By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– After national and international screenings at various film festivals and events, the documentary “1948: Creation & Catastrophe” will be shown at Cal State San Bernardino’s Santos Manuel Student Union Theater on Thursday, Feb. 15.
The film, which highlights the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, will start at 6 p.m., followed by a question-and-answer session with the documentary’s director/co-producer Andy Trimlett and co-director/co-producer Ahlam Muhtaseb. The event is free and open to the public. Parking at CSUSB is $6.
Trimlett and Muhtaseb, who is a CSUSB communication studies professor, spent 10 years making their 86-minute documentary, which explores the events of 1948, the most pivotal year in one of the most controversial conflicts in the world. According to its website, “this documentary was the last chance for many of its Israeli and Palestinian characters to narrate their first-hand accounts of the creation of a state and the expulsion of a nation.”
Before the decade-long journey, Trimlett, who spent years studying the Middle East in both his undergraduate and graduate studies, admits that despite his education, he never fully understood the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“When I began digging deeper into 1948, suddenly everything clicked. The forces that drive the continuing violence today began to make sense,” said Trimlett. “I realized that, if I had a master’s degree in Middle East Studies and still couldn’t explain the conflict, I could never reasonably expect an average American to explain what was going on. I decided that the critical first step on the path to peace was to bring the history of 1948 to the American public.”
Trimlett decided to team up with Muhtaseb, who has conducted fieldwork in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria and Palestine.
“The two of us began tracking down Palestinians and Israelis who remembered the war first-hand,” Trimlett said. “Many were eager to share their stories, but our requests for interviews were frequently met with, ‘We don’t talk about that.’”
Despite their initial difficulties, Trimlett and Muhtaseb managed to collect dozens of stories from fighters, refugees (many still living in camps) and survivors of the war now living in Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States.
“On top of those interviews, we conducted a mountain of research (over 20,000 pages of history), painstakingly fact-checking every statement made in the documentary,” Trimlett said.
In addition to pouring over thousands of pages of historical documents, Trimlett and Muhtaseb conducted more than 90 interviews, collected more than 1,400 photographs from three dozen sources, combed through hours of archival film and gathered dozens of documents from Israeli military archives.
“Our team gathered photographs and film from archives across the globe. We retrieved copies of military orders from Israeli archives. We translated dozens of Arabic and Hebrew interviews as well as secondary documents. And we interviewed and consulted with some of the most respected historians in the field,” Trimlett said.
Ten years in the making, the documentary began its screening journey in 2017, with its premiere at the 26th annual Arizona International Film Festival in April. Since then, the documentary has been shown at various national and international events, and has recently been nominated for an Al Ard XV Film Festival award in Italy.
After the documentary is shown at CSUSB, the next screening will take place at the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus on Tuesday, March 6.