On Nov. 5th, 2005, 12-year-old Ahmed Chatib was shot by Israeli soldiers in the Jenin refugee camp. Two days later, Ahmed was pronounced dead, and in a remarkable gesture for peace, his family decided to donate his organs to save the lives of Israeli children. One and a half years after his decision, Ismael travels through Israel to meet the children he has helped and their families. It is a journey through a territory marked by prejudice. Today, four children from different corners of Israel's diverse society, are alive thanks to the courageous act of the Chatib family, an act that shows us that one human gesture of peace is stronger that a thousand bullets.

"The Heart of Jenin” is open heart surgery on the afflicted hearts of those involved in the general conflict. The delicate balance between heartrending sadness and black despair is deeply moving, yet the story reveals a beacon of hope in an otherwise apparently hopeless time."
(Kino Kino)

"A powerful documentary on Israel's people, who have learned to live with everyday conflict, but have not given up their hope for peace."
(American Film Market)

THE HEART OF JENIN tells the story of a unique gesture of peace.

The Khatib family lives in the West Bank, in a refugee camp called Jenin. A year ago the Palestinian Ismael Khatib lost his 12-year-old son Ahmed. Ahmed was shot by an Israeli soldier while he was playing “Arabs and Jews” with two friends. The soldier took his toy gun for a real weapon and killed him. Despite his grief, Ismael decided within hours to donate his son's organs to save the lives of four Israeli children.

A year has passed since then. Ismael travels from Jenin to the northern hills on the Lebanese border, passing through the Holy City of Jerusalem, down to the edge of the Negev Desert in the south to visit the children who received his son's organs. The film is a journey throughout today's Israel which not only leads to the recipient families, but also attempts to reconstruct the events that took place in Jenin in 2005.

THE HEART OF JENIN leads us to Israel, to the occupied territories and to people who have learned to live with the every day conflict and violence and who still haven’t given up their hope of peace.

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2008  Jerusalem Film Festival
2008 61st Locarno International Film Festival
2008 Toronto International Film Festival
2008 Hamptons International Film Festival

51st DOK Film Festival Leipzig

2008 Valladolid International Film Festival
2008 6th Warsaw Jewish Film Festival
2008 Dubai International Film Festival
2009 Doc Point Helsinki Documentary Film Festival
2009 Cinema for Peace
2009 Amnesty Intern. Movies that Matter Festival
2009 Yamagata IDFF
2009 Refugee Filmfestival Tokio
2009 Korean IDF


2010 German Film-Award - LOLA
2009 Valladolid International Film Festival
Section "Time of History" 1st Price 
2009 International Filmfestival Leipzig
DEFA Award "Best Documentary"
2008  Dubai International Filmfestival
Audience Award / Peoples Choice Award
2009 Cinema for Peace Award
for the "Most Valuable Documentary of the Year"

Movies that matter Amnesty International Audiance Award

Marcus Vetter (left) was born in 1967 and studied Economics and Media Theory & Practice. Since 1994, he has been working as a TV editor, producer and director. He has directed numerous documentaries which were screened at international festivals and won three Adolf-Grimme-Awards. His films include: THE TUNNEL (1999), WAR GAMES (2002), THE UNBREAKABLES (2006), MY FATHER THE TURK (2006), HEART OF JENIN (2008), HUNGER (2009), and CINEMA JENIN (2012).Leon Geller (right) focuses all of his films on social issues. His work includes TV productions as well as features, including the award-winning films HEAVY TWENTY, SHEVET VOICE, and ROADS, which was also nominated for an Academy Award in the student's short section during the Tribeca Film Festival in New York 2008.

EIKON in Co-Production with South-West Radio (SWR)

Year of production BRD/Israel 2008
Lenght 89 minutes
Format HD/35 mm/DCP
A production of EIKON Süddwest
In co-production with Filmperspektive GmbH


Director Marcus Vetter, Leon Geller
Editor Saskia Metten
Director of photography Nadav Hekselmann
Producers Ernst Ludwig Ganzert, Ulli Pfau
Line producers Kristin Holst, Yariv Mozer
Commissioning editors Gudrun Hanke El Ghomri (SWR) Martina Zöllner (SWR)
Supported by MFG Baden-Württemberg
Distribution Arsenal Film
World Sales Telepool

‘Heart of Jenin’ Good for Palestinian Hearts
Global News Network, Aug 8, 2010

In "Hert of Jenin" injustice finds bromides
Mondoweiss, Jul 19, 2009

Heart of Jenin - Stranger than Fiction
STFDOCS, Jun 15, 2009

Documentary: "The Heart of Jenin"
Quantara.de, 29. April 2009

Kindness as vengeance in “Heart of Jenin”
Electronic Infada, Apr 23, 2009


"Heart" beats for Palestine
Variety, Feb 12, 2009

Review: ‘The Heart of Jenin’
Variety, Aug 25, 2008

Hope And Pain In Film About Palestinian Organ Donor

New York Times, Jul 14, 2008

Review: Heart of Jenin
haarez.com, Jul 11, 2008

Das Herz von Jenin
Focus, 10.07.2013

Das Exempel
Die Zeit, 7.5.2009

Gutmensch wider Willen
Spiegel Online, 7.5.2009

Das Feinbild der Anderen
TAZ, 7.5.2009

Famileinbild mit Grenzen
TAZ, 7.5.2009

Kinder sind keine Feinde

Qantara, 28.04.2009

Das Herz von Jenin
AVIVA-BERLIN.de, 15.04.2009

"The Heart of Jenin" – Cinema for Peace 2009

Preis für den Besten Dokumentarfilm
INTERFILM, 16.02.2009

Cinema for Peace Award für 2 SWR-Koproduktionen
SWR Presseservice, 10.02.2009

Cinema for Peace Award "Heart of Jenin"

Most Valuable Documentary of the Year

Baden-Württemberg International, Februar 09, 2009

Filmkritik: Das Herz von Jenin
Kino.de , 2009

Authentisch und verstörend

n-tv, 1207.2008

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