Promises is a 2001 documentary film that examines the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the perspectives of seven children living in the Palestinian communities in the West Bank and Israeli neighborhoods of Jerusalem.
The film follows Israeli-American filmmaker B.Z. Goldberg as he meets with seven Palestinian and Israeli children between the ages of nine and thirteen, seeing the Middle East conflict through their eyes. The most important aspect of the film is that it allows "ordinary" kids to develop natural bonds of affection by simply playing games with each other - bonds which go beyond the clutter of prejudices that they have heard from their parents and others around them.
Promises was shot between 1997 and 2000 and was produced in association with the Independent Television Service with partial funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
The film has a running time of 106 minutes, and includes Arabic, Hebrew and English dialogue with English subtitles.
In 2004 the filmmakers' produced a follow-up program called Promises: Four Years On, which features interviews and updates on the children's current lives. It lasts 25 minutes and is included as a special feature on the film's DVD release.
Promises has been shown at many film festivals and received excellent reviews and many accolades.
Daniel and Yarko: Israeli boys living in west Jerusalem, secular Jews, put off more by religious Jews than Palestinians; grandsons of Holocaust survivor
Shlomo: Jewish quarter in Jerusalem, Orthodox, son of an American rabbi
Moishe: lives in Beit-El in the West-Bank, dislikes the Arabs
Faraj: lives in the Deheishe refugee camp in the West Bank, Palestinian; son of Palestinian refugees
Mahmoud: Palestinian quarter in East Jerusalem; son of merchant in Muslim quarter of the Old City
Sanabel: Palestinian lives also in the Deheishe refuge camp, father is in prison because he was affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Before her brother died from heat stroke, he was also in prison.
Best Documentary, 74th Annual Academy Awards
Best Documentary, IFP Spirit Awards
Truer than Fiction Award, IFP Spirit Awards
2002 The NBR Freedom of Expression Citation National Board of Review
2002 The Michael Landon Award for Community Service to Youth Twenty-Third Annual Young Artist Awards
2001 Emmy Award, Best Documentary
2001 Emmy Award, Best Background Analysis
2001 Rotterdam International Film Festival Audience Award, Best Film
2001 Munich Film Festival Freedom of Expression Award
2001 Jerusalem Film Festival Special Festival Award
2001 Locarno International Film Festival Special Ecumenical Jury Prize
2001 San Francisco International Film Festival Audience Award, Best Documentary Grand Prize, Best Documentary Golden Gate Award, Documentary Film
2001 Vancouver International Film Festival Audience Award, Diversity in Spirit Award
2001 Hamptons International Film Festival Best Documentary
2001 São Paulo International Film Festival Best Documentary Audience Award
2001 Valladolid International Film Festival Best Documentary
2001 Paris International Film Festival (Rencontres) Audience Award-Best Film