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.
http://theelders.org/article/pictures-bethlehem-under-threat

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.

PALESTINIAN INHIBITION IN THE WALLED CITY OF BETHLEHEM

‘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.’

http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/palestinian-inhibition-in-the-walled-city-of-bethlehem-1.435911

PALESTINE’S BID FOR UN RECOGNITION

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
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kf1z4oHygPo

And for US faith group audiences,  here are some syndicated radio reports about The Holy Land
http://en.lpj.org/holy-land-report/radio-spots/

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 http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/897171788.html

The Power of Us


Developed by TPFF with support from The co-operative

The Power of Us, a new film about co-operation, is fully developed and seeking production funding.

Co-operation is in our DNA – from the personal to the political, from the social to the economic. The fruits of this human endeavour  is all around us to see – and not least in the global economy where co-ops have a turnover of $1.1 trillion, represent 800m members securing the livelihoods of 3bn people. (UK Co-operative Economy, Co-ops UK 2011)

Picking up the baton of the UN Year of Co-operation, The Power of Us will be a film to shine a very bright spotlight on a global movement that has its roots in the UK and will initiate an urgent and timely global conversation about the power and possibility of cooperation.

The story

There is a quiet revolution taking place across the world, right here, right now. Sometimes it’s hidden and often it’s missed by the global media. But it’s there – a low-level rumbling, motivated by the financial crisis, bolstered by the Arab Spring and global protest movements; and fueled by a general sense that something has to change.

The Financial Crisis exposed many things. One was that our economic model is fragile. Another is that the way the majority of people choose to live is not the only way. When the global economy went into free-fall, people started to look around and ask – can we stop it happening again? Is there an alternative? But in fact, there were people are already out there, living the alternative. These groups of individuals were more than surviving the crash, they were often immune from it. And these people who have chosen a different model are not just in Wales or California: they are all over the world. These are the stories at the heart of this film.

The film will show that beyond the brutal individualism of our world today lies a thrilling – and viable – future alternative. An alternative that has already been put into practice across the world for more than 150 years and has been flourishing in recent times. It evokes a future, which could bring about a radical shift in human values and happiness. A future which could result in a more stable economic model, more benign business processes, smarter technology, more meaningful government, leveled inequality, reduced crime. A future whose potential is infinite.

Propelling the visibility of the co-operative movement ~ where-ever it is ~ to the forefront of global public attention

It’s safe to say that  the co-op movement as a whole – its principles, reach and success – is far from being as prominent or as widely appreciated as it deserves to be. The Power of Us intends to build on the success of the UN Year of Co-operation by delivering a film of quality and impact that will reach audiences, media and decision-makers around the world in order to raise the level of awareness and debate about co-operation. In other words,  the power of ‘us’….

Our ambitions for the film

  • have a tagible, positive, economic impact on the co-op economy
  • draw a whole new generation to the co-operative vision and movement
  • empower existing co-ops to use the film as a way to take their message to new members.

And you can help us achieve this!

Crowdfunding campaign

Reflecting the film’s international content, we will be launching a major global crowd-funding campaign for The Power of Us.

In readiness for this, we’re putting the word out and developing our co-op partnerships around the world as we invite the international co-op movement – from the smallest to the largest co-operatives– to be involved in this fundraising campaign.

The Power of Us can take up the baton of the UN Year of Co-operation, and play an important  role for the movement in the coming decade.

Background on the co-operative movement

Proof - Co-ops do it better

Values and principles that underpin much of what we cherish in our day to day human relationships also are embedded in the ethos of co-operation and the co-operative movement. Values that are being re-discovered as essential to a fully rounded (global) society.

Such values and principles have been central to the co-operative movement  for more that 165 years – and then as now, it was forward-looking and standard setting.

A century before the application of ethical labour standards were main-streamed into the consumer conscience of today, the co-operative wholesale (CWS) movement had adopted a ‘no sweat’ principle to the production of its garments. (See image – from Wheatsheaf Magazine 1899. Thanks to the National Co-operative Archive).

This is a truly global movement founded on the principles first laid down by the Rochdale Pioneers in 1844. Today, the International Co-operative Alliance (founded in 1895) has 222 member organisations from 85 countries active in all sectors of the global economy. Together these co-operatives represent more than 800 million individuals worldwide.

For More Information:-

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 info@tippingpointfilmfund.com 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 info@tippingpointfilmfund.com 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.

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Fairtrade Fortnight Film Screenings

Fairtrade Fortnight Film Screenings


To celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight Tipping Point Film Fund have teamed up with Lewisham Council to present a series of film and discussion events to raise awareness and explore the issues behind fairtrade. The screenings will all take place in libraries across the borough of Lewisham.

Film Programme

Life and Debt

– Lewisham Library, 5.45pm on Monday 1 March

– Forest Hill Library, 5.30pm on Thursday 4 March

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Black Gold

– Downham Library, 7.30pm on Monday 1 March

– Manor House Library, 2.30pm on Saturday 6 March

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The Luckiest Nut in the World – aimed at children and families

– Downham Library, 3.30pm on Tuesday 2 March

– Forest Hill Library, 12noon on Saturday 6 March

– Manor House Library, 1pm on Sunday 7 March

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More about the films…

Life and Debt

Life and Debt is a documentary looking at the effects of globalisation on Jamaican industry and agriculture. The movie makes you think and question the motives of rich and powerful organisations.

If you care at least a little bit about what’s happening in the world, you should definitely take the time to see this movie. It talks about the negative effects of globalisation in developing countries. Perfect example of “the rich are getting richer because the poor are getting poorer.”

It shows the social implications of IMF policies and the human tragedy, Economic strangling of developing countries, total dominance over them financially, abuse of power, leaving no other choice but to agree to the terrible terms of big organizations. Many ordinary workers speak up.

It is a great movie!  Catch it at Lewisham Library at 5.45pm on Monday 1 March or Forest Hill Library, 5.30pm on Thursday 4 March.

Black Gold

As westerners revel in designer lattes and cappuccinos, impoverished Ethiopian coffee growers suffer the bitter taste of injustice. In this eye-opening expose of the multi-billion dollar industry, Black Gold traces one man’s fight for a fair price.

Multinational coffee companies now rule our shopping malls and supermarkets and dominate the industry worth over $80 billion, making coffee the most valuable trading commodity in the world after oil.

But while we continue to pay for our lattes and cappuccinos, the price paid to coffee farmers remains so low that many have been forced to abandon their coffee fields.

Nowhere is this paradox more evident than in Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee. Tadesse Meskela is one man on a mission to save his 74,000 struggling coffee farmers from bankruptcy. As his farmers strive to harvest some of the highest quality coffee beans on the international market, Tadesse travels the world in an attempt to find buyers willing to pay a fair price.

Catch the film at Downham Library, 7.30pm on Monday 1 March and at Manor House Library, 2.30pm on Saturday 6 March.

Luckiest Nut in the World

The film follows an animated American peanut, who sings about the difficulties faced by nuts from developing countries.

The singing peanut presents a mixture of animation, music and archive which sweeps the viewer through the stories of the cashew, brazil and ground nuts – all of whom suffer as world trade is liberalized. But it is a different story in America – where the peanut is protected by tariffs and heavily subsidized, and worth over four billion dollars a year to the American economy. Certainly the luckiest nut in the world.

The film helps people to see how the pressure to embrace free market’ economics, with it’s promise of a wealthy, abundant market place has actually driven many countries further into poverty.

The Guardian’s take on the director Emily James:
Emily James is a genius, and will, in time, be revered as a TV innovator, dead clever and a woman who really knows her nuts.”

Catch the film at the following times and places:

  • Downham Library, 3.30pm on Tuesday 2 March
  • Forest Hill Library, 12noon on Saturday 6 March
  • Manor House Library, 1pm on Sunday 7 March

Find out more about other events taking place in Fairtrade Fortnight across Lewisham.

The Road to Bethlehem receives more funding

Development and PeaceWe are delighted that Canadian development agency Development and Peace/Caritas Canada has shown it’s support with a grant of $20,000 Canadian towards the finishing fund for The Road to Bethlehem.

We are looking forward to working with them, and other agencies, on the outreach campaign for the film, including its partner organisation Trócaire, who has already pledged its support to the film.

The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace is a democratic movement for international solidarity, supporting partners in the Global South in the pursuit of alternatives to unjust social, political and economic structures. It educates the Canadian population about the causes of impoverishment of peoples; mobilizes actions for change; and in the struggle for human dignity, Development and Peace associates with social change groups in the North and South.

Development & PeaceAs an organisation working to improve the lives of all human communities in a lasting way, in the Palestinian Territories Development and Peace assists Caritas Jerusalem in relieving people’s hardship and the Society of Saint Yves in defending the human rights of those most in need of help.

  • To find out more about the film and how it’s developing read on here.
  • Donate to help Tipping Point Film Fund gather together the final money to make this film a reality.
First Major Donor Secured

First Major Donor Secured

First Major DonorFirst Major Donor Secured.

We at Tipping Point Film Fund are delighted to have secured our first major donor.

It is a £20,000 donation from an individual, who has decided to support an organisation

‘with a strong vision and sense of direction, lots of positive energy and deep commitment to the power of films to change our world – all of which I endorse. I hope this donation will encourage other donors – large and small – to back what I think is a very exciting – and timely – initiative.’
– First Tipping Point Film Fund Major Donor.

On behalf of all of us at Tipping Point Film Fund, we want to offer our deep thanks for this significant donation.

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