Open Bethlehem

Operation Bethlehem

Open Bethlehem is now completed; had its UK release in 2015; its Bethlehem Premiere in Spring 2016 and continues its journey across the globe – the Middle East, Europe, North America. For more info click here.

NB Open Bethlehem is the new release title for The Road to Bethlehem.

I am delighted that Tipping Point has become the home of my film in the UK. I couldn’t have a better partner in my journey to bring the story of Bethlehem to the world.
– Leila Sansour – Open Bethlehem

What would you do to save Bethlehem?

In 2004 director Leila Sansour set out to find the answer for herself.  Four years later, she found it.

This documentary is a personal story filmed over four critical years in the life of Bethlehem. This most famous little town also happens to be Leila Sansour’s hometown. She left it as a teenager, pledging never to return. But in 2004 she went home for Christmas. The journey changed her life.

The film is shot over four Christmases in the life of Bethlehem as, piece-by-piece, hundreds of slabs of concrete are lowered into place to build a wall that will seal the city from the outside world. The story is told through the eyes of the film’s director. It is her own very personal story.

To hear the latest news from Leila read her blog, or for a small taster of the film watch the clip below.

Raising the completion budget

Tipping Point Film Fund has helped raise funds in excess of £100,000 to support the editing and completion of the film, as well as the international outreach plan for the film.

The film mobilised a fund-raising base that raised more than £70,000 towards this final sum – from individual donations, collective group contributions, dedicated fund-raising events and appeals. Supporting donor organisations include Trocaire (Ireland), Development and Peace (Canada) CBA Dfid (UK), and most recently McCabe Educational Trust.

Leila has a proven track record as a feature documentary director – her first film was the internationally acclaimed Jeremy Hardy versus the Israeli Army.

Campaign outreach

The film is now complete. The campaign accompanying the film on its release will be a 2-3 year long international effort to engage the public and decision-makers on the critical issues affecting Bethlehem and Palestine more widely, and inspire audiences around the world to get involved and really help make a difference.

Open Bethlehem

At the heart of the film and the campaign, founded by the director herself in 2005, is Open Bethlehem, an international campaign set up to address the state of emergency in Bethlehem. It has secured widespread attention and endorsement from world figures such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Jimmy Carter and is a campaign that will enhance the film’s international impact with the intention  of creating a positive impact for her home town.

Timescale & Events

July 2014

TPFF hosted NGO screening for organisations working in or on the Israel/Palestine issue. Hosted at Mosaic rooms.

Sept 2014

The film was previewed at the Royal Geographical Society in September 2014 at a sell-out event hosted by Melvyn Bragg.

Open Bethlehem at the Royal Geographical Society with Melvyn Bragg

Dec 2014 – and into 2015 – UK release

“One of the most remarkable and moving documentaries I have seen. The tragedy
of the Palestinians encapsulated in the life of one town, Bethlehem”
Jon Snow

Open Bethlehem was released across the UK, beginning on December 5th. It has been shown in London, Liverpool, York, Oxford, Bristol, Norwich, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness to full house audiences with enthusiastic feedback. There were great Q&As of Leila with Jeremy Hardy, Irvine Welsh, Paul Laverty, among others. TPFF hosted two sell-out screenings at the Lexi cinema and the Ritzy Picturehouse. Screenings start again in the new year. Don’t miss the chance to see this wonderful film in the cinema.

“Leila Sansour’s documentary Open Bethlehem follows her campaign to stop occupying Israeli forces encircling her hometown with a concrete wall. Sansour’s film, which follows her attempts to unite Christians, Muslims and Jews in their desire for free access to the Holy City, is the kind of art that peace processes are built on.”
Peter Bradshaw

Watch the whole Guardian’s video review here.

Bethlehem syndrome: understanding the little town of ‘Brand Holy Land’

‘We might not achieve a victory, but we at least can tell a story’

Open Bethlehem Campaign

Integral to the release is an international outreach campaign of same name. Open Bethlehem works to promote global engagement with Bethlehem as a real and contemporary city in the Middle East. It does so by supporting the distribution of communication tools about Bethlehem to boost international interest and awareness and by promoting visits to Bethlehem through established and specialized tour operators. The campaign also works to develop a network of passionate ambassadors for the city through the Bethlehem Passport Program.

More information:

More Press Articles

Leila recently wrote this article for The Elders website, ahead of the Pope’s visit, warning that the city’s tradition of peaceful coexistence is in danger of vanishing completely.

Leila Sansour writes about her and her family’s experience of life growing up under Israeli occupation and considers the impact of Palestine’s UN Bid for recognition.


‘As a child growing up in Bethlehem, I was entrusted with burning all the political books in my father’s library whenever there was an Israeli raid. Now my city is surrounded by walls and ring-fenced by more than forty Israeli settlements built on Palestinian land.’


In September 2011, as Palestine  prepared for its bid for UN recognition, Leila writes about this hugely significant step.   ‘The Palestinian UN bid – an uncharted territory.  Is the risk going to the UN? Or is the greater risk doing it half- heartedly? Read it here.

TV and Radio

Renowned  “60 Minutes”  series on US network CBS report on Christian Palestinians

And for US faith group audiences,  here are some syndicated radio reports about The Holy Land

Survey: Americans back Bethlehem but not sure where it is

Early on, as Leila and her team started making the documentary, they decided to commission a nationwide survey in the United States about American perceptions of Bethlehem. The findings where stunning and in total contrast to another survey we commissioned in Bethlehem at the same time.

The survey, carried out by top US political pollsters Zogby International, showed that only 15 percent of Americans realized that the biblical Bethlehem is a Palestinian city and even fewer still guessed that its inhabitants were a mix of Christians and Muslims or that Bethlehem was located in the West Bank. 15000 Americans were canvassed.

The Zogby survey showed strong support for the town in the US, where 65.5% of the population wanted the UN to list it as a world heritage site. It is worth mentioning that Bethlehem was finally listed as a world heritage site only in 2012.

The film crew also conducted 150 interviews in the streets of London at the same time producing a humorous montage of people’s perceptions. One woman said: “I don’t know where it is but I strongly believe the men there must be very attractive”. The clip did not make it into the film but it will be part of our press kit and promotional film take outs.

To read more about the survey

Free tickets to Michael Moore’s new film

Free tickets to Michael Moore’s new film

This offer has come to an end. But do check out Rajesh Thind’s review of the film.

To celebrate the release of Michael Moore’s new documentary, Capitalism: A Love Story, we are offering 2 free tickets to the film to everyone who signs up to join the Tipping Point Film Fund 360° regular giver network.

Commit to donating from £10 monthly to Tipping Point Film Fund in order to qualify for the 2 free tickets. The ticket offer is available for the duration of the film’s UK release.  Donate now.

Capitalism: A Love Story
is showing at cinemas everywhere from Friday 26th February and you can have your two tickets at the cinema of your choice.

More about your donation

Tipping Point Film Fund is a not for profit organisation that, through public donations, supports great non-fiction films that can change our world. A regular donation enables the growth of a sustainable fund that can stay committed to funding films that help make change happen. Find out more about how to donate. Email us at to claim your free tickets after setting up your regular donation.

More about the film

With both humour and outrage, Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story explores a taboo question: What is the price that America pays for its love of capitalism? Years ago, that love seemed so innocent. Today, however, the American dream is looking more like a nightmare as families pay the price with their jobs, their homes and their savings. Moore takes us into the homes of ordinary people whose lives have been turned upside down; and he goes looking for explanations in Washington, DC and elsewhere. What he finds are the all-too-familiar symptoms of a love affair gone astray: lies, abuse, betrayal…and 14,000 jobs being lost every day.

Capitalism: A Love Story is both a culmination of Moore’s previous works and a look into what a more hopeful future could look like. It is Michael Moore’s ultimate quest to answer the question he’s posed throughout his illustrious filmmaking career: Who are we and why do we behave the way that we do?  Read more about the film.

Commit to regularly donating to claim your 2 free tickets – donate now.

Terms and conditions
You must sign up to be a regular giver with Tipping Point Film Fund. Minimum monthly donation to qualify for the 2 free tickets is £10. Donations can either be made via paypal or standing order. When a donation is made by paypal Tipping Point Film Fund will contact you to arrange which cinema you want to go and see the film. When you set up to donate by Standing Order you need to email to tell us that you have arranged for a donation. We will then issue your tickets to the cinema of your choice when your first donation is made. This promotion does not apply to one off or annual donations.


A special evening with Tipping Point Film Fund


Come along and get more involved

You are invited to come along to find out how to get more involved with supporting Tipping Point Film Fund. During the evening we will be introducing the idea behind our 360° network.

Come along and meet up with a group of people who believe in the power of people and film to make change. The event will be held in central London but there will also be a chance for people all over the UK and around the world to take part online.

As part of the evening we will be hosting a special screening of one of the most highly acclaimed documentaries so far in 2009.  Want to find out which film we will be screening? Come along on the night and all will be revealed! – with thanks to dogwoof for allowing us to show this film.

When: Thursday 12th November
Where: St. Anne’s Soho, 55 Dean Street, Soho, London, W1D 6AF – map.
What time: 6.15pm for 6.30pm
Drinks and light snacks will be provided during the evening.

Not able to make it to London?

You can take part in the event over the web. Just RSVP and let us know that you will be joining us online on the night and we will send you instructions how to link up with us.

As Tipping Point Film Fund supporter Caroline from Edinburgh says:

I met the Tipping Point Film Fund team at Greenbelt Festival in the summer and then again at the Take One Action Film Festival in Edinburgh. I think what they are doing is really important. I can’t make it down to London for the event but I will be joining the evening virtually and am looking forward to getting more involved.

Please RSVP to by Monday 9th November to let us know if you can attend the event either in person or online.  RSVPs will be treated on a first come first served basis.

A quick reminder of who we are…

Tipping Point Film Fund is a new, non-profit organisation that aims to grow a fund drawn from donations from the wider general public in order to support outstanding social action feature documentaries – films which also have an integrated campaigns involved.  Our aim is to offer funding as well as campaigning support on each and every film. Tipping Point Film Fund is for people from all walks of life, all ages and all parts of the world – supporting challenging, truth telling films.

We hope that you can make it on the 12th!

Please RSVP to by Monday 9th November to let us know if you can attend the event either in person or online.  RSVPs will be treated on a first come first served basis.

All the best,

from Debs, Thea, Kev and all at Tipping Point Film Fund.
Giving. Watching. Campaigning.

‘I’m fully supportive of what Tipping Point Film Fund is doing. To use the medium of film to move and inspire people to get involved in important social justice issues is critical… we have an opportunity right now… we must make use of that opportunity and momentum and ensure our voices are heard.’
Danny Glover – actor, producer and campaigner.
‘Tipping Point is crucial to ensure more films like Black Gold continue to made and now is the perfect time for this fund to be launched.’
Nick Francis, Producer/Director – Black Gold.
‘Tipping Point Film Fund has just launched, with the explicit aim of getting cash to great filmmakers making social/political docs. Why didn’t they invent that five years ago, goddammit?’
Franny Armstrong, Director of The Age of Stupid
‘So to the really exciting news in doc land which is the launch of the Tipping Point Film Fund, a new UK initiative to crowd-fund documentaries with big ambitions to change things. It aims to unite ‘campaigning networks, independent film goers and online social networks, through a mix of regular giving, one-off donations and support from major donors’ and I hope so much that it takes off. I’m a massive advocate of ‘crowd-funding’ and this is a perfect opportunity to invite people who love documentaries to roll up their sleeves and help make it happen. So, go donate, OK?!’
Charlie Phillips, Sheffield Doc/Fest and Tipping Point Film Fund Regular Giver
Vanishing of the Bees

Vanishing of the Bees

If you could imagine your food cupboard / plate / picnic without the things that rely on bees to pollinate them…then you would have a sad half-empty cupboard/plate/ picnic…
We need bees that much.  and if you are an urbanised soul, then you may not quite realise that, without bees – those small little things that you pay no attention to – our food chain is in trouble….
Bees are in a critical state of emergency – which means we are too.  If we don’t get to the bottom of how and why this is happening and then take all the measures necessary to address it, we can kiss goodbye to the bee – and all that it does for us.
VANISHING OF THE BEES will make a vital contribution to raising awareness on all these issues.  Like the film, Tipping Point Film Fund – a newly launched organisation – is supported by The Co-operative. We are generating a new fund drawn from donations by the public to support mainstream, cinematic social action feature documentaries that tell us stories we need to know about and act upon.  We believe in the power of people and film to make change through ‘giving, watching, campaigning’.  See our short trailer at:
Deborah Burton, Tipping Point Film Fund

The Vanishing of the BeesBees are dying in their billions. In the UK alone one fifth of the honeybee hives were lost in the winter of 2008/09.  Bees pollinate a third of the food we eat, and this contributes £200million a year to the UK economy.  The Vanishing of the Bees is an eye opening account of the shocking truth behind the declining bee population.

If you could imagine your food cupboard / plate / picnic without the things that rely on bees to pollinate them…then you would have a sad half-empty cupboard/plate/ picnic…

We need bees that much.  and if you are an urbanised soul, then you may not quite realise that, without bees – those small little things that you pay no attention to – our food chain is in trouble….

Bees are in a critical state of emergency – which means we are too.  If we don’t get to the bottom of how and why this is happening and then take all the measures necessary to address it, we can kiss goodbye to the bee – and all that it does for us.

Vanishing of the Bees (UK Première on Thursday 1st October) will make a vital contribution to raising awareness on all these issues.  The film, like Tipping Point Film Fund is supported by The Co-operative. The film is another example of a powerful mainstream cinematic social action feature documentary that will tell us a story we need to know about and act upon.

The Vanishing of the Bees and Tipping Point Film Fund have alot in common – we both believe in the power of people and film to make change through – giving, watching, and campaigning.

Read more

I Will Tell International Film Festival

I Will Tell Film FestivalThe I Will Tell International Film Festival

As part of the I Will Tell International Film Festival Tipping Point Film Fund will be taking part in the Q&A session for Burma VJ screening.

If you are interested in coming along the screening is at 6pm on Friday 11th September at the Prince Charles Theatre in Leceister Square in London’s West End.  Book tickets and find out more information about this screening and the rest of the festival here.

Tipping Point Film Fund are delighted to be a part of this exciting festival, running from the 1st – 12th September 2009 at the Prince Charles Cinema, in Leicester Square. With award-winning films, post-screening discussions, director Q&As, workshops, comedy shows, matinee screenings, family day, short films, Hip Hop Gala and a closing gala party at a secret venue in Leicester Square, there’s plenty of inspiration for everyone. We will see you there!

Burma VJ: The Saffron Premiere

Burma VJ

Burma VJ: The Saffron Premiere

The Co-operative is bringing to life the film Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country, the award-winning story of the continuing fight for democracy in Burma. The film tracks the brave new breed of young ‘video journalists’ who, using hidden cameras, put their lives on the line to tell the real story of the 2007 Burmese uprisings and the subsequent repression by the ruling military regime.

On the evening of 14 July, The Co-operative is launching the movie with an exciting film event. Cinemas across the country will be linked live to the BAFTA in London to create the ‘Saffron Premiere’, so named after the distinctive orange robes of the Burmese monks. The evening will include a full film screening, as well as a one-off chance to join a live debate with the makers of the film.

The launch of Burma VJ marks 10 years of The Co-operative campaigning for democracy in Burma. This has included The Co-operative Bank’s decision to decline finance to any commercial organisation with a significant presence in Burma, and more recently The Co-operative Travel’s decision to delist the country as a tourist destination, as well as consistent awareness raising amongst our members and the general public.

Find out more: