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A film by Stephanie Bürger and Jule Ott

The answer of an Israelian woman to “Heart of Jenin”


A film by Stephanie Bürger and Jule Ott

The answer of an Israelian woman to “Heart of Jenin”


“With overwhelming strength to a new beginning“

Süddeutsche Zeitung

“The story of an incredible encounter“

Spiegel Online

“Natural, touching and with a conciliatory message“


After the Silence

The answer of an Israelian woman to “Heart of Jenin”

Two young German fimmakers go to Palestine where, together with Manal, a Palestinian student from Jenin, they try to find out what really happened on March 31, 2002: Shadi Tobassi, a suicide bomber from Jenin, blew himself up in Haifa, killing 15 people. Among those killed was Dov Chernobroda, an Israeli architect, who for his entire life had tried to bring about a peaceful settlement between Israel and Palestine. Eight years later, his wife Yaël would like to visit the family of the suicide bomber in Jenin. Yaël often uses the word “terrorist” when she speaks of Shadi. And then – for the first time in her life – she is able to say his name: Shadi Tobassi: “Every person has a name,” she says. But she cannot imagine looking him straight in the eyes. Despite her turmoil of emotions she still wishes to visit Jenin in a peaceful attempt to break down the wall of silence. Her husband would have been the first to encourage her to do so.

Why does a young man leave the house in the morning, saying Good‐bye to his parents like on every other day? Saying he won’t be late coming home from work and only a few hours later detonates an explosive belt hidden under his shirt?

“Every person has a name. That’s why I no longer just call him “the terrorist”. I call him by his name: Shadi Tobassi.“

Yaël Armanet-Chernobroda

VOD & Trailer

Dedicated to Dov Chernobroda

Watch on VOD

Director´s Statement

by Jule Ott and Stefanie Bürger

“Why did he do it? “ People keep asking us this question over and over again, now, that we are back from Jenin. Now, after getting to know his family. Now, after asking his father, his brother the same question.

Why does a young man leave the house in the morning, saying Good-bye to his parents like on every other day? Saying he won’t be late coming home from work and only a few hours later detonates an explosive belt hidden under his shirt? Eight years after the attack we are trying to understand what seems unimaginable.
It is our first trip to the West Banks and Israel. Everything is new, everything is different. We only know about the conflict what is said on the news – Near East so far away. And suddenly we are right there. Two weeks after completing our studies, after graduation.

We are still students when our documentary film university lecturer Marcus Vetter asks us at the end of a class what we would like to do after graduation. It doesn’t even come to our minds then to mention making a documentary as first time film directors. One and a half years later and Marcus is our producer. We start the shoot with the vision that it will work out as long as you believe in the idea.

We are asking Zakaria Tobassi, the perpetrator’s father, if the family suspected something when we met him for the second time. Two young, female filmmakers, inexperienced – not only in terms of film making but also in regard to the Arabic culture. The father suggests friendly that we should be wearing headscarves if we wanted to go to heaven. We nod and ask about the Why, the time before and after the attack, if the father noticed any changes in his son. He didn’t notice anything is the reply of the religious man.

A few days later our Palestinian producer Fakhri Hamad takes us aside. He is aggravated: “Did you really ask him if he knew about it? Do you even understand what this might mean for the whole family? Which consequences this could have if the father had known something? These are the kind of questions that arouse distrust. After all, you could be from the Mossad. “

After that, we don’t shoot for a long time. We just can’t get close to the family. So we keep visiting them over and over again. Just because and without the camera. Quite often even without an interpreter. The whole thing is a slow process and luckily, we can take advantage of a rare luxury in the film making business: working without time pressure. Only because of this are we able to stay calm even in difficult situations, this allows us to improvise and adjust to the family and their own rhythm. Slowly, we are winning their trust and they ours. And then, finally, we are allowed again to bring the camera along. “How did you do that?” an Israeli asks us incredulously. “How did you get them to talk? “ We didn’t get them to talk. They decided to talk for themselves, because they trusted us.

When father Tobassi listens to his heart of hearts, he simply knows that these two women are not from the Israeli secret service. Maybe he believes us to be a little naive, but definitely not dangerous. When we look deep inside ourselves, we just know that he really didn’t know anything about his son’s plans. Some may believe us to be a little naive because of that.

At one point or another we stopped pondering this question. We don’t want having to explain why Shadi killed himself and 15 other people with him. The film is supposed to give an insight into the emotional world of the bereaved. We want to tell about what comes after, after death, after silence, after the shock. What happened to the relatives and what did the dead leave behind for them.

Dov, the Israeli architect and peace activist, who was fatally injured in the back of his head by a splinter, left an idea behind: There can be no peace as long as the enemies don’t talk with each other.

Eight years after the attack the widow Yael dares to visit Shadi’s family in Jenin. Trusting us probably helped in the matter. And the Tobassi family is brave enough to invite her into their living room in Jenin.

We want to tell the story about the cautious reapprochement of both sides.

“There won‘t be peace until the enemies start to talk.“

Dov Chernobroda

Cinema Tour

Outdoor Cinema Tour Germany 2011

Kino im Dach Dresden
06. Oct. 2011 – 1 week
Kinomathek Bonn27. Oct. 2011 – 1 week
Mössingen Lichtspiele27. Oct. 2011 – 1 week
Karslstorkino HeidelbergSo. 16. Oct. 2011 – 2 weeks
Hackesche Höfe  Berlin22. Sep. – 12. Oct. 2011
Eiszeit Kino  Berlin22. Sep – 12. Oct. 2011
Bielefeld Lichtwerk22. Sep – 12. Oct. 2011
Die Linse  Münster22. Sep – 12. October 2011
Brennessel Heidelberg 22. Sep – 12. Oct.  2011
Kino Museum Tübingen03. Oct. 2011 and more dates
Brennessel  Heidelberg15. Oct. 2011 – 1 week
Kino Überlingen22. Sep. – 12. Oct. 2011
Filmfest Osnabrück22. Sep. – 12. Oct. 2011
Neues Arena München22. Sep. 2011 – 3 weeks
KOKI Pforzheim12. Oct. – 16. Oct. 2011
Dokukino Naxxos Frankfurt22. Sep. – 29. Sep. 2011

Festivals & Awards


2011GermanyDoc.Fest Munich
2011GermanyFünf Seen Festival
2011GermanyStuttgarter Filmwinter
2011PolandFestival Camera Obscura
2011IsraelHaifa International Filmfestival
2011UAEDubai International Filmfestival
2011GermanyFilmfest Osnabrück
2011GermanyCinema For Peace
2012USAWorldfest Houston
2013USAPalm Beach Jewish Film Festival
2013AustraliaJewish Film Festival Brisbane


2011Horizonte-Film Award Fünf Seen Filmfestival
2011Grand Prix de Ryszard Kapuscinski
2011Cinema for Peace Award
Nominated for Best Documentary
2011Audience Award Doc.fest Munich
2012Gold Remi – International Houston Filmfestival


Three films tell stories of freedom and peace

The three films “Heart of Jenin”, “After the Silence” and “Cinema Jenin” wonderfully tell the complex history of Palestine using the example of the city of Jenin. There are three films of hope, but also of despair. But above all, these stories show that it is worth dreaming.

From October 29th, Dr. Lamei Assir (cinema director), Rawand Arqawi (artistic director) and Mohammad additionqi (game director) present the film trilogy in Germany for 3-4 weeks and are then available for questions and discussions.



Watch now on VoD

Press & Reviews

“We didn’t send him”

The film by Bürger and Ott is, of course, touching and has a conciliatory message.
taz.de 05/29/2012

Film review: After the silence

If an emotionalizing drama in the form of a documentary addresses the difficult issue of the Middle East conflict, it is clear that it will not only meet with mutual love.
Filmstart 11/22/2011

Women fight for peace

The film tells the story of Israeli Yael Armanet-Chernobroda, who lost her husband Dov to a suicide bomb and traveled to Palestine to meet the assassin’s family and seek reconciliation.
Südkurier 09/27/2011

Interview with producer Marcus Vetter

After the Silence ”shows impressively that reconciliation can make living together in the Middle East possible.
Text zum Film 09/01/2011 by José Garciá

“It was like closing a book”

With a superhuman strength to a new start: An Israeli widow meets the parents of the Palestinian suicide bomber who killed her husband.
Süddeutsche Zeitung, 11/21/2011 by Karin Steinberger

Family meet in enemy territory

The documentary tells the story of an incredible encounter.
Spiegel Online 09/28/2011 by Lisa Goldmann

Courage to dream

And now the film has started its life without us,” she says, smiling.
Süddeutsche Zeitung 09/21/2011

Hand in hand

Death, grief and an emotional encounter.
Kulturzeit 09/22/2011

“After a while it was written on the news flash that Shadi Tobassi committed the bombing. I couldn‘t accept it. Is it really my brother who did this operation? Then I took my mobile and gave him a call. The line was dead.“

Said Tobassi


Impressions from the film


A Co-production with NDR and SWR

Jule Ott, Stefanie Bürger (Directors), Manal Abdallah (Co-Director), Mareike Müller (Camera), Aljoscha Haubt (Sound)

Year of production2011
Lenght81 Minuten
FormatHD/35 mm
In Co-production withNDR, WDR
DirectorsJule Ott, Stephanie Bürger
Co-DirectorManal Abdallah
Director of PhotographyMareike Müller
SoundAljoscha Haupt
Sound MixAljoscha Haupt
Rebekha Singh
ProducersMarcus Vetter, Fakhri Hamad
Commissioning editorsBarbara Biemann (NDR)
Christiana Hinz (WDR)
DistributionBukera Pictures
World salesTelepool

Behind the scenes

in Palestine

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