SoCal: Cal State San Bernardino Professor Receives Award for the Documentary “1948: Creation and Catastrophe” she Co-Produced

Ahlam Muhtaseb, Cal State San Bernardino professor of communication studies, along with her co-producer and co-director, Andy Trimlett, formally received the Storytellers: Media & Education Award by Rebuilding Alliance for their documentary “1948: Creation and Catastrophe.”

The filmmakers were honored January 26th at the 2019 Rebuilding Alliance Awards and Benefit Dinner in San Francisco.

“We are humbled by this recognition of our documentary,” Muhtaseb said. “This has been a labor of love and passion for telling this important narrative as this project is a nonprofit one. We are also indebted to the whole community, including the CSUSB community, for supporting this effort, and we are grateful for Rebuilding Alliance for this recognition.”

In the letter announcing the award, Jamal Alradaideh, chairperson of Rebuilding Alliance’s Board of Directors, said, “As a small organization we seek opportunities to make connections and recognize the efforts of others to build understanding and penetrate the seemingly impenetrable wall of silence here in the U.S. ‘1948: Creation and Catastrophe’ is a perfect example of the use of personal stories to create understanding and help people make sense of the current conflict with the hope that that knowledge will serve to build peace. It is for this reason that we present you with this award.”

The gala awards benefit dinner, “Solidarity: Stories of Palestine,” celebrated the “peacemakers and storytellers who have shown courage and leadership in seeking justice and peace,” the event’s webpage states.

“At this event, we recognize and honor peacemakers and storytellers who have shown courage and leadership that promotes a just and enduring peace in Israel and Palestine based on equal rights, security, and opportunity for all,” said Alradaideh.

Rebuilding Alliance is a nonprofit organization that focuses on advancing equal rights and opportunity for Palestinians through education, advocacy and support that assures Palestinian families the right to a home, schooling, economic security, safety and a promising future.

Muhtaseb and Trimlett spent 10 years making their 86-minute documentary, which explores the events of 1948, the most pivotal year in one of the most controversial conflicts in the world. According to its website, “this documentary was the last chance for many of its Israeli and Palestinian characters to narrate their first-hand accounts of the creation of a state and the expulsion of a nation.”

Ahlam Muhtaseb, Cal State San Bernardino Professor of Communication Studies

Muhtaseb and Trimlett poured over thousands of pages of historical documents, conducted more than 90 interviews, collected more than 1,400 photographs from three dozen sources, combed through hours of archival film and gathered dozens of documents from Israeli military archives.

The documentary began its screening journey in 2017, with its premiere at the 26th annual Arizona International Film Festival in April. Since then, the documentary has been shown at various national and international events, and was nominated for an Al Ard XV Film Festival award in Italy.

It was also named one of the top five films to watch in the Sydney Morning Herald. Writing in the academic journal, Arab Studies Quarterly, film professor Terri Ginsberg said, “1948 makes the Nakba uncannily real for the doubting spectator.”

And Sandy Tolan, author of “The Lemon Tree” and “Children of the Stone,” and who gave the keynote address at the Rebuilding Alliance awards dinner, praised the documentary in an opinion column in the West Hollywood community publication WEHOville.

“1948: Creation and Catastrophe” is now available on iTunes.

For more information about “1948: Creation and Catastrophe,” visit its website at

To learn more about Rebuilding Alliance, visit its website at

Press Release Provided By the California State University at San Bernardino