1948: Creation & Catastrophe
1948: Creation & Catastrophe
1948: Creation & Catastrophe
1948: Creation & Catastrophe
1948: Creation & Catastrophe

1948: Creation & Catastrophe

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  • Directed by: Andy Trimlett & Ahlam Muhtaseb
  • Released: 2018 (educational)
  • Year of Production: 2017
Running Time: 85 min. 
Language: English, Arabic and Hebrew with English Subtitles
Includes English Closed Captioning
Subtitle Options: Arabic, English, French, Hebrew & Spanish
Subjects: Middle Eastern Studies, Multicultural Studies, Religion and Spirituality Studies, Sociology, Immigration and Refugees,
"1948 makes the Nakba uncannily real for the doubting spectator" - Arab Studies Quarterly


Through riveting and moving personal recollections of both Palestinians and Israelis, 1948: Creation & Catastrophe reveals the shocking events of the most pivotal year in the most controversial conflict in the world.  It tells the story of the establishment of Israel as seen through the eyes of the people who lived it. It is simply not possible to make sense of what is happening in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict today without an understanding of 1948.  This documentary was the last chance for many of its Israeli and Palestinian characters to narrate their first-hand accounts of the creation of a state and the expulsion of a nation.

An estimated 700,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled and hundreds of towns and villages were depopulated and destroyed in Israel. Because of this, on May 15, Nakba Day or "Day of the Catastrophe" is commemorated, the day after the Israeli Independence Day. For Palestinians, this is a day of commemoration of the displacement during the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948. 1948 is a powerful record of this important time. The film crew conducted over 90 interviews, poured over 20,000 pages of history, collected more than 2,000 photographs from three dozen sources, combed through hours of archival film and gathered dozens of documents from Israeli military archives. 

1948 Features:

  • First-hand accounts of 1948 from Israelis and Palestinians
  • Renowned historians Charles D. Smith, Rashid Khalidi, Benny Morris, Avi Shlaim, Ilan Pappe, Nur Masalha and Sharif Kanaaneh.
  • Military orders and intelligence documents
  • Over 200 archival photographs and film clips


    • Winner - Rebuilding Alliance's "Storytellers: Media & Education" Award



    • The Middle East Studies Association Film Festival, DC 
    • Palestine Solidarity Week, Memphis, TN
    • The American University in Cairo, Egypt
    • Reel Palestine Festival, Dubai, UAE  
    • AMP Conference, Chicago, IL 
    • University of Oxford, UK
    • Georgetown University, DC
    • Boston Palestine Film Festival, Cambridge, MA
    • San Diego Arab Film Festival, San Diego, CA
    • University of Maryland
    • University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, IL
    • UC Berkeley, CA
    • San Francisco State University, CA
    • San Diego State University, CA
    • Carnegie Library East Liberty, Pittsburgh, PA
    • Jewish Voice for Peace, New York at CUNY
    • Kuwait Engineering Association, Kuwait
    • California State University - San Bernardino, CA 
    • Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI
    • Islamic Association of Greater Hartford, CT
    • North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
    • California State University, Fresno, CA


    "Despite these issues, 1948 makes its undeniable intervention into the contemporary media scape as an asymmetrical balancing of Zionism’s unbalanced symmetry between Palestinian and Jewish suffering, and on this basis the film represents a landmark in the cinematic treatment of the topic." - Arab Studies Quarterly

    "Arguably, the most important contribution that 1948 provides are the interviews with the survivors and witnesses which, due to the ages of the participants, could be the last chance to record their stories; the value of these oral testimonies cannot be understated... 1948: Creation and Catastrophe presents the duality of the elation surrounding the creation of the state of Israel and the catastrophe of the loss of life and homeland that resulted from the displacement of the Arab Palestinians." - History in the Making, California State University San Bernardino Journal of History

    "[1948] is terrific! Heart-wrenching... a very important film that illuminates many things that most people (including me) did not know but need to know." - Lawrence R. Frey, PhD, Dept. of Communication, University of Colorado Boulder

    “The access you had to Israeli 'old' soldiers interviews gave a great new angle to the story, the very clear and professional graphics, the wise use of archive and sound effects and the straight forward clear narration, made the storytelling of the 1948 story both informative and dramatic… a combination of a great team work and great work.” - Rawan Damen  

    "[1948] is the best film I've ever seen on Palestine.  I think it's truly excellent, has an amazing collection of archival photos and film clips, and interviews quite a number of Palestinians who remember 1948 and Israelis who participated in the war/ethnic cleansing.  It's a real masterpiece." - Kathleen Christison, Author and Political Analyst on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict 

    "Straightforward in style but dense with information, Andy Trimlett and Ahlam Muhtaseb's documentary on the partition of Palestine and the subsequent Arab-Israeli War incorporates often harrowing firsthand testimony from both sides. Essentially, however, this is the story from the Palestinian perspective – which in itself is worth the attention of anyone who wants to understand the world today." - The Sydney Morning Herald 

    "1948 is exactly the kind of film many people would do well to watch. Informative and timely (the release of the film marks 70 years after the creation of the Israeli state), especially when seen in light of the ongoing claims of anti-Semitism rife within the labour party, or recent protests outside the University Union by University of Leeds Palestinian Solidarity Group. An understanding of the conflict is essential and 1948: Creation and Catastrophe provides an insightful and emotional coverage of its very beginnings." - Don Pickworth, The Gryphon (University of Leeds)
    "In 1948: Creation & Catastrophe, Andy Trimlett and Ahlam Muhtaseb offer first-person accounts of survivors, along with commentary from perpetrators of the Nakba... The expertise of the interviewed historians and analysts from both sides of the divide in the documentary is impressive." - Hatim Kanaaneh, Middle East Eye



    Andy Trimlett, Director/Executive Producer

    Co-producer Andy TrimlettAndy Trimlett has a Master’s degree in Middle East Studies from the University of Washington and a Bachelor’s degree in International Security and Conflict Resolution from San Diego State University. He has a decade of experience in public television, having served as senior producer, associate producer, editor and camera operator on a wide range of productions.  He has worked on PBS programs in the United States, Hungary and Austria, winning a regional Emmy for a 30-minute documentary he co-produced about property tax law in California.


    Ahlam Muhtaseb, Co-Director/Executive Producer

    Co-Producer Ahlam Muhtaseb

    Ahlam Muhtaseb is a professor of media studies at California State University, San Bernardino. Her research interests include digital communication, social media, and diasporic communities. She has published her scholarship on digital communication and other communication sub-topics, and has presented her scholarship to national and international conventions and scholarly meetings. Her most recent project is the documentary 1948: Creation & Catastrophe, a film on the year 1948 and its catastrophic consequences which has originated from her field work in the Palestinian refugee camps in the Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine. In addition, most of her recent research focuses on digital media and social movements online (cyber activism), and Arab and Muslim images in the media.

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