Last September in Jerusalem and the West Bank, I spent two days with the acclaimed Middle East correspondent for The Independent, Robert Fisk, and a film crew while they were making a documentary about his work, life and journalism in the modern age. Acclaimed director Yung Chang and a host of others travelled in Israel and the occupied West Bank and I featured in a number of scenes with Robert discussing my 15 years of work on Israel and Palestine, my attitudes to adversarial journalism and the importance of online reporting. Once the shoot was over, I had no idea what would happen to the footage or film.
Fast forward to today and the film, This Is Not A Movie, just premiered at one of the world’s most prestigious film festivals, Toronto International Film Festival, to huge acclaim. I’m also happy to report that I made the final cut and appear in a number of scenes. 😉
I recently saw the feature length documentary (here’s the trailer) and it’s a stunning piece of work tackling Robert’s long career and the need for on the ground reporting from Palestine to Lebanon and Syria to Bosnia. It skilfully examines the challenges of front line reporting in the 21st century and doesn’t shy away from the many controversies around Robert’s work over his more then four decades in the field. It also questions whether many journalists are mini-colonialists.
The film asks: what is truth, and why does it really matter? Equally importantly, what’s the real effect, if any, of accurate journalism?
I’ve known Robert for nearly 15 years and he’s long inspired my own work in the Middle East. He’s kindly mentioned my writings on Palestine a number of times over the years in his columns and books (eg. here) and I helped organise some of his speaking tours to Australia in the mid-2000s.
I’m honoured to appear in the film and I thank all who made it happen.
These photos were taken during last year’s shoot in the Bedouin village of Khan Al Ahmar that remains slated for demolition by Israel.
This Is Not A Movie will soon be appearing at film festivals, events and screens near you. In an age where truth can rarely matter, this film bravely argues that it does now more than ever.