November 19, 2018
The story of the first-ever female judge in Palestine’s religious courts who overcame a male-dominated tradition to change minds.
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About the Documentary
Showing Shari’a law in a way we’ve never seen before–through the story of the first-ever female judge in Palestine’s religious courts–The Judge is portrait of a remarkable woman who overcame a male-dominated tradition to change minds.
Middle East religious courts, including the Shari’a courts of Islam which adjudicate domestic and family matters, have traditionally banned women from serving as judges – until Kholoud Al-Faqih dared challenge that history.
In 2009, with the support of a progressive Sheikh, Kholoud became the first woman Shari’a judge in the Middle East with her appointment to a Palestinian Shari’a court in the West Bank. She dispenses justice in domestic and family affairs like marriage, divorce, abuse, and child custody, which have always leaned heavily in favor of men.
With unique access to these courts, The Judge presents an unfolding vérité legal drama, with rare insight into both Islamic law and gendered justice in the Middle East.
Erika Cohn is a Peabody and Emmy Award-winning director and producer who Variety recognized as one of 2017’s top documentary filmmakers and was featured in DOC NYC’s 2019 “40 Under 40.” Most recently, Erika completed The Judge, a Peabody Award-winning and Emmy-nominated film about the first woman judge to be appointed to the Middle East’s Shari’a courts, which premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival and will be broadcast on PBS’s 2018 Independent Lens series. Erika co-directed and produced In Football We Trust, an Emmy award-winning documentary about the unique faith and culture that ultimately drives young Pacific Islander men into the NFL, which premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and was broadcast on PBS’s 2016 Independent Lens series. In 2013, Erika founded Idle Wild Films, Inc., which has released three feature documentaries and produced numerous branded content and commercial spots, including Gatorade’s Win from Within series, for which she received a 2016 Webby award nomination.
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Learn more about the documentary
Erika Cohn Unfolds a New Perception of Shari'a Law in Portrait of Remarkable Woman
Join the Discussion
What did you know about Shari'a law before you watched this film? What in Judge Kholoud's story can American women also relate to?Comments