Docu Screening: THE WANTED 18 by Amer Shomali and Paul Cowan

Still from "The Wanted 18"
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Post Tags: animation, intifada, israel, and palestine. Categories: Discussion and Screening.

Presented with Center for Palestine Studies and Columbia School of the Arts

THE WANTED 18 by Amer Shomali and Paul Cowan

Documentary | Canada, France, Palestine | 2014 | 75 min | Arabic, English and Hebrew with subtitles

See official trailer


Screening followed by a conversation with Amer Shomali, co-director, and Dr. James Schamus, Professor of Professional Practice at the Columbia School of the Arts.

Free and open to the public

Through a clever mix of stop motion animation and interviews, The Wanted 18 recreates an astonishing true story: the Israeli army’s pursuit of 18 cows, whose independent milk production on a Palestinian collective farm was declared “a threat to the national security of the state of Israel.” In response to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, a group of people from the town of Beit Sahour decide to buy 18 cows and to establish an independent dairy industry during the First Intifada. Their venture is so successful that the collective farm becomes a landmark, and the cows local celebrities – until the Israeli army takes note and declares that the farm is an illegal security threat. Consequently, the dairy is forced to go underground, the cows continuing to produce their “Intfida milk” with the Israeli army in relentless pursuit. Recreating the story of the “wanted 18″ from the perspectives of the Beit Sahour activists, Israeli military officialls and the cows, Palestinian artist Amer Shomali and veteran Canadian director Paul Cowan create an enchanting, inspirational tribute to the ingenuity and power of grassroots activism.

The Wanted 18 premiered at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. It was awarded Best Documentary at the 2014 Abu Dhabi Film Festival, the 2014 Carthage Film Festival in Tunis and the 2015 Traverse City Film Festival.


Amer Shomali uses fine art, digital media and technology as sociopolitical tools for change. After studying at the Van Art School in Canada, he completed an MFA in Animation at Bournemouth, United Kingdom. One of the founders of Zan Studios in Ramallah, Amer works as an animator and illustrator of children’s books, posters, and multimedia productions. His work has been exhibited in galleries across the Middle East and Europe.

Paul Cowan is an award-winning Canadian filmmaker who has spent the bulk of his career with the Film Board of Canada. His strength is creative documentaries that combine documentary techniques with evocative images and recreations. Cowan was nominated for an Academy Award for Documentary Feature for Going the Distance, a documentary about the 1978 Commonwealth Games. He directed the controversial docudrama The Kid Who Couldn’t Miss and served as cinematographer on the Oscar-winning Flamenco at 5:15. He is the winner of the Genie Award for his documentary Westray, on the Westray mining disaster.

Professor James Schamus is an award-winning screenwriter (The Ice Storm) and producer (Brokeback Mountain), and former CEO of Focus Features, the motion picture production, financing, and worldwide distribution company. He is the author of Carl Theodor Dreyer’s Gertrud: The Moving Word, published by the University of Washington Press and is currently working on another book, My Wife is a Terrorist: Lessons in Storytelling from the Department of Homeland Security, for Harvard University Press. He recently directed the short documentary That Film About Money and is making his feature directorial debut with his adaptation of Philip Roth’s Indignation. He earned his BA, MA and PhD. in English from the University of California, Berkeley.

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