In Dancing in Jaffa, produced by kNow Productions and Tiara Blu Films in association with Shine Global, meet the Muslim, Christian, and Jewish Israeli 10-year olds who, despite being taught to hate one another, have the courage to partner together in a dance competition in Jaffa, Israel. Dancing in Jaffa opens at the IFC Center in New York on Friday, April 11th and in select theaters across the country through April and May following successful theatrical runs in Germany and France.
In this documentary directed by Hila Medalia, Pierre Dulaine, four-time ballroom dancing world champion, is fulfilling a life-long dream when he takes his program, Dancing Classrooms, back to his city of birth, Jaffa. For generations, Jaffa has been a city divided by two communities that continue to grow increasingly apart. Over a ten-week period, Pierre teaches Jewish and Palestinian Israeli children to dance and compete together. The film explores the complex stories of three children, all of whom who are forced to confront issues of identity, segregation, and racial prejudice as they dance with their enemy. We watch Pierre transform their lives, confirming his belief that dance can overcome hatred and provide the first steps towards real change.
The Hollywood Reporter calls Dancing in Jaffa a “heartwarming doc” that “illustrates the power of dance to bring people together.” It clearly shows the powerful role that the arts, and dance in particular, can play in enabling children to overcome prejudice and build strong personal ties with one another. Through his work, Pierre has demonstrated that the Dancing Classrooms method can be easily and successfully replicated worldwide.
Dancing in Jaffa has won several awards including Best Editing Award at Docaviv, the Audience Award at the Washington Jewish Film Festival,the Audience Award at Festival 2 Valenciennes in France, and Honorable Mention – One Future Award at Munich Filmfest 2013. It is also a part of of Sundance’s Film Forward program, an international touring program designed to enhance greater cultural understanding, collaboration and dialogue around the globe by engaging audiences through the exhibition of films, workshops and conversations with filmmakers. Film Forward is an initiative of the Sundance Institute and the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Diane Nabatoff and Neta Zwebner-Zaibert
Jonathan Shukat and Morgan Spurlock
NR, 86 Minutes