Dahna Abu Rahme, an Abu Dhabi-raised Palestinian filmmaker, is screening her feature-length documentary Li Waqt Ash? (Until When?) in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

It will be the first time the film has been shown in the region. Li Waqt Ash? is set during the current Intifada and follows four Palestinian families living in a refugee camp near Bethlehem.

They include a single woman who has a uniquely Palestinian commute to work and is held up by checkpoints and road closures; and a boy raising his brothers while his mother works as a cleaning lady.

Dahna, 32, a Palestinian refugee, was raised in Abu Dhabi before moving to Jordan and then to the United States, where she is now based. She said her years in Abu Dhabi played a role in "forming character".

"When I went to school, there were lots of people from different countries, there were class and race differences." The filmmaker said she developed a stron-ger understanding of inequality and discrimination.

"It formed a part of who I am. As somebody who has been raised with certain privileges, you also have certain responsibilities."

The idea for the film was "collective".

"In 2001, there was a lot of activism on the Palestinian refugee right of return. People were becoming more interested," she said.

A decision was made to focus on the four families in the Dheisheh refugee camp near Bethlehem after a workshop there in 2001.

"When we looked at the footage, we were captivated by the stories." The families involved were "very receptive" to being filmed.

"They feel like their voices aren't being heard. They want to have that access, to reach out, for people to hear their stories," she said.

UAE residents will be the first in the region to see the documentary. Dahna said a lack of venues to host "more independent" work meant some Arab audiences would miss out on seeing alternative films.

Work on the film began in 2001 and ended in mid-2004. It cost about $40,000.

It has been screened at film festivals in France, Canada, India, South Africa and Slovenia.

Where to view the movie

  • Abu Dhabi: 7pm tomorrow, Cultural Foundation auditorium on the second floor. Entrance fee is Dh50. For more information call Rula Khatib 02-681-1211
  • Event hosted by Sanabel, all proceeds to the Abu Dhabi Red Crescent Society, to be given to Palestinian foundations working with women and children.
  • Dubai: 7.30pm Monday, the American University of Dubai auditorium. Free entrance. For more information call Maysa Al Khalil 04-318-3124.
  • The film has English subtitles.
  • Dahna Abu Rahme will be at the screenings to discuss the film.