Experiencing Interruptions?

Hotel Everest

Hotel Everest is a story about individuals who have the courage to overcome ancient hatreds, fear and mistrust to find a better and peaceful way for themselves, their communities and their families. They come together to understand the humanity in “the other”, forge connections that promote empathy, understanding and, in their wildest hopes, peace. Our film is not a historical account of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict but a contemporary, experiential film about living within it.

Filmed over a tumultuous two-year period, the film follows the efforts and the relationship between two peace activists Eden Fuchs, a retired Israeli army colonel and Ibrahim Issa, a Palestinian born in a refugee camp as well as the Idahoan founders of the Centre for Emerging Futures, Whit and Paula Jones.

Their paths cross at the Hotel Everest in Beit Jala, a Palestinian owned business nestled between Bethlehem and Jerusalem that provides a haven where both Israelis and Palestinians are equally welcome and free to meet together.

In 2008, Whit & Paula decided to start an initiative that could make a positive impact in the region by bringing Palestinians and Israelis together to share their personal experiences and form social and business partnerships. This was the inception of the Global Village Square meetings and Ibrahim and Eden's long-term friendship.

The meetings have been an incubator for social ventures such as Two Neighbors, a cooperative of Palestinian and Israeli women designing and manufacturing a line of clothing together.

Over the many years of co-leading these meetings, Eden and Ibrahim have developed a bond that runs deeper than their differences. However, their peace work has not been without consequences. Both men have faced prejudices and judgement about their activities and participating in these dialogues. Eden attributes a big part of his divorce to this and Ibrahim’s children have also faced the repercussions of their father’s beliefs.

As the film unfolds, war between Israel and Hamas breaks out in Gaza, tensions ignite, and it becomes harder for these meetings to take place. The two men, so determined to embrace each other’s humanity, turn out to be all too human. The war and pressure from both sides take a toll on their personal lives, will they be able to continue their work?

  • Claudia Sobral
    Ghosts of the Third Reich
  • Sophie Sartain
    Seeing Allred, Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh (2008), Mimi and Dona (2014) and Above and Beyond (2014)
  • Claudia Sobral
    Ghosts of the Third Reich
  • Chris Callister
    Seeing Allred, Cyrus, Blessed Is the Match, Above and Beyond
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Human Rights, political conflict, peace activism
  • Runtime:
    10 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    March 20, 2017
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    Israel, Palestine, State of, United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • London Eye International Film Festival
    United Kingdom
    October 21, 2017
    European premiere
    Best Short Documentary Award
  • Socially Relevant Film Festival
    New York City, NY
    United States
    March 21, 2018
    New York Premiere
    Grand Prize Best Documentary Feature
  • Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival
    Los Angeles
    United States
    May 20, 2017
    Los Angeles Premiere
    Audience Award Best Short
  • Hollywood Film Festival
    Los Angeles, California
    United States
    Best Short Documentary
  • United Nations Association Film Festival
    Stanford, California
    United States
    Official Selection
  • Amsterdam Film Festival
    Best Short Documentary
  • Sao Paulo Jewish Film Festival
    Sao Paulo
    South America Premiere
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Claudia Sobral

A cultural anthropologist and a documentary filmmaker, Sobral has over 15 years of experience in community arts. Sobral started working on documentaries as a researcher in 2005 at SDcinematografica in Rome, including The Sinking of the Andrea Doria, The Battle of Monte Cassino and The Fall of Benito Mussolini. A trip to Berlin ignited her curiosity about the life experiences of descendants of the Nazis, a particularly personal topic since several members of her family are Holocaust survivors. She produced and co-directed her first documentary, The Ghosts of the Third Reich. It was broadcast on the National Geographic Channel in Asia, South America, Europe and Australia and on the History Channel in Italy. It had screened in Brazil, Uruguay, Monaco, South Africa, China and Israel. It has also been screened nationally and internationally at many film festivals, schools and cultural institutions.

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Director Statement

There is always an urgency in conveying a message of hope where hatred and despair have crushed hope--this is the present situation in Israel and Palestine.

Since we began working on this documentary violence, fear and despair have escalated to soul crushing levels. When war broke out in Gaza in the summer of 2014, retaliation for acts of violence impacted and took the lives of many on both sides in the most brutal ways. These dangerous, intense and difficult times intensified the interest in and focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Can there be a greater moment to leverage this attention and to bring forward a more hopeful and rarely seen reality?

There is a dire need to give voice to individuals like Eden Fuchs and Ibrahim Issa. Their experiences are a testament to what is possible when courageous individuals take a step forward to deal with their fears, preconceptions and assumptions. Our documentary is a platform to amplify these stories of hope and to encourage others to find the same strength and inspiration. We hope that our film will challenge those who don’t have access to these narratives and experiences to reconsider the ways in which they look at their neighbors and create new possibilities for themselves and their families, and their communities.
We know too well what war looks like, but do we know what peace looks like? We have long been bombarded with images and stories of violence from the region. How do you develop friendships and partnerships in such an environment? How do people break away from a conflict-focused system to simply get along or to create long term collaborations? What are the transformative moments in the personal stories of these individuals that make them agents of change? These are some of the questions that inform my work.

There is also one other question that emerged during filming. How did the protagonists deal with the social pressure and antagonism they were subjected to from their own families and friends because they chose to engage with the “enemy,” (euphemistically referred to at times as naïve peace activists). They constantly have to face the consequences of their choices in their private and public lives, a heavy price to pay without the promise of an immediate reward.
Thanks for watching our film.