Ibtisam Salh Mara'ana
Ibtisam Salh Mara'ana, a Palestinian Israeli citizen, was born in Paradise in 1975. She studied cinema the school of film and television at the Jewish-Arab academic center of Givat Haviva and has since directed a number of documentaries focused on the women of her native land. Mara’ana began her career directing a number of reports for the programs "Feminine Outlook" and "Arabeska," on Israel's Channel One, and assistant directing films with Simon Bitton, Ram Levi and Duki Dror. Her first film, Paradise Lost, is a documentary about Paradise, her hometown, a small fishing village. Other works by Mara’ana include Wake Up to the Native Land, a film about unrecognized Palestinian villages inside Israel which aired on Israel’s Channel Two and 3 Times Divorced, about a Palestinian woman’s abuse at the hand of her Arab-Israeli husband.
Mara’ana’s most recent film, Lady Kul el-Arab, tells the story of Duah Fares, the first Druze woman to participate in the Lady Kul el-Arab beauty pageant for Arab women. Guided by fashion designer Jack Yaakob, Duah even takes part in the more prestigious Miss Israel contest and works towards an appearance at the Miss Universe Pageant and an international career despite death threats from those in her strictly conservative Druze community. Lady Kul el-Arab was shown at the Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival and is set to show at the 2009 International Documentary Film Festival, Amsterdam. (08/09)