Stream or tune in Monday, July 26, 2021 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV
Exploring the dynamics of public service and international politics, “Mayor” offers a nuanced perspective of the Palestinian struggle for autonomy through the eyes of former civil engineer-turned-mayor, Musa Hadid.
Hadid has been the mayor of Ramallah, home to 60,000 people and located in the central West Bank, since 2012. He approaches his duties with practicality–he paves sidewalks, cleans sewage spills, approves city advertising campaigns, builds a new fountain and makes sure the local school buildings are built so that children can play in the sunshine.
Yet, not even the most mundane of Hadid's responsibilities is left untouched by the Israeli occupation, with raids and government strictures casting a continual shadow over the city.
Balancing the deadpan, bureaucratic humor of his everyday job with the continued encroachments of global and regional politics, "Mayor" highlights the constant, less-publicized injustices of the occupation on the public servant as well as on the city he serves.
“Mayor” offers a much-needed injunction against the narrow representations of Palestinians in the media. A historically Christian city in the Middle East, Ramallah is surrounded by greenery, has snow in the winter and its residents are enthusiastic celebrators of Christmas.
Hadid’s mayoralty is beset by the same problems that plague public servants around the world, but what separates Hadid’s job from so many of his fellow officials is best captured by the Israeli patrols that bombard his city with teargas during dinner time.
Funny, tragic and compassionate, “Mayor” captures Hadid and the citizens of Ramallah as they struggle to move forward under difficult circumstances, ultimately asking the question: how do you run a city if you don’t have a country?
"I'm thrilled to share ‘Mayor’ with American audiences on POV, in my opinion one of the most progressive, valuable, and vital nonfiction programs we have in the entire country. During production I would describe the film as something like PARKS AND RECREATION set in Palestine, and it says everything about POV that they were eager to hear more. I'm so excited to work with them to bring Mayor Musa and Ramallah to American viewers," said director David Osit.
Chris White, executive producer of POV, said, “David is an astute observer and a master of his craft. He captures the monotony of municipal governance and the idiosyncrasies of a place under the omnipresent cloud of occupation. Yet, through his lens, he manages to do so with the same wry wit as his protagonist. In Mayor Musa you will find hope, humor, and humanity.”
“Mayor” is director David Osit’s second film to broadcast on POV after his documentary "Thank You For Playing," which won the ‘Outstanding Arts & Culture Documentary’ at the 2017 News and Documentary Emmy Awards.
“Mayor” was named a New York Times Critic’s Pick and has picked up awards from Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and CPH:DOX, among others.
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The film will also be available to stream for free for 30 days at pov.org until Aug. 25, 2021.
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Editors: David Osit, Eric Daniel Metzgar. Executive Producers: Maxyne Franklin, Teddy Leifer. Co-Executive Producers: Abigail E. Disney, Laura Durning.