The first of a series of statements  by Yanis Varoufakis, Greece’s new Finance minister, that I intend to  post in the coming weeks.  Yanis is one of  23 major economists, historians  sociologists  and anthropologists interviewed in our  ground breaking series on Capitalism.  The series , to which   Le Monde ( France’s leading newspaper)  dedicated a a full page claiming that is “bound to become a major contribution to our economic and social debate“,  deals extensively with the issues of Debt and Austerity. The series  tries, with the help of Economists like Yanis , to puncture the dominant myths that have shaped our societies and our political discourse  since the financial crush for 2008. Yanis Varoufakis and the Syriza’s government is now taking these issues into the heart of Europe . I will post continuously as the real drama begins.
CAPITALISM  is  being distributed internationally, after its premiere in France,  and will be launched in the US in early Spring.
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“EXILE” IN LONDON : A screening on Thursday 31st. of October at 18.30; a broadcast Sunday at 21.00 on BBC4


Dear Friends :

I am off to London on Tuesday and just wanted to put down few reminders  :

1. If you want to see EXILE,  the 59 min version that will be broadcast by the BBC. ( Searching for Exile ; Truth or Myth),  and catch me,  there is a screening on Thursday  31.10 at 18.30.


I will attend the screening ,and so will  Adam Parker Commissioning Editor BBC 2&3.  Q&A  will follow  the screening.

You can RSVP  by writing to Emma  D’Almeida @


2. The film ( 59 min version )  will be broadcast on BBC 4 at  21.00  followed by a debate at  22.00  .  I will  participate in the debate  and  am looking forward to it!

3. I will be showing the  original long  version of EXILE A MYTH UNEARTHED in Manchester on Monday  November 4th. Please inquire and RSVP with  Linda Clair

Hope to see you in any of the events!

Hope  to see you in the screening or catch  up the film and the debate on TV



EXILE , A MYTH UNEARTHED  has finally found a home on the BBC . The hour version of the film ( I  supervised and  authored the cut down)  is going to be broadcast under  a new title  SEARCHING FOR EXILE – TRUTH OR MYTH? on BBC 4   November 3rd, at 9pm . to be followed by a debate with my participation at 10pm

There  will be a press screening on   Thursday October 31st at 18.30 hrs. I will attend the Q&A  after the screening.  From what I understand  attendance is  restricted to a list of invitees.  Please get in touch with me  if you want to attend and I see what I can do.

As you all know it has been a long journey  which  many of you followed.  I am eternally grateful  for  your support!

I am happy that  the film finally found a home in the United Kingdom.!

As you remember I promised to hold screenings  of the long version of the film throughout  Britain( schedule permitted).  I will be in Manchester on Monday Nov.5 th.  Please write me for details.  Since this time  I can not stay in the UK any longer I will try to come again if there is interest in showing and discussing the film  in other cities.

Below is the billing for the press.


This authored documentary by Ilan Ziv sets out to explore the historical and archaeological evidence for the Exile of the Jews after their defeat in Jerusalem at the hands of the Roman Empire, and its relevance to  today.

Tracing the story of Exile from the contemporary commentator Josephus, to 1960s Israeli archaeologist Yigael Yadin, to the modern city of  Rome and finally to the ruins of a Palestinian village, Ziv asks where the roots of this story lie and what evidence there is for it.

At the centre of the film is the ancient town of Sepphoris (on whose ruins stood the Palestinian village of Saffuriya until 1948)  and the lessons its multi-layered history may have to offer.

A film by Ilan Ziv

Produced by  Amit Breuer, Serge Gordey, Colette Louméde, Ilan Ziv



Dear Friends:

I fear I started a storm that by now threatens to overwhelm the very film I set out to defend.

In my last update, I already wrote that it seems that the issue of broadcasting my film Exile A Myth Unearthed by the BBC is on the way to be resolved.

This is what I wrote more than a month ago:

I had a conversation yesterday with BBC 4 executives. It was a good talk. We both agreed that we would like to see the film broadcast in the UK. We agreed to explore, by examining scripts and cuts, the   possibility of showing a mutually agreeable 60 min. version of the film followed by a discussion program where others and myself will participate.

What I failed to write in that short blog is that the BBC affirmed their wish that the version that will emerge will be authored by me.

This delay  of few  weeks aroused suspicion and prompted some of you to write me inquiring emails.

I am almost ashamed to admit that I am the reason for the delay.  I am the culprit!  And to make matters worse, my excuse is lame, banal and has nothing to do with politics or the BBC.  As a matter of fact the BBC commissioners and editors have prodded me to send them my version of the cut down and until now I simply did not have time. I am involved in directing a six part series, with two editing rooms now in full swing and I  have not found the time. I will however do that by next week at the latest.  I fear it is not much  of a conspiracy theory… which brings me to the Palestine Solidarity Committee’s petition to the BBC:

“  BBC Director General faces claims that political pressure led BBC to drop film on Jewish Exile”.

Though I support many of the causes promoted by the Palestine Solidarity Committee, I must distance myself from this letter. I am not sure it helps the film that supposedly this petition aims at defending.

I believe the letter has less to do with the film and more with a larger battle within the UK about the presentation of Israelis and Palestinians on British media.  I fear I know very little about the issue; too little to speak about it either privately or publically. I have not researched or explored it. I reside in the US and there is enough work to be done on this issue here!

Had the signers of the letter contacted me before publishing it,  they would have found that the saga of Exile in the BBC is now on the way to being resolved and there is hardly a need for an open letter to the BBC General Director.   I will be the first to sound the alarm sign if  indeed the issue does not get resolved.  But I wish the signers contacted me first, not only for an update.  I might have convinced them that I believe that their letter, though in support of the film, does not do justice to it and to the issues it raises.

It is very tempting to squeeze Exile into neat political debate. However its exploration of how a religious myth has been transformed into a political project ,is a multilayered journey through far more complex history than the  average   viewer knows.  Through this historical journey the film tries to go beyond contemporary political debate to show both sides that there is a different historical narrative that can be constructed rather than a nationalist one.

Let me give you an example:

The final image of the film is a large photograph of the Palestinian village of Safuri, which is blended in the film with the images of the ancient Jewish town of Sephoris, coming to life through the magic of animation.  Since the 7th century, Safuri has been a bustling primarily Muslim village until it  was destroyed in the 1948 war, and its residents barred from returning.   The first archeological excavation of Sephoris  was  done in the 30’s and revealed how Safuri is the last architectural layer in a long history of almost 2000 years. That history saw various civilizations, religions and ethnic groups occupy and resettle the area.  Sephoris itself though primarily Jewish in its earlier life was an increasingly multi ethnic city which , as archeology now shows us,  had a large pagan community of various nationalities.  Sephoris was also the home of the “followers of Christ” who were later came to be known as Christians.  The old grave yard in the village contains, according to  local historians,  the graves of some of the prophet Muhammad’s decedents . In short   Sephoris is important to the history of all three major religions and civilizations.

The narration that accompanies these images sums the film for me.

What is being unearthed in the ruins of Sephoris and Safuri is a message of hope and a warning.

The promise of hope from a town that survived for hundreds of years because of its capacity to embrace many cultures and traditions.

And a warning written in the destruction brought about by blind faith in a single narrative of history at the expense of others.

It is easy to drown this message in the heated  more immediate politics of the Middle East.  For many it might seem utopian, irrelevant to the reality of a continuous bloodshed and occupation.

However   I believe that in the Middle East we suffer not only from a political stalemate but from an intellectual one as well.  We experience a failure of imagination not only of politics. Exile, a Myth Unearthed tries to challenge  our conventional  understanding of history  and of who we are. Not an easy task in an era of increasing nationalist political and religious polarization.

I believe that the Palestine Solidarity ‘ open letter wants to help get Exile and its message to be broadcast and discussed in the United Kingdom. I am not sure however that their petition is the best help to achieve this goal.

I am pleading with all those who supported me in the past and believe in Exile, as a tool to open, so badly needed, public debates and discussions, to let me and the BBC bring this issue to a closure.  If for some reason we will fail, I will be the first one to alert all of you.

Thanks for your support!



There  is  some news  concerning the saga of Exile in  the BBC  …and   for a change it is positive!

I had a conversation yesterday with  BBC 4 executives .  It was a good talk where we both agreed  that we would like to see the film broadcast in the UK.  We agreed to explore ( by examining  scripts and cuts )  the possibility  of showing a mutually  agreeable  60 min  version of the film followed by a discussion  program   where myself and others  will participate.

I will of course report here the outcome of this  process of exploration. But I think both sides are committed to do their best that it  happens.

As I wrote  in my first  blog I am  determined to  show  the film in the UK  on TV, in  public screenings  or both.  I believe   the dialog  with the BBC  is a positive step  to achieve this goal.

Thanks to all the concerned  individuals who sent me  emails,  and posted their comments.  I was touched and encouraged by your comments . They  only highlight  for me the importance of showing  Exile and generating a  discussion and a debate on the many issues it raises.

I am travelling this weekend to China for filming for another project and  we agreed that we will pick up  the issue when I am back on  the  May 14th.

I of  course will   keep  updating you  in my blogs on what happens next.

Stay tuned!