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The Wanted 18

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Jan. 19, 2015

Through stop-motion animation, drawings and interviews, directors Amer Shomali and Paul Cowan recreate an astonishing true story from the First Palestinian Intifada: the Israeli army’s pursuit of eighteen cows, whose independent milk production on a Palestinian collective farm was declared "a threat to the national security of the state of Israel."

PLEASE NOTE: The 5:30pm screening (Scotiabank 14) of The Wanted 18 on Friday, September 12 has moved to 5:00pm (Scotiabank 13).

Overshadowed by successive and bloodier conflicts, the First Palestinian Intifada (1987 – 1993) — the unarmed civilian insurgency that included protests, stone throwing, civil disobedience, and refusal to pay taxes to Israel — marked a political milestone by bringing an end to the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. A key point of the insurgents' strategy was the creation of an alternative economy in the towns and villages as a stepping stone for self-sufficiency and sovereignty. The Wanted 18 revisits this compelling chapter in Palestinian history through the true story of some of the most unlikely outlaws imaginable.

In the West Bank town of Beit Sahour (an epicentre for the insurgency), a group of townspeople — a schoolteacher, a pharmacist, a physician, etc. — decide to buy eighteen cows and produce their own milk as a co-operative. 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 cows pose "a threat to the national security of the state of Israel." Consequently, the dairy is forced to go underground, the cows continuing to produce their "Intifada milk" with the Israeli army in relentless pursuit.

Recreating the story of the "Wanted 18" from the perspectives of both the Beit Sahour activists and the cows, Palestinian artist Amer Shomali and veteran Canadian director Paul Cowan use stop-motion animation, drawings, and interviews to create an enchanting, inspirational tribute to the ingenuity and power of grassroots activism, illustrating the old adage that violence is a failure of the imagination.