Film director on way for local screening of award-winning film

An award-winning film director who made a thought-provoking documentary on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, is to visit Co Armagh for the movie’s first Irish screening.

On the Side of the Road will be shown on Saturday September 5 in Drumcree Community Centre, Asgrove Road, Portadown at 3.30pm with a question and answer session after. Lia Tarachansky, the director of the film. will be at the event.

It is the first of four screenings of this film in Ireland organised by the IPSC, with the others being held in Omagh, Limerick and Dublin. The film is a challenging and important documentary about the creation of the Israeli state and the impact this has had both on Palestinians and Israelis.

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Lia Tarachansky is a former West Bank settler and her film looks at Israelis’ collective amnesia of the fateful events of 1948, known by Palestinians as the ‘Nakba’, when the state of Israel was unilaterally created and thousands of Palestinian families were forcibly driven from their homes.

Tarachansky had to break through a lot of personal and social barriers to produce this often infuriating film about the Nakba, the “catastrophe” of 1948, when approximately 750,000 Palestinians (a number that has grown to 1.5 million refugees living in camps over the ensuing 67 years) were expelled from their homes and forced into squalid camps, where they are denied basic human rights.

The film focuses on Israeli collective denial of the events of 1948 and the Palestinian refugee problem. It follows Israeli veterans Tikva Honig-Parnass and Amnon Noiman as they tackle their denial of their actions in the conflict. The film also tells the story of the director, Lia Tarachansky, an Israeli who grew up in a settlement in the West Bank but, as an adult, began to realize the severe problems of the Israeli Occupation for the Palestinian people.

One of the organisers of the county Armagh event, Ciarán Ó Fearghail, said: “It’s a privilege for the local branch of the IPSC to host this screening of ‘On the Side of the Road’ and, importantly, to also have Lia Tarachansky in attendance to answer any questions which people may have. The Portadown event is the first of four screenings of this film in Ireland, with the others being held in Omagh, Limerick and Dublin.

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“The film has won a number of awards at several international film festivals. It is quite unique in that the director is, herself, a former Israeli settler who, as she approached adulthood, realised that there is a refusal by many Israelis to accept any blame for the conflict that has cost many thousands of lives and who refuse to accept Palestinians as equal citizens with equal rights. Through this film, Lia Tarachansky exposes the major contradictions which exist at the heart of the creation of the modern Israeli state.”

Admission to the film is free, but donations to the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign will be welcome.

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