Documentary Australia Foundation

Next submission deadline is
16 May 2014

Finger Pointing to the Earth

Finger Pointing to the Earth
Director /
Inka Stafrace
2010 October
AUD $150 000
52 minutes

About the film

On one level FPE will be an ethical investigation into the rules of journalism (what makes a good story) and the consequences that such rules may have to the global understanding of the Israeli Palestinian situation.

On another level FPE will tackle the possibility of there being a spiritual significance (as opposed to a religious one) to Jerusalem and its related struggles. The prevalence of Israel in the global news is circumstantial evidence that there may be something inherently powerful and cryptic about this land. We are not allowed to forget it. Jerusalem's message is carried (and arguably poisoned) by journalists to all the four corners of the world.

Following a journalist in the field who reports for a large Australian network be it TV or print media, and a journalist who reports for an Arabic network of similar proportions, FPE will highlight the paradigm both medias adhere to. This 'conflict' is reported as a political sport with two sides (only), one of which is a humanized good side, the other of which is a de-humanized bad side. The rules inspire conflict. They inspire the audience to take sides.
The journalist's feelings will be recorded and their experience personalized.
Religious and political leaders and experts will be asked :
If Jerusalem were a person, what would it be telling us?
How would it be telling us this?

FPE will suggest that global media is the modern messenger of news and for reasons to be investigated it chooses to fill our souls with bad news.

Why is the peace movement, which is sizable in this region, never given a voice in the mass media? Is the de-humanization of either side a result of powerful interest groups influencing their media or simply a consequence of what sells? Why does it sell?

Who gains the most from this 'conflict'? FPE will investigate the possibility that the spiritually bankrupt military industrial complex is the only entity that gains anything.

Biblical sayings and Quranic verses will be poignantly referenced within the film to inspire the audience to consider that there may be a spiritual significance embedded in the Israeli – Palestinian conflict. Is our next new wave of consciousness embedded within the solution for the Israeli – Palestinian conflict and is our media be it Arabic or Western stopping us from experiencing it on a global level.

What if land belonged to no one?

Total Project Budget

AUD $150 000

Length of Production

52 minutes

Stage of Production


How does the project meet the aims of a philanthropic foundation?

Finger Pointing to the Earth meets the aims of a philanthropic foundation because it promotes the principle of universality which is often silenced when debating the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Philanthropic societies want to help make this world a better place to live in and FPE is an attempt to help people think about news items and reports, not only of this conflict, but of all conflicts, with a more active mind. It admonishes people to be spiritually aware when consuming news and the hope is that this will make people more compassionate.
FPE uses Jerusalem and the possibility that Jerusalem is sacred to inspire individual thought in religious people who are (in terms of this conflict) particularly vulnerable to blanking out the realities of the occupation. These realities include (on one level) the collective punishment of the Palestinians and (on another level) the fear and terrible trap the Israeli people are now in both psychologically and nationally because (debatably) of their own religious beliefs that the land belongs to them.

What outcomes do you hope to achieve by making this film and how will you measure its impact?

I hope that FPE will creatively inspire individual thought and will illustrate how religion separates us from each other despite its teachings (for the most part) of compassion, understanding, and togetherness. I hope to illustrate the extent to which people believe (by definition 'to believe' is 'to not know'). Many people believe in what the Bible dictates and will defend the Bible and yet they have not ever read it! The film is aimed at raising awareness not only of the collective punishment but also of the mechanisms in place to hide this truth and why these mechanisms work.
Any difference in global consciousness in regards to the Israel – Palestinain conflict is hard to measure. The impact of the film would be measured by the responses I get from individuals who have seen the film.

What is your education and outreach strategy

FTE has a distributor committed – Ronin Films – that is a specialist in the Educational market, both nationally and internationally. Through this market, and accompanied by appropriate study guide and teaching materials, the film will reach hundreds of thousands of young people in Australia and overseas. In libraries and educational institutions, the film will have a long shelf-life and find renewed audiences every year. In addition, the film has clear potential for television and semi-theatrical screenings which will raise awareness of the film and the issues it is dealing with, as well as reach general audiences who may never have thought of the issues raised by the film.

As with my current film, HOPE IN A SLINGSHOT, I am prepared to stimulate discussion by participating in Q&A screenings at a grass-roots community level

Who are the filmmakers responsible for the project?

Inka Stafrace as Director/Producer and Andrew Pike as executive producer.
Inka has been making short films for years and she completed her first feature documentary in 2008 called Hope in a Slingshot. It has been consistently well received and is currently caught up in a battle of wills with the ABC, because the ABC after accepting the film for broadcast in April 2009. later revoked their offer of grounds that have not convinced journalists, human rights activists or academics. The ABC claim the film needs a counter balance POV to air with it and they cannot find one.
Andrew Pike is a film historian, documentary filmmaker and film distributor. His films include the award –winning ANGELS OF WAR(1982) about Papua New Guinea in WWII and THE CHIFLEYS OF BUSBY STREET (2008) about Australia's postwar Prime Minister, Ben Chifley. Ronin Films has distributed many Australian films including Strictly Ballroom and Shine. Andrew currently serves on the Board of the National Film and Sound Archive and is a member of the ACT Government's Cultural Council.