Newsletter of the Cinema Jenin e. V.

10 December 2016

Dear friends and supporters of Cinema Jenin,

Several newspapers have reported in recent weeks about the end of Cinema Jenin. Now, after months of negotiations, unfortunately, we have to acknowledge that Cinema Jenin is closing its doors forever.

The owners of Cinema Jenin have decided to sell the cinema to an investor who will build a shopping centre in its place.

Cinema Jenin came into serious financial difficulties for the first time in 2014. After five years of generous financial support, the Evangelical Church in Frankfurt had to turn to other projects. In order to draw attention to the CJ project again, last year we organized a benefit tour with the film CINEMA JENIN through Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Liechtenstein. Unfortunately, however, we were only able to acquire very small sums of money. At the same time, our 8-year contract expired and the owners announced a massive rent increase, much more than Cinema Jenin was able to pay. After all, the owners decided to sell the cinema.

Dr. Lamei, who took over management of the cinema after its opening in 2010, tried his best to save Cinema Jenin. He contacted the Ministry of Culture in Ramallah, he spoke to the Palestinian Authority and he met with the governor of Jenin. But unfortunately, efforts were in vain.

When I received the news from Dr. Lamei two months ago that the owners wanted to sell Cinema Jenin, we immediately contacted the German Foreign Ministry and asked for their help in this difficult situation. In the end, however, nobody wanted to be responsible for the cinema.

When I saw the first pictures of the stage of the cinema being pulled down, it was a very painful moment. So many people have invested so much passion, work, time and money to rebuild this deserted place, and now this beautiful cinema is being destroyed for a shopping mall.

Yes, many dreams were destroyed, including Dr. Lameis’ dream to bring the cinema, which his father once built, back to life. Nevertheless, the Cinema Jenin project was not in vain. So many friendships and relationships have arisen, friendships between people who would never have met otherwise. They will continue to exist.

Thank you – to all who have helped to create this unique cultural place.

Thanks to all persons, institutions and companies who have supported the cinema over the years.

And a big thank you to those who believed in this dream – even if it only lasted for such a short time…

The guest house will continue to exist for the time being. Much of the cinema equipment will go to the Freedom Theatre to be used in a smaller cinema. In this way, at least part of Cinema Jenin will continue to live on and remain associated with the memory of Juliano Mer Khamis and the Freedom Theatre – because the Freedom Theatre in the Jenin refugee camp is and remains a continuous and lively cultural meeting point in Jenin.

Marcus Vetter and the Cinema Jenin Team