LESSONS IN FEAR (2005)

Does the solution to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians rest in the classroom rather than in the angry, fearful streets of the region? Can better answers be found in schools rather than political conferences? Lessons in Fear explores Israeli and Palestinian education from the ground up.

In a media world obsessed with conflict, Lessons in Fear takes a humanized, behind-the-scenes look at how ordinary kids are educated in one of the world’s trouble spots.

The film looks carefully at the lives of students and teachers, who find themselves on the front lines intellectually and physically. Their battleground is one of knowledge and self-examination. Their challenges are a deeply engrained culture of violence, the denial of history and legacies of hatred, propaganda and segregation.

Lessons in Fear is not a litany of wrongs. The film is a character driven portrait of courage in action as it presents an unvarnished look at the struggle to make education a positive force in Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

"An absolutely compelling and fresh approach to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Lessons in Fear takes to heart the idea that children are the future and what they learn in school will determine how that future will look. The simple act of introducing a young Israeli to her FIRST young Palestinian is in itself revolutionary. Powerful stuff." 

Josey Vogels, writer and broadcaster

"Set in Israel and the West Bank, Lessons in Fear probes the other kinds of 'occupation.' Not just territorial, but the occupation of the soul that comes from living with the daily fact of terror."
Geoff Pevere, Toronto Star and Rogers Television's Reel to Real

"Cullingham's best documentary to date. Each of his films has been rich in cultural, historical, and political facts and ideas. Lessons in Fear is certainly as intellectually stimulating and aesthetically cohesive as any, however, this film breaks new ground in terms of resonating on a deep emotional level."
Donald Hart, Human Services Counsellor

Produced in association with Seneca College
Director/producer/writer: James Cullingham
Co-producer/editor: Igal Hecht
Associate producer/production manager: Monica Szenteszky
Special Thanks: Jed DeCory, The School of Communication Arts, Seneca College
Camera: Samer Shalabi & Elad Winkler
Composer: Barak Ben-Nathan
Supervising editor: Caroline Christie
Sound recordists: Samer Shalabi; Elad Winkler; Igal Hecht

Produced with the participation of Télé-Québec and ichannel
Produced with the support of the Government of Canada through The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
Developed with the assistance of Telefilm Canada and VisionTV
International Television Distribution: Filmoption International 

For international television and non-commercial sales: Filmoption International
For American educational bookings: Cinema Guild
For theatrical and educational bookings: Tamarack Productions