Anne Frank movie shot in Gaza clandestinely shown in Iran

Movie featuring Israeli and Palestinian girls reading excerpts from Frank’s diary aims to introduce her story to Middle East

A film featuring Palestinian and Israeli girls reading excerpts from “The Diary of Anne Frank” that was partly shot in Gaza during the 2014 war has been shown in Iran, although details of the event are being kept quiet to avoid possible backlash from authorities in Tehran.

“Anne Frank: Then and Now” shows 10 girls — two Israeli and eight Palestinian — reading lines from the journal penned by the young Dutch Jewess while she was in hiding during World War II.

Narrated in Arabic, with English subtitles, the film by Croatian director Jakov Sedlar was made to introduce Frank’s story to the Arab world and the Middle East, where the Holocaust is denied by many, including Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The clandestine screening of the film in Iran was followed by a lengthy talk from Sedlar, who urged the audience to find out more about the Holocaust, the Deadline Hollywood website reported Wednesday.

Sedlar praised the person — not identified in the report — who arranged the showing.

Anne Frank, age twelve, at her school desk in Amsterdam, 1941.
Anne Frank, at age 12, at her school desk in Amsterdam, 1941

“For this guy who organized the screening, it was not an easy and simple thing,” Sedlar said. “Basically, it was an illegal screening.”

The film uses various images of Gaza as a backdrop, including piles of rubble, apparently from Israeli airstrikes. Other parts of the film were shot in Jaffa and Jerusalem.

“We spoke a lot about the influence of art in today’s world,” Sedlar said. “At the end, one of students told me: “Thanks for teaching us about something new.””

The location of the Iranian viewing and the organizer were not reported to protect him and those who attended from punishment by authorities.

“After the screening, the director of this place and two students invited me for coffee,” Sedlar recalled. “They told me, “We are happy to have better relations with the USA; we like everything that comes from there.” I didn’t take picture of them because of security reasons for them.”

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