Palestinian filmmaker and poet Annemarie Jacir turned to her homeland to make her first feature-length film about a working class Palestinian American woman who struggles with the country's tumultuous past and present, and makes a decision that will change her life. Salt of the Sea, which stars another Palestinian poet and feminist, Suheir Hammad, made its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival last night, and looks absolutely amazing.
Jacir childhood was transient; she grew up in Palestine and Saudi Arabia before moving to the United States to attend college. Before figuring out that filmmaking was her forte, she had jobs as a literary agent, DJ, union organizer, and telephone operator.
Jacir began making films in 1994. Her films have won numerous awards at international festivals, and she was recently named one of Filmmaker magazine's "25 New Faces of Independent Cinema." Jacir co-founded three innovative projects with the goal of increasing the production of films from the Arab world and Iran: Philistine Films, Dreams of a Nation Palestinian cinema project, and Palestinian Filmmakers' Collective. Banned from returning to her home in Palestine, Jacir now lives in exile in Amman, Jordan.
When asked what it is like being a woman filmmaker in the Arab world, Jacir replied, "Being a woman director is not really an issue for me in Palestine; half our crew was made up of women, and I was very close to all members of the cast and crew. We were a team—male and female. I must say, however, that what has been more difficult for me is to work with older, white European men. They tended to question me and have a problem with authority positions—probably as I am not only a woman, but also young and on top of that a Palestinian. They are not used to that."
Keep an eye out for a screening in your city by joining the film's Facebook page.