The Judge

The Judge

  • BY Erika Cohn | IN Women & Girls
    Premiered November 19, 2018

About the Film

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. MORE

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. LESS

Film Credits

Directed and Produced by
Erika Cohn

Executive Producers
Geralyn Dreyfous
Diana Lady Dougan
Barbara Dobkin
Patty Quillin
Sally Jo Fifer
Lois Vossen

Jennifer Jordan
Sara Maamouri
Amber Fares
Mark Lipson

Supervising Producer
Michael Kinomoto

Sara Maamouri
Ken Schneider

Amber Fares

Omar Fadel

Kholoud Al-Faqih and Family
Sheikh Tayseer Al-Tamimi
Dr. Husam Al-Deen Afanah
Yaqoub Shawwa
Imad Ahmad
Reema Shamasneh
Dr. Hanan Ashrawi
Tahreer Hammad
Dareen Salhiyeh
Sumayya Irhaimeh
Mustafa Shrateh
Sireen Anabousi

Associate Producers
Nicole Docta
Natasha Atalla

Field Producers
Sabreen Taha
May Odeh

Impact Producer
Heidi Nel

Office Production Assistant
Caroline Nelson

Aerial Photography
Mashal Kawasmi

Additional Camera
Elias Nawawieh
Erika Cohn
Jeff Rhoads
Justin Zweifach
Mashal Kawasmi
Mohammed Abageth

Additional Editors
Ericka Concha
Mohamed El-Manasterly

Consulting Editors
Lawrence Lerew
Rabab Haj Yahya

Assistant Editors
Yousur Alhlou
Seera Akra
Ellie Vanderlip
Jumana Zahid
Lauren Knapp
Jason Alarcón

Field Translators
Mais Shatara
Hani Abdo
Sonia Jaber
Khedidja Boudaba

Editorial Translators
Natasha Atalla
Ehab Abunuwara
Yasmin Haj
Shereen Salah
Shadi Elkarra
Tala Qaddoura

Additional Research
Joanna Rabiger

Ashton Ferrin

Nora Husseini
Adam Essig
Maxime Coué
Sybil Patten
Lina Ghabayen

Post Production Supervisor
Mark Lipson

Post Production Assistant
Gabriella Ricketts

Digital Post Finishing Facilities

Re-Recording Mixers
James LeBrecht
Dan Olmsted

Dialog Editor
Erik Reimers

Sound Effects Editors
Bijan Sharifi
Jake Bloomfield-Misrach

Titles and Animation
Mindbomb Films, Inc.

Graphic Designers
Abby VanMuijen
Marisa Rafter

Calligraphy by
Fayeq Oweis

Dr. Nubar Hovsepian
Dr. Ruth Roded
Dr. Laila Abed Rabho
Dr. Leila Ahmed
Hauwa Ibrahim, J.D.
Dr. Amal Kawar
Dr. Shahla Haeri
Dr. Elizabeth Brownson

Legal Counsel
Justine Jacob

E&O Clearance
Donaldson + Callif

Worldwide Sales
Ro*co Films

Marketing & Publicity
Adam Segal
Bryce Kirchoff
Jessica Schneider
Ryan Levey

Archival Materials Provided by
Al-Ayyam Newspaper
Al-Hayat Aljadida Newspaper
Al-Quds Newspaper
Al Jazeera
Al Wattan News
Deutsche Welle
Donia Al-Watan

Original Score
Cello: Isaiah Gage
Vocals: Seera Akra
Assistant Engineers: Dario Forzato, Pietro Milanesi

Licensed Music
Written, Performed & Courtesy of El-Funoun

Special Thanks

15th Street Gallery
Adam Perry
Amir Soltani
Angela Tucker
Ann Stark Frazier
Anne Goldstein
Antonia Kirkland
AVREC Art House
Bahman Baktiari
Bernadette Beekman
Brad Thulin
Brittney Shepherd
Caitlin Boyle
Carla Fleisher
Chris Foss
Christen Marquez
Christina Campagnola
Diane Powell
Erika George
Ethan Schlenker
Fadi Quran
Glenda and Jim Bradley
Hala Borno
Harvard Divinity School
Hot Docs Forum
IDA’s DocuClub
Jeffrey Winter
Jenan Matari
Jennifer Atala
Jeremy Cohn
Joseph Duffey
Katie Story
Khaled Qatamesh
Khulood Badawi
Kristin Feeley
Kristi Woodham
Lamsat Ummi
Leslie Kelen
Leslie Shelledy
Linda Davis
Marjan Safinia
Maryum Saifee
Matthew Mullins
Michael Tuckman
Mohamed Maamouri
Nataniel Johnson-Gottlieb
Niam Itani
Puffin Foundation
Qusay Hammash
Richard Burbidge
Robert Raben
Ron Cohn
Rotary International
Rough Cuts
Rula Amin
Sandra Alvarez
Sarah Mohr
Shahed Amanullah
Solstice Picture Framing
Susan and Jim Swartz
Tanya Habjouqa
Thom Powers
Tony Vainuku

In Memory of
Morris, Lolita, Connie, Don and Barbara

Fiscal Sponsors
Hartley Film Foundation
The Utah Film Center

Funding Provided by
Auburn Seminary
The Mally Fund
Samuel Z. Alemayehu
American Documentary Film Fund
Grant Me The Wisdom Foundation
Lynda M Goldstein Family Foundation
Utah Humanities
Marcy Garriott
Ali Sabbah
And others. A complete available from PBS.

The Judge is a co-production of Three Judges LLC, Idle Wild Films Inc., and Independent Television Service (ITVS), with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

This film was produced by Three Judges LLC, which is solely responsible for its content.

©2017 Three Judges LLC. All rights reserved.

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?
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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?