SOURCE: ITVS

April 21, 2008 15:46 ET

Groundbreaking School in West Bank Unites Jewish and Arab Children

"Bridge Over the Wadi" to Premiere on Global Voices Series on PBS World Channel

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - April 21, 2008) - In 2004, a group of Palestinian and Israeli parents began an experiment in Israel's Wadi Valley: a school called Bridge Over the Wadi, which educates 50 Jewish children and 50 Arab children. The school's purpose is to create meaningful interaction amongst the town's Arab and Israeli residents, fostering dialogue and mutual understanding. Israeli-born documentary filmmakers and brothers, Tomer Heymann and Barak Heymann capture the events of the school's first year through the eyes of parents, teachers and children, providing an unforgettable lesson about the current history of the conflict. "BRIDGE OVER THE WADI" will have its U.S. premiere on Sunday, May 4, 2008, at 10 PM on Global Voices, a new series produced by ITVS International airing on the PBS WORLD digital channel (check local listings).

At the groundbreaking Bridge Over the Wadi primary school, all classes are bilingual with an equal number of Israeli and Palestinian teachers. All students are required to learn both Hebrew and Arabic; the school has both a Jewish principal and an Arab principal; and regardless of faith, all the children are invited to participate in all religious celebrations. Teachers stress mutual respect and arrange field trips to the mosque as well as to the Wailing Wall. The students happily learn one another's language, culture and history, and many began to form strong friendships. But three months into the school year, tension begins to build as the parents and even teachers have difficulty putting aside their deep-rooted cultural differences. "BRIDGE OVER THE WADI" reveals how fragile the attempt is to create an environment of co-existence against the backdrop of the complicated reality of the film's subjects. At the end, it's the children's cross-cultural friendships that forge the path toward political peacemaking despite the complex negotiations among and deep-rooted hostility of the adults.

About Global Voices

Global Voices is a new series produced by ITVS International to air on the PBS WORLD digital channel. The first original series to launch on PBS WORLD, the 26-week series will bring to a national audience internationally themed documentaries made by U.S.-based and international filmmakers. Global Voices will feature the U.S. premieres of five documentaries funded by ITVS International as well as encore broadcasts of other acclaimed ITVS programs. For more information about Global Voices, visit www.pbs.org/globalvoices.

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