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Meet the 2013 Tribeca Filmmakers #47: Hilla Medalia Demonstrates Power of Dance & Hope in ‘Dancing in Jaffa’

Meet the 2013 Tribeca Filmmakers #47: Hilla Medalia Demonstrates Power of Dance & Hope in 'Dancing in Jaffa'

Hilla Medalia holds a Master’s Degree in Film and Television from Southern Illinois
University which she attended on a Track and Field scholarship,
competing in the Triple Jump. She credits her love for films and
passion for storytelling leading her to study film. The now George Foster Peabody Award winning director and producer has received three
Emmy Award nominations and won the Paris Human Rights Film Festival Jury
Award, Fipa Biarritz Jury Award, Golden Warsaw Phoenix Award, Faito Doc
Grand Jury Award among others. Her latest project, “Dancing in Jaffa,” is a project she hopes will inspire audiences in their personal journeys.

What it’s about: Pierre Dulaine takes his belief that dance can overcome hate &
applies it to 11 yr-old Jewish & Palestinian Israelis. What occurs
is magical and transformative.

On the importance of the film: “I would like the audience to know that, although we shot the film
in Jaffa, hatred, prejudice and segregation are very much global
concerns. Knowing that this dance program can be easily replicated
worldwide and seeing the effect it had on the Jaffa community, I truly
believe that this program is a must have in every community, especially
ones that are dealing with similar issues.”

On the challenges: “The main challenge for me was the sensitivity of these topics and my
struggle to find the right balance, the precise wording, and the footage
which would represent, on one hand my beliefs, and on the other hand
also give the stage to all the different protagonists and their
individual voices.”

What she hopes Tribeca audiences will walk away with: “I would like to shine a light on the issue of Palestinians who are
living in Israel, their history, their ongoing struggle, and,
unfortunately, the gap that keeps growing due largely to the political
status quo being as tense as it has been in the past years between
Israel and Palestine. The last aspect is the unequivocal ability to
create change, even in the face of staggering odds.”

Films that inspired her: “Our producer Diane Nabatoff produced Take The Lead with Antonio
Banderas, a narrative film about Pierre and his work. When Diane
approached me and told me about Pierre going to Jaffa, I watched the
film and was struck by the overwhelming realization that life is bigger
then anything we could possibly imagine. I knew that the real Pierre
could only be stronger. As far as other films that inspired me, I didn’t want to make a straight
competition film; I wanted the competition to be a frame and for the
stories of Pierre reconnecting with his Palestinian roots, and the
personal stories of the kids to be the heart of the film as it is in
films like ‘To Be and To Have’, which inspired me in making Dancing in

What’s next: “I am co directing and co producing a documentary about Internet
Addiction in China which has a Tribeca connection…among other
supporters, it received the Tribecca Gucci film fund.”

Indiewire invited Tribeca Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they’re doing next. We’ll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2013 festival.

Keep checking HERE every day up to the launch of the festival on April 17 for the latest profiles.

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