Israeli veterans who served in Gaza, Lebanon, and the West Bank, Palestinian fighters who grew up under occupation, trained in Jordan, fought and were imprisoned, courageously face their enemies alone and unarmed. With help from Bruce Barrett, film director/producer and the owner of an American billboard company, the Combatants For Peace bring children from both sides, to hand paint a giant "peace mural" in the West Bank. Calling them "true heroes," Barrett guides us through the conflict as experienced by the fighters, weaving facts, images, and personal reflections with the engaging visual talisman of a hundred children and peace warriors from opposite sides hand painting their message of peace and justice for all. The 48-foot billboard returns to the United States to visit a mosque, a synagogue, and a church, before being displayed on a busy American highway.
On Memorial Day Week End of 2007, I Wage Peace founder and Connecticut native Bruce Barrett, with artist Russell Rainbolt joined 100 Israeli and Palestinian children and former Israeli soldiers and former Palestinian armed resisters to hand paint a giant 48-foot long Peace mural in the occupied West Bank. Their journey with the hand painted sign is documented in this award winning film "The Billboard From Bethlehem" featuring the Combatants for Peace which has screened internationally and received four film festival awards.
The Combatants are gripping in their honesty, love for country, and courage under fire. In the words of Rabbi Herbert Brockman, The Billboard From Bethlehem is "a monumental work, not because it was conceived that way, not because it is large; but in its hope that peace is possible, and that we must do everything in our power to promote an end to the violence that violates the idea that all people are made in Gods' image.
"Through this billboard we wish to send a message of hope to Americans and...invite them to be more active in our struggle for peace."
...Avner Wishnitzer, Israeli member of Combatants for Peace
"A must see...The Billboard From Bethlehem is the story of a real battle, launched by the combatants, who, knowing the price of war, have opted for peace instead."
...Dr. Anat Biletzki, Chairperson of the Board, B'Tselem, 2001-2006
"By bringing together Palestinians and Israelis, Barrett provides an opportunity to break down stereotypes and to foster human community across borders and across cultures. The story of The Billboard from Bethlehem is worth seeing."
... Dr. Peter E. Makari, Executive Director, Global Ministries of the United Church of Christ and Christian Church
"I watched this [film] shedding tears both of sadness and of hope... it captures the human spirit to rise above tragedy."
...Rabbi Herbert Brockman, Ph.D., D.D. Congregation Mishkan Israel, Hamden CT
Wine Country Film Festival
Napa Sonoma , CA
for Peace and Cultural Understanding"
ReelHeART Film Festival
"Best Documentary Film"
Bushwick Film Festival
"The Humanitarian Award"
The Indie Gathering Cleveland, Ohio
"Documentary Star Award"