Cinema for Jenin can be traced back to the documentary A Heart for Jenin by Marcus Vetter and Leon Geller, which was awarded the German Film Price. The film tells the story of Palestinian Ismail Khatib from Dschenin, who donates the organs of his son, who was shot by Israeli soldiers, to Israeli children.
“Movies for peace” – this is the claim made by the initiative Cinema Jenin. With help from numerous public and private supporters – among them the Office of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany, Pink Floyd vocalist Roger Waters, and the airline Air Berlin – the association, which is headquartered in Tübingen, was able to reopen one of the largest and most impressive movie theaters in the region – the Cinema Jenin, which had been closed since the first intifada in the year 1987.
The background is a larger goal yet. The association expanded the movie theater infrastructure in the crisis-wracked region: By now, the Cinema Jenin project includes a guest house, an open-air movie theater, as well as a cafeteria with a garden. The next step is the construction of a sound and synchronization studio, in order to make European art house and independent productions available to people in the Arabic world. Since 2011, Cinema Jenin has hosted a week-long international film festival on location.
Both projects share the goal of promoting human rights and integration through media content in one of the most politically explosive regions of the world.