9 Star Hotel

PBS Premiere: July 22, 2008Check the broadcast schedule »

Film Update

P.O.V: What has happened to Muhammad and Ahmed since filming ended on 9 Star Hotel?

Ido Haar:
Muhammad and Ahmed are back at their homes in Palestine. They are not working, but they are both married. Ahmed has a baby son and Muhammad has a two-month-old daughter.

Ahmed (pictured) and Muhammad saw the film for the first time at the Jerusalem Film Festival.

Ahmed (pictured) and Muhammad saw the film for the first time at the Jerusalem Film Festival.

Unfortunately, their situations have become even worse than what you saw in 9 Star Hotel. Ahmed had sometimes managed to get inside Israel to work, but a few weeks ago, he was caught by the police, and since then, he has been at home.

P.O.V: What has been the reaction to the film in Israel and abroad?

The film has not been broadcast on television yet in Israel. I'm looking forward to having it screened on TV, but I don't know when that will be. At theatrical screenings, most viewers who have seen the film were shocked and felt uncomfortable. The reviews have been very good, and there have been very interesting articles published about the film here in Israel. The point of view shown in 9 Star Hotel is very different from the point of view that we are used to seeing in the news and media.

Around the world, the reactions to the film have been very emotional. Many people have managed to see the universal issues in the film, and they became involved with the characters.

POV: What's the inevitable question that you're always asked after a screening? Can you think of any memorable moments or incidents that made you rethink how you approached any aspects of the film?

The most common question I get after screenings is about how I got access to film the workers and how we built the trust between us. I always tell audiences that I grew up in the area, and I've known it since I was a child. It took me months of walking around and talking to the workers there before they trusted me. In the beginning there was a lot of suspicion, but they saw that I was running and hiding with them as they ran and hid from the police and that I was more afraid than they were. They understood that I was interested in their stories.