Prominent Palestinian director Mai Masri's new film "3000 Nights" had its international premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival Saturday at the Scotiabank Theater, with the second and third showings scheduled for Sept. 14 and 19.
For Masri, who is well-known for her documentary film experience and her previous works "Under the Rubble", "Wild Flowers: Women of South Lebanon", "Children of Fire", and "33 Days", "3000 Nights" is her first feature film, marking her fiction film debut.
Masri's debut tells the powerful story of a young Palestinian woman who is forced to face the challenges of motherhood under the unfair circumstances imposed on her through living under occupation.
In the film, which was inspired by the true stories of women who had their children in Israeli prisons, Layal is a young newlywed schoolteacher wrongfully charged with helping a Palestinian militant group in an operation against the Israeli army after she tries to help a young man in need of a ride on a road in the West Bank.
Layal then suddenly finds herself subjected to an 8-year sentence and only when she makes it inside the high-security Israeli prison does she discover that she is pregnant.
Against all odds, Layal decides to have her child inside the prison and is then thrown into a battle of deciding between keeping him safe and participating in a hunger strike organized by her fellow female inmates.
The multi-layered plot in "3000 Nights" makes the film not only a story about motherhood, women's strength and solidarity, but also makes it carry metaphorical undertones of Palestine under occupation.
"I am drawn to this story because it allows me to explore the complex relationships that take place within the intimacy of a confined, hidden space of a women’s world. Prison is a powerful metaphor for the condition of the Palestinian people and Palestinian women in particular," Masri wrote on TorinoFilmLab .
"3000 Nights" is also scheduled to play at the BFI London Film Festival on Oct. 15 and 18 and will be distributed in the Arab World by MAD Solutions, the Cairo and Abu-Dhabi based marketing and film distribution company.