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University of Iowa News Release


Nov. 6, 2007

Film depicts suicide bomber in Israeli-Palestinian conflict Nov. 13

The documentary film "To Die In Jerusalem" will be shown at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13 in Room E105 of the Adler Journalism Building on the University of Iowa campus. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion and question and answer session with the director and producer, Hilla Medalia. This event is free and open to the public.

The film explores the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through the families of two dead 17-year-old girls -- a suicide bomber and her victim. The personal tales of each family's losses, as well as the confrontation between the two young women's mothers, reveals the mutual pain experienced despite different cultures and perceptions of death.

"It's important for us to understand the cultural elements of the overall conflict. This film brings out a side that we are rarely able to see or understand," said Dan Berkowitz, professor of journalism and mass communication in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

In an interview with the New York Times, Dennis Ross, former United States ambassador and Middle East peace negotiator under Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, called the film both "powerful" and "poignant."

Medalia was born in a suburb of Tel Aviv, Israel. After graduating from high school, she joined the Israeli Defense Forces. After military service she began her academic career in the United States, where she earned bachelor's and a master's degree from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Ill. She received a 2005 Regional Emmy Award for the documentary project "Condition: John Foppe" and the 2004 Angelus Award for directing the student film "Daughters of Abraham." The project also won second place in the documentary category at 2004 Broadcast Education Association convention and received the 2003 University Film and Video Association Carole Fielding Student Grant. "To Die in Jerusalem" is her first feature documentary.

The screening is sponsored by the University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Institute for Cinema and Culture (ICC), the Middle East and Muslim World Studies Group (MEMWS), and the UI Center for Human Rights (UICHR). For more information or special accommodations, contact Berkowitz at or at 319-335-3477.

ICC, MEMWS and UICHR are affiliated with the University of Iowa International Programs, which enables UI students, faculty, staff and the public to learn from and about the world. Its offices, degree programs and events provide life-changing opportunities on campus and abroad, heighten intellectual and cultural diversity, and give all university constituents access to vital international knowledge. For more information, visit or call 319-353-2700. International Programs is part of the UI Office of the Provost.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Dan Berkowitz, UI School of Journalism and Mass Communications, 319-335-3477,; Kelli Andresen, International Programs, 319-335-2026,; Lois J. Gray, University News Services, 319-384-0077,; Writer: Cassandra Lalan