The fifth film in the semester-long Documenting the Middle East Film Festival, “The Wanted 18,” was screened at Duke on April 13th, 2017 in the Richard White Auditorium on East Campus. A Q&A with Nancy Kalow, a folklorist and filmmaker who teaches at Duke's Center for Documentary Studies, followed the film. Accompanying "The Wanted 18" at the screening was a work-in-progress excerpt from a longer film, "Al-Nakba and the City of Lyd," whose director, Sarah Friedland, also participated in a Q&A.
"The Wanted 18" is a Canadian-Palestinian animated documentary. It recreates an astonishing true story: the Israeli army's pursuit of 18 cows, whose independent milk production on a Palestinian collective farm was declared "a threat to the national security of the state of Israel." In response to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, a group of people from the town of Beit Sahour decide to buy 18 cows and produce their own milk as a co-operative. Their venture is so successful that the collective farm becomes a landmark, and the cows local celebrities -- until the Israeli army takes note and declares that the farm is an illegal security threat. Consequently, the dairy is forced to go underground, the cows continuing to produce their "Intifada milk." The Israeli army follows in relentless pursuit in an epic
A number of people affliated with Duke as well as from the broader community attended the screening. Kalow shared her thoughts, "We were thrilled that The Wanted 18's co-director, Amer Shomali, sent us a special version of the film that has not been released in the United States, in which the film's animated cows speak in Arabic (with English subtitles) rather than in English. Sofia Farah, a UNC graduate student whose family came from Beit Jala, a town nearby Bethlehem and Beit Sahour where The Wanted 18 takes place. During the Q&A, members of the audience shared their stories about Beit Sahour and their memories more generally of the late 1980s in the West Bank."
The event was sponsored by the Duke University Middle East Studies Center (DUMESC), Screen/Society, the Program in the Arts of the Moving Image (AMI), AMES Presents, and Duke University Libraries.