Named Best Documentary from the Arab World at Abu Dhabi Film Festival, The Wanted 18 is the astonishing true story of how 18 cows were pursued by the Israeli army and became a symbol of the First Intifada.
It's 1987 and the first Palestinian popular movement in the West Bank is rising. Residents want local alternatives to Israeli goods, including milk. Pacifist intellectuals and professionals - not your typical dairy farmers - become 'lactivists,' buying 18 cows and smuggling them into the West Bank town of Beit Sahour, only to discover they don't even know how to milk them.
The cow's 'intifada milk' is worth the learning curve though: the farm becomes a landmark and the cows local celebrities, until the Israeli authorities take note and declare the venture "dangerous for the security of the state of Israel." The chase is on - a cat-and-mouse (or soldier-and-cow) game as the cows shuttle from barn to barn, pursued by the Israeli army.
Co-directed by Palestinian cartoonist Amer Shomali and veteran Canadian filmmaker Paul Cowan, The Wanted 18 is told from the perspectives of Palestinian activists, Israeli military officials, and talking claymation cows.
Filmed over five years, the innovative documentary was an official selection at Toronto Film Festival; selected as the Palestinian entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars; and won Best Documentary at the Carthage and Traverse City film festivals.
The Wanted 18 premieres on Al Jazeera English this Thursday, 17 March 2016 at 2000 GMT / 2200 CAT, with repeats on 18 and 22 March at 1200GMT / 1400 CAT, 19 and 23 March at 0100GMT / 0300 CAT, 20 and 24 March at 0600GMT / 0800 CAT, and 21 March at 2000GMT / 2200 CAT.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING:
"Funny and serious... One of the greatest films I've seen in the past ten years." Intishal Al Timini, Abu Dhabi Film Festival
"A highlight on cinema screens this year. Ingenious... An entertaining, educational and thought-provoking cinematic experience. Something as original and impactful as The Wanted 18 doesn't come along very often... Unmissable." Huffington Post
"Imaginatively interspersing testimonials with reenactments, comic panels and claymation, the film plays out like an entertaining absurdist satire." Los Angeles Times
"No one has made this type of documentary.... What you have done for documentary is good and I hope that you are recognised and honoured for it." Oscar-winning director Michael Moore
"Follows a worthy tradition of highlighting absurdities that arise during conflict ..." New York Times
"Mixes talking heads and smile-inducing claymation to highlight an absurdist footnote in the Israeli-Palestinian tragedy.... Ingenious... Highlighting the ridiculous without losing track of the seriousness of all acts of resistance, the film should open minds." Variety
"Beautiful and important and very strange." Village Voice