Unholy Land

Posted on 21st April, by mosaicfilms in Broadcast, Our Films. Comments Off on Unholy Land


Marking the 50th Anniversary of the state of Israel, Unholy Land was shot in Israel and Palestine by Israeli and Palestinian filmmakers.

Channel 4, 1998

A series of films shot by Palestinian and Israeli filmmakers that take us into the lives of ordinary men and women who live in an extraordinary region of the world, Unholy Land was made using a unique production method pioneered by Colin Luke and Adam Alexander. Each filmmaker worked alone with just a small digital camera, following subjects closely and at length. Their rushes were then edited in London into separate films, of lengths ranging from 15 minutes to one hour. This approach, already employed to great effect in the BBC series Russian Wonderland (1995) and United Kingdom! (1997), combines the intimacy and vitality achieved by video diaries with the structure and rigour of the professional documentary maker.

Executive Producer: Adam Alexander
Series Producer: Melanie Anstey
Series Director: Colin Luke


Highly commended, Grierson Documentary Awards
Nomination, Best New Programme BROADCAST Awards
Special jury commendation, European Humanitarian Awards
Winner International Actual Award TV3 Barcelona


“intimate, brutal, beautiful and often shocking films”
– Guardian

“luminous vignettes”
– Financial Times

“a gripping series of films”
– The Independent

“made with a wry and unsentimental eye”
– The Observer


The Gaza Teaboy
Eleven-year-old Mohammed Mana’a wants to attend school, but his father Ibrahim wants him to work selling tea in the main square of Gaza City.

The Big Five O
Meira is a 50-year-old Israeli woman whose life, like her country, is full of contradictions. Her son is in the Israeli army, while she is active in the peace movement and supports Palestinian demands for land and autonomy.

No Place Like Home
This documentary follows Baruch and Sara Golembo who, along with their five children, were among the 80,000 Jews who emigrated to Israel in the last year.

The Detainee
This documentary explores the issue of Palestinians held without trial in Israeli jails. It focuses on the story of Elias Jerayesh, who has been detained without charge in Damoun prison near Haifa for three years. His wife is not allowed to visit him and the efforts of his lawyer to help him are restricted because she is denied access to secret files held by Israeli Intelligence.

Primetime War
Alon Bernstein, an Israeli, and his best friend Jimmy Michael, a Palestinian, are cameramen working for news organisations such as Associated Press and the BBC. This film follows them over the last year of the peace process as they cover one atrocity after another in the the Israeli/Arab conflict.

Winner, International Actual Award TV3 Barcelona

Local Hero
A profile of Daoud Kuttab, a television journalist and station chief committed to democracy and freedom of speech in Palestine, who has been imprisoned by both sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Streets of Tel Aviv
Smadar Sayar is 18 years old and lives in a home providing shelter and refuge to street children in Tel Aviv. A recent appearance on a television programme has turned her into a symbol for the problems that beset Israel’s young people today.

Take Three Girls
This short film takes a look at the secret world of orthodox Jewish women.

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