Christianity Today Middle East Published Articles

Q+A with an Oscar Nominee: What’s So Funny about the West Bank?

Ave Maria Basil Khalil

This article was first published at Christianity Today, on Feb. 26.

The plot to Ave Maria is as improbable as it is provocative. A Jewish settler family crashes their car into a statue of the Virgin Mary at a Palestinian Carmelite monastery in the West Bank.

Bound by the onset of Sabbath, the Jews can do little to get home. Bound by a vow of silence, the nuns can do little to help. Bound by mutual distrust and annoyance, the odd couple pairing can do little but bicker. Fortunately, spellbound by the comedic touch of 34-year-old producer Basil Khalil, critics around the world can do little but laugh.

This 14-minute short already won top prizes at film festivals in Grenoble, Montpelier, and Dubai before securing a nomination for best live-action short film at this year’s 88th Academy Awards.

Ave Maria is Khalil’s second comedic venture into the deeply divisive and often somber portrayal of the Arab-Israeli conflict…

Please click here to read the full article at Christianity Today. Here’s a sample question, followed by the trailer:

You were raised by a Palestinian Christian father and a British mother, were you comfortable in both settings?

You don’t really choose where or how you’re born, so you just live with it and make the most of it. I do believe being of both worlds did give me a more critical perspective. I know how the West sees us, and I’m able to give them something fresh, yet at the same time I know our stories and culture from Palestine so I’m able to portray accurate stories from there.

3 replies on “Q+A with an Oscar Nominee: What’s So Funny about the West Bank?”

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