Return to Ramallah: A Palestinian-American Story

After 40 years of living in the U.S, Fuad returns to his native Ramallah, Palestine with his children of the Palestinian-American diaspora, using music to discern their identity in a world ripped away from generation to generation.

  • Ziad Foty
    Normalized (2021), El Mahal (2019), Blue (2021)
  • Ziad Foty
  • Ziad Foty
  • Dina Emam
    Yomeddine (2018)
  • Ahmed Mansour
    Brooklyn Inshallah (2021)
  • Fuad Foty
    Key Cast
  • Nadine Foty
    Key Cast
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  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    Palestine, State of
  • Language:
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Ziad Foty

Founder of Foty Fusion Films, Ziad Foty is an independent director, writer, and producer based in the DMV area. His films seek to highlight underrepresented stories in an effort to challenge the dominant representation in cinema.
His experience in documentary, experimental, and narrative conventions has led to the production of a diverse crop of films including experimental short “The Strange Ways of the Occident” (2015) and short documentary film “The Renaissance Man” (2017) about a DC native combatting gentrification through art. Most recently, Ziad’s debut narrative short “El Mahal” (2019) about a Palestinian-American’s struggle to survive in a family-run grocery store, won “Best Foreign Language Short'' at the 2019 Marina Del Ray Film Festival and “Best Cinematography” and “2nd place general submission Award” at the 2019 Wheaton Film Festival. In 2021 Ziad will premiere narrative short Blue (2021), and his debut feature documentary "Return to Ramallah" (2021) about his father returning back to his native Palestine after 40 years in America.

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Director Statement

Six years ago, I realized I had to make Return to Ramallah (2020). As a second generation Palestinian-American growing up with a father who was forced to leave his native homeland, I found his story tragic. In turn, I found my sister’s story Nadine, tragic but in a very different way. Nadine’s confused identity of constantly being in-between the worlds of Palestine and America was an internal crisis that I could identify with. Despite living a comfortable middle-class life, I always viewed both my father and Nadine as homeless and in search of a lost identity; an identity that was held in tact by the dream of return. This dream was kept alive through my father playing the Oud and singing Palestinian songs; something he passsed down to Nadine and the rest of his kids. Music is how he survived a violent introduction to his life in America and what kept the hope of return alive. Upon his return, we learn that Palestinian’s both on the ground and across the diaspora felt a deep desire to return. What’s more, is that the Palestinian’s diaspora across the world use music, like my father and Nadine, to assert their right to return.