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State 194

Dir/scr: Dan Setton. US-Israel. 2012. 98mins

A highly watchable and impressively optimistic documentary, Israeli filmmaker Dan Setton’s documentary State 194 follows Salam Fayyad, Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority, through 2009 to 2011 as he sets about trying to establish the principles and structures for the possibility of an independent Palestine.

The film is made with enthusiasm and passion.

There is no denying the sheer principled charisma of Fayyad as he journeys around the West Bank, meeting people, opening hospitals and visiting cultural venues, and while there are problems a-plenty facing his plans there also seems to be qualified cause of hope…especially in terms of support from international institutions.

The film, which screened at Toronto and in Berlin, is made with enthusiasm and passion, and would be a suitably provocative and challenging transmission for broadcasters. Technical qualities are okay, but this is the sort of project where content and context are everything.

Salam Fayyad gains support in theory for his plan – titled Ending the Occupation, Establishing the State – but the realities of political life in the region means that that it is just that…a plan. But, as the film shows, with a plan and without someone to keep on pushing then peace in the Middle East is a long way off.

Production companies: Stet Productions, Participant Media, Zadig Productions

International sales: Cinephil

Producers: Dan Setton, Elise Pearlstein

Executive producers: Diane Weyermann, Jeff Skoll. Co-producer, Daniel J. Chalfen

Associate producers:Philippa Kowarsky, Omri Urzad

Cinematography: Hanna Abu-Saada, Yoram Millo

Editors: Brian Johnson, Ariel Setton

Music: Michael Brook

Associate producers:Philippa Kowarsky, Omri Urzad

With: Salam Fayyad, Mahmoud Abbas, Madj Biltaji, Mahmoud El-Mandawi, Nabeel Sweety, Ron Dermer, Tzipi Livni, Avi Dichter, Yitzhak Frankenthal, Sara Benninga, George Mitchell Jeremy Ben-Ami, Richard Serry

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