Sundance Film Festival award for Son of Hamas documentary

The Green Prince, a feature-length documentary based on the international best seller Son of Hamas, by Mosab Hassan Yousef, with Ron Brackin, received the prestigious Audience Award for World Cinema: Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah on Sunday.

Produced and directed by Nadav Schirman, and narrated by Mosab Hassan Yousef and Gonen Ben-Itzhak, the film tells the extraordinary true story of the eldest son of one of the founders of Hamas who, in addition to converting from Islam to Christianity, worked for a decade as a double agent for the Shin Bet, the Israeli secret police.

Schirman's previous films include The Champagne Spy, winner of the Israeli Academy Award for best documentary film.

"Perhaps the most difficult thing about watching the new documentary," said the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, "is feeling that you should not be there, that everyone in the theater should be asked to leave before any more Israeli intelligence secrets are divulged."

In an exclusive interview, Ron Brackin, who wrote Son of Hamas and is a regular contributor to the ASSIST News Service, said there is an even bigger story that has not yet found its way to the screen.

"People love the book because people like to believe that people like Jason Bourne really exist," Brackin said. "We were also able to take a very complex subject and make it a little more understandable.

"But to me, the spy stuff was window dressing. A lot more important than locking up (or blowing up) the bad guys is the amazing relationship between Mosab and Gonen. That's what needs to be captured on film. It's a powerful truth that says Palestinians and Israelis can live at peace with one another. It says the so-called 'Palestinian problem' is never going to be resolved by politicians sitting around a table or by walls, military incursions, blockades, or sanctions.

"As I recall, it was a Jew who gave the world the solution a couple thousand years ago-for Israel and Palestine, Sudan, Bosnia, Rwanda, Armenia, Iraq, Syria, Korea, for every tribe and every family. He said, 'Love your enemies.' Peace doesn't result from diplomacy or strength. It results from the courage to forgive and the resolve to see one another as people. That's the secret Mosab and Gonen discovered. And their love and respect for one another and commitment to one another are living proof that it works where everything else has failed."

The Green Prince has secured distribution contracts for the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. Josh Braun of Submarine is representing sales in North America.

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