• Rosanna Arquette: How the #MeToo and Climate Change Movements Are ‘Intertwined’ (Guest Blog)
    The Wrap

    Rosanna Arquette: How the #MeToo and Climate Change Movements Are ‘Intertwined’ (Guest Blog)

    This Monday, jury selection will begin in the criminal trial of Harvey Weinstein. Throughout his career, Weinstein abused, manipulated, bullied and sexually assaulted hundreds of women. I am one of the many that he has harmed. His criminal acts reflect an industry that condones toxic and dangerous work environments for females who are expected to keep quiet on the set. But the film industry is not singular in its abusive ways toward women.In this MeToo era, it is still the norm for women not to be believed. As we watch the Weinstein trial in real time — and his lawyers collect hefty sums to dismiss the truth and discredit the brave survivors who will take the witness stand — now, more than ever, we must support these women to see that justice is served. Make no mistake that this landmark case will affect the number of assaults and rapes that are reported and prosecuted. If we see that money and power can buy a get out of jail card, it sends a strong message to women that their truth will be always be challenged.The same is true for the life force responsible for the water we drink and the air we breathe, Mother Nature. Like the countless survivors who are subjected to scrutiny and blame for crimes that take place inside their bodies, our earth is being violently assaulted. Her roots have been torn out of the soil; her sorrow is flooding our land. We see her anger burn like wildfire. We feel her trauma in the sinking earth and we do nothing to help her.Also Read: Harvey Weinstein's Criminal Trial Starts Monday - Here's What to ExpectThe parallels between the climate change crisis and rape are as clear as a blue sky. As a longtime activist for both issues, my hope is that the only time we are looking backward is to learn from our mistakes. When we say times up, we are pointedly speaking to both the abusers and the proactive climate-change denial by the Trump administration. Both are national emergencies that are largely ignored by our representatives.It took a choir of women’s voices, centuries of abuse and bloodshed for the pendulum to swing in the other direction on abusive behavior against women. When women in film like me and many others — the silence breakers — banded together in solidarity against the gross misuse of power in our industry, the time was finally “right” for people to wake up and take notice. We, along with male allies like Ronan Farrow, were able to amplify Tarana Burke’s MeToo battle cry into a movement and demand that predators be held accountable for their actions.The silence breakers who exposed themselves in going public with their experiences were not only hoping to create change for women in Hollywood but in our culture at large. While film is a visual medium, a character is only as good as his or her voice. It is dialogue that tells the story.Also Read: LA District Attorney Is Reviewing 8 Accusations of Sexual Misconduct Against Harvey WeinsteinMother Earth needs our help too. Every human life is dependent on protecting our planet. We breathe her air, drink her water and bask in her sunlight. Yet, we have violated and abused her. We have ignored her cries for help.Women are innately connected to the earth’s ability to grow and give life. Mother Earth is MeToo. We have shared trauma that needs nurturing and healing. It is our responsibility to help her by adopting natural climate solutions and a planetary health diet, leave fossil fuels in the ground and restrict emissions.These two movements are intrinsically intertwined. They both require us, as a society, to find common ground, to respect one another and the earth we dwell upon. To look at what we can do right now to support both causes. To create and speak a language that we all can acknowledge and understand, one of hope, peace and change.As we begin not only a new year but a new decade, women are reclaiming their freedoms by seeking a better, safer and kinder world to live in. I want more for myself, for other women, for my daughter. We deserve to walk this earth without trepidation of being verbally, physically or sexually attacked on a daily basis.Also Read: Melania Trump Downplays Husband's Greta Thunberg Diss: Barron 'Is Not an Activist Who Travels the Globe'If you don’t know where to begin, look no further than the many fearless heroines leading the charge. If 16-year-old Greta Thunberg can see the error of our ways and dedicate her young life to raising awareness and demanding transparency and change, we can too. If Jane Fonda can band together environmentalists and supporters to protest with her FireDrillFridays, we can too. If the simple but profound phrase MeToo answered the cries of millions of people who had been sexually assaulted, we can muster the same kind of advocacy to combat climate change.There will always be people who seek to destroy rather than protect our earth and the people who inhabit it. With all change, there are growing pains but as a collective community, we rise above the discomfort and discrimination with steadfast determination and heart. We dig our heels into the soil to preserve and nurture it and the women who have been harmed. We will be louder and stronger than animosity and ignorance and step into our organic roles as organic warriors, the way Mother Nature intended us to.Read original story Rosanna Arquette: How the MeToo and Climate Change Movements Are ‘Intertwined’ (Guest Blog) At TheWrap

  • Seeing Palestinian Pain as Art at the Other Israeli Film Festival (Guest Blog)
    The Wrap

    Seeing Palestinian Pain as Art at the Other Israeli Film Festival (Guest Blog)

    As I sit here, writing about Palestinian films and The Other Israeli Film Festival, rockets lobbed from Gaza are falling once again in Israel, wreaking havoc and terror. The rockets do not fall on deaf ears — instead they are the percussive anthem that scores the Middle East while shaping the futility of peace. We are compelled to listen. We must listen. As Israelis and Arabs take cover, they are joined in the fallacy that existence is war. I grew up being told to hate my enemy. As a Jew who was far removed from Israel, I finally traveled there only to find Arabs and Israelis walking together, eating together, speaking and loving together.Not all of them, just those visible to an American in search of an answer.If The Other Israeli Film Festival, now underway in New York City, accomplishes anything, it is that art is inclusive and film is a vehicle for social change. Who knew that these perceived enemies of Israel had their own story to tell, and how their story is our story? Who knew that what brings us together is much more powerful than what drives us apart?Nof Atamna-Ismaeel, Palestinian chef and the first Arab to win Israel’s version of “Top Chef,” makes a hopeful observation in the documentary “Breaking Bread”: “It’s up to the artists to bring us together, the politicians have failed.” These may be the most impactful words since Lincoln  asked, “Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”Also Read: Academy Stumbles Again With Another Oscars International Disqualification, This Time AustriaThis recipe for tolerance, nestled in a film by Beth Elise Hawk that celebrates cuisine diplomacy, lies beneath the bubbling pots of Syrian stews and plates of Israeli hummus, top heavy with the legacy of local traditions that date back centuries. They are the creation of a collaborative effort between Israelis and Arabic/Palestinian chefs. It is also the hallmark of a film festival that is more a stage for social commentary than it is for the art of film.As Nof says, “Being stuck in the middle is the best thing, because you get to be this and that, and enjoy both worlds.”As joyous the chefs were in providing sustenance in “Breaking Bread,” Bassam Jarbawi’s “Screwdriver” addresses the frustrations and trauma of Ziad, a young man fresh from prison after a mistaken identity killing. Ziad’s decompression only extends the hopelessness of his incarceration. What is most compelling about this film, which will close the Other Israeli Film Festival, is how it communicates that freedom to some is a prison to others.The realization that those who Ziad took a fall for are maintaining lives that are, if not guilt-free, then comfortable. They dine in restaurants, they build houses, they commune in spite of the environment and political conditions, whereas Ziad falls victim to the same. “Screwdriver” is a remarkable film in that there is something that is identifiable to anyone who has operated under oppression — and who hasn’t?Also Read: Oscars Shake Up Voting in the Best International Feature Film CategoryIf these two films are any indication of what can be seen at The Other Israeli Film Festival, then it becomes obvious that this festival’s impact is more about society than it is about the art of film.What culture has not been spindled, folded, mutilated — tortured and confined? It seems that the Palestinians are getting it from all sides — and their only recourse is to reach out through the arts. You probably won’t find a film like this playing to right-wing Israelis.  You probably won’t find a film like this playing to hard-line Palestinians either. The sympathies and empathies of change seldom happen in rigid minds — except when a film like this presents an alternate view.Isaac Zablocki, the director of the festival, described this year’s movies are the best in the history of the event: “I’ve loved all the films this year, which isn’t always the case.” Saddled not only with the responsibility of presenting a platform for these voices to be heard — but also the challenge of filtering out the dissent and trolls who are more interested in towing a party line than in considering the voices of oppression, Zablocki added, “This year’s brave lineup makes it clear that even in polarizing times, there are progressive voices leading the way to hope. These voices need to be heard.”The Other Israel Film Festival runs from November 14-21 at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, as well as Alamo Drafthouse Downtown Brooklyn, JCC Harlem, and NYU. The festival will feature Q&As with numerous filmmakers and talent after select screenings.Read original story Seeing Palestinian Pain as Art at the Other Israeli Film Festival (Guest Blog) At TheWrap

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