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HEART OF JENIN, THE (HERZ VON JENIN, DAS)

HEART OF JENIN, THE
Scene from THE HEART OF JENIN (photo © EIKON)

THE HEART OF JENIN tells the story of a unique gesture of peace.

The Khatib family lives in the West Bank, in a refugee camp called Jenin. A year ago the Palestinian Ismael Khatib lost his 12-year-old son Ahmed.

Ahmed was shot by an Israeli soldier while he was playing “Arabs and Jews” with two friends. The soldier took his toy gun for a real weapon and killed him. Despite his grief, Ismael decided within hours to donate his son's organs to save the lives of four Israeli children.

A year has passed since then. Ismael travels from Jenin to the northern hills on the Lebanese border, passing through the Holy City of Jerusalem, down to the edge of the Negev Desert in the south to visit the children who received his son's organs. The film is a journey throughout today's Israel which not only leads to the recipient families, but also attempts to reconstruct the events that took place in Jenin in 2005.

THE HEART OF JENIN leads us to Israel, to the occupied territories and to people who have learned to live with the every day conflict and violence and who still haven’t given up their hope of peace.


Leon Geller focuses all of his films on social issues. His work includes TV productions as well as features, including the award-winning films HEAVY TWENTY, SHEVET VOICE, and ROADS, which was also nominated for an Academy Award in the student's short section during the Tribeca Film Festival in New York 2008.

Marcus Vetter was born in 1967 and studied Economics and Media Theory & Practice. Since 1994, he has been working as a TV editor, producer and director. He has directed numerous documentaries which were screened at international festivals and won three Adolf-Grimme-Awards. His films include: THE TUNNEL (1999), WAR GAMES (2002), THE UNBREAKABLES (2006), MY FATHER THE TURK (2006), HEART OF JENIN (2008), HUNGER (2009), and CINEMA JENIN (2012).
Genre Society
Category Documentary
Year of Production 2008
Directors Leon Geller, Marcus Vetter
Screenplay Leon Geller, Marcus Vetter
Cinematography Nadav Hekselman
Saskia Metten
Erez Koskas
Producers Ernst Ludwig Ganzert, Ulli Pfau
Production Company EIKON Südwest/Stuttgart, in co-production with SWR, ARTE
Length 90 min
Original Version
 Hebrew/Arabic
Subtitled Versions English, German
Festivals Jerusalem 2008 (Special Screening), Locarno 2008 (Here & Elsewhere), Toronto 2008 (Real to Reel), Warsaw 2008, Hamptons 2008, Yamagata 2009
Awards German Film Award 2010 (Best Documentary)
With backing from MFG Baden-Württemberg

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