East Jerusalem West Jerusalem
“He did more for the Middle East peace process in eight days than Secretary of State John Kerry has done in two years. ” – Jordan Hoffman, Vanity Fair
“The film is hopeful, honest and unexpectedly powerful…” – Jessica Steinberg, Times of Israel
“At a time when Israel and Palestine seem as hopelessly divided as ever, the documentary shows how artistry can wrestle with heavy societal themes to inspire personal, soul-stirring music.” – Zack Sharf, IndieWire
“By focusing on the creation of Broza’s last album, a joyful collaboration between Palestinian and Israeli musicians produced by legendary singer/songwriter Steve Earle… Israeli filmmakers Erez Miller and Henrique Cymerman manage to inject a sense of optimism into a conflict that often seems desperate and without solution.” – Andrea R. Vaucher, The Wrap
In early 2013 Israeli singer-songwriter David Broza arrives in East Jerusalem for an unprecedented project. Broza has always believed in the power of music to transform political and social realities, working for almost 40 years to challenge people’s perceptions and beliefs, and connect adversaries through songs and lyrics.
Following his years-old dream to record songs in the Palestinian side of Jerusalem with musicians from Palestine and Israel, Broza begins in January 2013 an eight-day session in the studio of Sabreen, the legendary Palestinian band.
Broza recruits four-time Grammy Award-winner singer-songwriter and American activist Steve Earle, renowned Israeli Palestinian singer, actor and activist Mira Awad, Palestinian cinematographer Issa Freij, Palestinian hip hop artist from the Shuaafat refugee camp Muhammad Mughrabi, Israeli musicians Jean Paul Zimbris, Alon Nadel and Gadi Seri, as well as and other American, Israeli and Palestinian participants.
During the extensive sessions they enjoy special dinners that offer them opportunities to share their life stories and learn surprising truths about each other. The ever-curious Broza is eager to explore a part of the world which is very close to his home in Tel Aviv, yet so remote. As the two members of “G-Town” describe the realities of Shuafat refugee camp, where they live, Broza decides to visit the place in the dark of night.
Broza also tours the Old City of Jerusalem with a Palestinian friend, seeing it from a different perspective. Producer Steve Earle, who wrote in the 1990s a song called “Jerusalem” (recorded by Broza especially for this project), sees the city for the first time – the eight-day stay in Jerusalem offers him unexpected insights into the political and cultural complexities of the region.
While the harmonious experience at the studio is reflected in the recordings of both cover songs and original material, including “East Jerusalem / West Jerusalem”, written by Broza and Wyclef Jean, the situation in East Jerusalem is far from peaceful. The commitment of Broza and his fellow musicians to establish dialogue, however, is never doubted. The experience they share together offers an alternative story, one of seeking bridge building, living together, and finding common ground.