Israel, Germany


Ziad, a Palestinian day laborer, is denied entry into Israel for work that day. The East Jerusalem border guards offer no explanation. Not wanting to return home empty handed after promising his daughter meat for dinner, he needs to get creative. The journey back is long, and what he encounters in the dry mountains challenges his dignity.

Director's Statement

A laborer once told me what happened to him one day. He lives in a village near Bethlehem, it takes him an hour and a half to get to the checkpoint each day. So, he leaves home when it's dark and walks endlessly towards the rigid landscape. After waiting in line another hour at the checkpoint, a female soldier refused to let him in even though he had a permit. On his way back, he doesn't want to confess to his wife that he didn't manage to go to work so he stopped on the way and slept underneath a tree. While sleeping, he had a dream that he slaughtered a dog so he can bring meat to his family, and when he woke up he found a dog sitting close to him …
This was my inspiration for this short film, it is a tragedy that reveals the everyday dilemma of degradation and the question of how to keep one’s own dignity.
The film was shot on 35mm film stock in the areas where these laborers really live. It is an arid landscape of mountains near East Jerusalem. It's all deserts, no life, and this captures and reflects the harsh existence of the Palestinian laborers.

Director's Biography

Shady Srour is an actor, scriptwriter, director and producer for cinema, theatre and TV, and a lecturer at the Open University.
He has a BA from Tel-Aviv University in Theatre Acting and an MFA in Filmmaking from the Academy of Art University, San Francisco.
Lately Shady was involved in the film 24 HHOURS JERUSALEM (arte), which won the German TV Award for Best Documentary 2014. He was the lead in the Oscar-nominated short film AVE MARIA. HOLY AIR was his feature debut as director.

2019 - OSLO, short
2017 - HOLY AIR
2014 - 24 HOURS JERUSALEM, doc.
2011 - WATAN A WATAR, comedy tv series
2010 - FILMS FROM REAL LIFE, 10 shorts
2009 - AMWASH, comedy series (10 Episodes)
2007 - EITHER ME OR HAIFA, short
2005 - SENSE OF NEED, Academy of Art, thesis project

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Shady Srour

Written by: Shady Srour

Produced by: Florian Schewe, Shady Srour

Cinematography: Daniel Miller

Editing: Naaman Bishara

Production Design: Bashar Hassuneh

Costume Design: Naim Qasim

Make-Up & Hair: Angham Khalil, Hala Qasim

Original Score: Habib Shedeh Hanna

Sound: Ibrahim Zaher

Cast: Alber Mir'eb (Ziad), Sallie Srour (daughter), Eyad Shiti (doctor), Hala Daw (female soldier)

Nominations and Awards

  • Short Film Candidates 2019