Hilla Medalia is the director and writer of To Die in Jerusalem, which is now available on IZZY.
Hilla holds a Master’s in Cinema from Southern Illinois University and founded Medalia Productions, whose films have been commissioned by HBO, Arte, and BBC, and screened at Cannes, Tribeca, Berlinale, and Sundance.
She made her first feature film, To Die in Jerusalem, after seeing a cover of Newsweek magazine, which showed side-by-side pictures of Ayat al-Akhras, an 18-year-old Palestinian suicide bomber, and 17-year-old Rachel Levy, killed by the bomb that Ms. Akhras detonated at a Jerusalem supermarket in 2002.
“The two looked as if they could have been sisters and should have been living the lives of carefree teenagers, instead of becoming tragic symbols of the intractable Middle East conflict,” Elizabeth Jensen wrote in a 2007 New York Times article about the documentary.
The film follows the efforts to bring the two mothers of the dead girls, who lived less than four miles apart, for a face-to-face meeting that Ms. Levy’s mother believed would be cathartic, as well as a “symbol of hope, a chance to transcend entrenched hatreds.”
“I’m not trying to compare; all I’m trying to do is to give the stage to two mothers, to get a glimpse of their world,” Hilla told Jensen. “You actually feel in your heart the conflict.”