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Sarah Unruh ’12

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Next film in KIPCOR series looks at impact of ‘enforced boundaries’

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – When the second in a three-film series airs at Bethel College May 31, it may be the only large-screen U.S. showing in a new film series of the documentary Checkpoint.

The Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution at Bethel is part of San Francisco-based Art with Impact’s inaugural Underground Film Series. This first series features three films focused on issues related to Israel/Palestine. The first one was the documentary Blood Relations and the third, scheduled for September, is the feature film Amreeka.

The 80-minute documentary Checkpoint looks at the daily trials that beset a range of Palestinians, from school children to ambulance drivers and passengers, as they attempt to negotiate their way through checkpoints set up around their homes in Palestine, including Jenin, Ramallah, Nablus, Jerusalem and Hebron.

More than three million Palestinians live in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, under Israeli military authority since 1967. Israeli director Yoav Shamir documents the impact of the enforced boundaries, known as checkpoints, on both the Israeli border guards drafted to monitor them and the Palestinian citizens who must pass through them daily.

Shamir served his army reserve duty as a checkpoint guard, and the experience inspired him to make the film. Shot in a cinema verité style, which stresses unbiased realism, Checkpoint shows the anonymous, one-time encounters between both sides, the lasting political, social and cultural effects and the destructive impact on both societies.

Following its release in 2003, Checkpoint (original title Machssomin) won five awards at various film festivals, including Best International Documentary at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, Best Feature-length Documentary at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam and the Golden Gate Award for Documentary Feature at the San Francisco International Film Festival.

After Art with Impact had scheduled Checkpoint as its second film in the Underground Film Series, the producer in Israel decided not to allow distribution of the DVDs. However, Art with Impact was able to secure the Bethel showing.

Checkpoint shows Tuesday, May 31, at 7 p.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium in the Fine Arts Center. The screening, which is co-sponsored by Peace Connections of Newton, is free and open to the public, with a freewill offering taken to support the work of KIPCOR. The final film in the series, Amreeka, is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 15.

Jennifer Tipton and Cary McQueen Morrow founded Art with Impact with a mission “to connect people to global issues through art and media and provide them opportunities to share their voices and time in meaningful ways.”

In particular, Art with Impact strives to help students and community members join together and effect change, working through three programs, one of which is the Underground Film Series.

The next Underground Film Series will be on mental health. For more about the series, see www.artwithimpact.org/underground-film-series.

For more information about the showing of Checkpoint, contact KIPCOR at 316-284-5217.

Bethel College is the only private, liberal arts college in Kansas listed in the 2010-11 Forbes.com analysis of top colleges and universities in the United States and is in the first tier in its category in the U.S. News & World Report annual ranking of “America’s Top Colleges” for 2011. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see www.bethelks.edu.

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