to save the lives of Palestinian babies born with congenital heart disease. The West Bank doesn’t have sufficiently trained doctors, nor does it have the necessary facilities. Without such cooperation, the children would be doomed. Most are less than a year old, some are tiny newborns. And most of the parents accompanying them are setting foot in Israel for the first time. At Hadassah, Israelis and Palestinians share the same room. Here, they meet and see that they are all the same: human beings, sharing the same fears – the survival of their children. As well as taking in these children, Hadassah also takes charge of training Palestinian doctors.
Whilst reading the article, I found myself deeply moved by the team’s work. For months, I kept thinking about it. Then came the day when I finally decided to contact Professor Jean-Jacques Rein, head of the Paediatric Cardiology Department where these children were being cared for. Our discussions, and his commitment convinced me to bring this story to life
I then travelled to meet the medical team. I was instantly struck by the role played by Ibrahim. This young Palestinian doctor is clearly a vital link between the Palestinian families and the Israeli hospital. In order to treat the congenital heart defects, he chose to undertake the necessary training at Hadassah. Every day, Ibrahim travels from Hebron in the West Bank to Jerusalem. Every day, he looks after both Israeli and Palestinian children with the same care.
Spending time with him, it became clear to me that I needed to tell the story through his eyes. Ibrahim will thus be the common thread in my film. Thanks to him, we won’t simply observe this cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian doctors, we’ll be able to understand the complicated consequences of the political situation. The relationship of trust, which he has with the Palestinian families, will also give us more intimate access to their daily lives.
Making this film is to some extent a personal quest to better understand what divides and what could reconcile two peoples forced to share the same land.
Medicine is clearly one of the rare fields in this troubled region where true cooperation exists. A special field within which to build bridges, because it transcends all barriers, be they cultural, linguistic or religious. This reality has to be talked about.
And there is clearly something symbolic in the fact that the organ in question is the heart.
Much work has already been achieved:
I have been to Jerusalem three times since 2015 to begin my research and to meet Ibrahim, Jean-Jacques and Sagui in Hadassah Hospital. I was able to spend some time in the Paediatric Cardiology Department. Meeting the families, listening to the consultations, watching catheter operations. Observing how life within the hospital unfolds and also getting to know the entire medical team.
Ibrahim, Jean-Jacques and Sagui have confirmed their willingness to be part of the project and Hadassah hospital has given me permission to film within its walls.
Ibrahim also invited me to his clinic in Hebron to observe pre- and post-operation consultations.
I have gathered together a crew of two highly experienced cameramen: one Israeli, Yoram Millo, the other Palestinian, Hanna Abu Saada, who will be a valuable asset to me, helping me to communicate with the Palestinian families.
I want to present a new image – a truer image – of what is going on in the West Bank and in Israel. I want to show that, in spite of all the obstacles, despite history, in spite of the differing political stakes, it is still possible to create an environment in which people can meet, talk, and share. In short, where they can accept each other...
As such, HEALING HEARTS will tell a universal story.
You will be able to see the film in France on Planète+
The Moroccan channel 2M has also made a financial commitment.
It will be distributed by Beliane.
The Arab World Institute supports us.
But most of all we need you!
A film which is necessary... but costly!
Producing this film will be expensive: in order to obtain authorisations to film, all the technical crews have to be local, and all material has to be rented locally. Added to this, and even if an large amount of preparatory work has already been done, Katya Chelli, the director, will have to stay put for close to two months in order to follow a family from the moment they receive their child's diagnosis right through until post-operative consultations, thus underlining the need for the actions carried out by the team in Hadassah and the vital importance of post-operative care for the children on the Palestinian side.
Some of the financing will thus pay for the shooting of the film, but also post-production, notably in order to subtitle in English, Arabic and Hebrew: it is indispensable today that this film be given as broad a viewing as possible, and thus be accessible in these languages.
Support for NGOs
Without development aid and the investment of NGO members, this training programme would not exist.
We will, therefore, repay part of the benefits of this fundraising to NGO partners.
Finally, your donations will help to organise a screening of the film in the framework of the GLOBAL REPLENISHMENT FUND FORUM in Paris in June 2019. THE MOST IMPORTANT PLAYERS IN INTERNATIONAL AID WILL BE THERE. The message we hope to spread via this event is a simple one: international solidarity is essential, really vital. Without this support, populations in distress will never regain their autonomy, and the circle of dependency will never come to an end. Let us help them today so that they might have hope for the future!
HOW WILL THE MONEY COLLECTED BE DISTRIBUTED?
WHO WE ARE
KATYA CHELLI - Director
I was born in England. After studying languages (French, Russian, German, Spanish) I turned to film editing, which requires a good sense of rhythm. I came to France in 1985 and worked as assistant editor on feature films with directors such as Robert Altman, Costa Gavras and Nikita Mikhalkov.
After becoming a feature-film editor, I returned in time to my first love, documentary film, which combines several of my passions: encountering mankind, learning more about the world, and putting to good use my knowledge of foreign languages.
LUCIEN TELEVISION // Julien Tricard - Producer
I founded Lucien Television in 2013. Amandine Lebrat joined me in 2016 to develop creative documentaries by leading directors.
After several history films selected in the most prestigious festivals (Lumière, Les Rendez-vous de l'Histoire, ...), meeting Katya Chelli gives us the opportunity to deal with documentaries about society. From the very beginning, the response given to Healing Hearts is astounding and very positive: the distributor Anne Littardi immediately wanted to take part in this adventure, as did Planète, the Arab World Institute, the Moroccan channel 2M, the Medimed...
There is enthusiasm, together with perseverance and involvement. For Lucien Television, Healing Hearts is not simply another project. It is a film, which will contribute towards defining the identity and values of the company,
This is also why this crowdfunding exists: to galvanize the largest number of people around this deeply moving example of international solidarity, to show that empathy, altruism and mutual help are still and will always be the key to a benevolent and positive future. This collaborative financing exists, of course, to allow the film to exist. But its aim is also to show all the Ibrahims of this world, all those who carry human values, those of courage and tolerance, that they are not alone, but that, on the contrary, they have support from all corners of the planet.