3000 Nights Jury Award Acceptance Speech
I'm so proud and happy to receive TheWIFTS Jury Award for 3000 Nights. I'd like to thank the jury of the Women In Film and Television Showcase for this wonderful acknowledgement and honor. It has been a long journey since I set out to make this film and I am forever grateful to the dedication and commitment of my cast, crew and producers for making this dream come true. 3000 Nights is about motherhood in the most difficult circumstances. It is about women coming together and finding their strength through resilience and resistance. Above all it's a film about hope. I'd like to dedicate this award to the child prisoners around the world and especially in my country Palestine.
THE WOMEN'S INTERNATIONAL FILM & TELEVISION SHOWCASE
DEC 5th 2015 WEST HOLLYWOOD
Passion & Integrity Commerce & Creativity Equality Not Hierarchy
- Palestine The Jury Award - 3000 Nights
Writer - Director – Producer
Mai Masri is the recipient of TheWIFTS Jury Award 2015 for 3000 Nights, a heart-wrenching drama of a young schoolteacher and wife who with a split second decision alters the course of her life tragically and indefinitely in a story of survival against all odds unknowing of what the future may bring.
Mai Masri was born in Amman, Jordan of a Palestinian father and an American mother. She grew up in Beirut and studied film at UC Berkeley and San Francisco State University. She directed and produced several documentaries that have won over 60 international awards including the Trailblazer Award at Cannes Mipdoc Film Festival in 2007, the Luchino Visconti award in Italy (2003) and the Asia-Pacific screen award in Australia (2007).
Her films focus on the humanity and resilience of ordinary people living through turbulent and extraordinary times. "I have made films in one country ravaged by occupation (Palestine) and another by civil war (Lebanon). I have witnessed the death of loved ones and the gradual erosion of my country but I'm amazed how people manage to hold onto their humanity and to live, laugh and love despite the death and destruction surrounding them."
Her documentary trilogy Children of Fire (1990), Children of Shatila (1998) and Frontiers of Dreams and Fears (2001) is based on the lives and dreams of Palestinian children. "I wanted to explore what home, memory and identity means to a generation of refugee children who have survived dispossession, massacre and siege. I am fascinated by their ability to transcend the overwhelming difficulties of their everyday lives though their creativity, imagination, and dreams."
Inspired by the true story of a Palestinian mother who gives birth to her child in an Israeli prison, 3000 Nights is a poetic, compelling and raw allegory for freedom under occupation. "Having just become a mother myself, I wanted to understand what it meant to give birth in chains and to raise a child behind bars. It is first and foremost a human story of a young mother who, through her struggle to raise her child and her relationship with the women prisoners around her, finds the space to reflect, develop, and mature as a young woman."
Featuring an almost entirely female cast, the film explores the meaning of motherhood, love, and betrayal, focusing on the imagination, creativity and solidarity of the women prisoners that empowers them to survive and resist. "This is a story that has been living with me for such a long time that I feel that I have been imprisoned with these women and seen the same walls and heard the same sounds. For me this is a film about resilience and hope."
Mai received international acclaim with her documentaries that were broadcast on more than 100 television stations worldwide including BBC, Channel 4 and PBS: Children of Fire (1990), Children of Shatila (1998), Frontiers of Dreams and Fears (2001), A Woman for Her Time (1995), Beirut Diaries (2006), and 33 Days (2007). She also co-directed with her husband, filmmaker Jean Chamoun: Under the Rubble (1983), Wild Flowers (1986), War Generation – Beirut (1998), and Suspended Dreams (1992). She went on to produce Chamoun's award-winning feature film: In The Shadow Of The City (2001), Women Beyond Borders (2004), Hostage Of Time (1995), and Lanterns Of Memory (2009).