Forty Shades of Grey is a non-narrative documentary that presents an alternative look at the Israel/Palestine conflict from both sides of the fence.

For the sake of effective news stories, the Israel-Palestine conflict is all too often portrayed in very simple digestible black and white terms - good versus evil, victim versus aggressor. From the safety of our European homes we are particularly quick to make moral judgements on situations happening thousands of miles away. From the security of our comfortable lives, we demonise actions we don't understand, and criticise choices we will never have to make. Of course we want justice, of course we want to support the underdog; but yet we are very confused as to who the underdog is.

Forty Shades of Grey attempts to get in between this easy black and white scenario that we've been presented with in our traditional media -- and explore the many difficult grey areas that exist in between the black and the white. Funded by The Irish Arts Council and shot on location in Israel and Palestine over the course of seven weeks, Forty Shades of Grey examines not only the obvious problems arising directly from the conflict itself, but also the many internal problems on both sides of the wall. Forty Shades of Grey takes you inside the cramped conditions of Balata refugee camp in Palestine where 25,000 Palestinians live in just one squared kilometre. It examines the ongoing debate as to the state-supported status of the Ultra Orthodox Jews, exempt from army service, and the resulting bitterness felt by their fellow Israeli countrymen. It visits Silwan, East Jerusalem to be tear-gassed and stampeded after Friday prayers, and Sheikh Jarreh to witness the forced evacuation of Arabs from their homes in East Jerusalem. It also delves into the murky world of human trafficking into Israel; how thousands of Sub-Saharan refugees are ending up in criminal Bedouin rape and torture camps in the Sinai peninsula, having thought they'd find a better life in Israel - with the hope that the Jews of all people will understand their plight.

Forty Shades of Grey features interviews with academics, politicians, soldiers, refugees - but most importantly the everyday Israeli and Palestinian citizens attempting to live normal lives against the backdrop of our generation defining conflict. In a situation where everybody is right, and everybody is wrong, Forty Shades of Grey dispels the myth that in order to be pro-Palestine, you must also be anti-Israel.

To obtain copies of the full Forty Shades of Grey (Israel/Palestine) film please contact Bill McGowan at Distribution Access - Bill.mcgowan@distributionaccess.com

Forty Shades of Grey
Directed by Nicky Larkin
feature length - 83 minutes

Nicky Larkin was born in Birr, Ireland, in 1983. He studied Fine Art in Galway-Mayo IT and Chelsea College of Art, London. Working mainly in the medium of experimental film and video-art, he has exhibited widely both at home and internationally.

In 2007 he travelled to the Chernobyl exclusion zone, to shoot the experimental short film Pripyat. Pripyat went on to screen at various international film festivals including Locarno, Strasbourg, Madrid and The European Media Art Festival 2008. At home, Pripyat was selected for ev+a 2008 in Limerick, and TULCA in Galway.

In 2009 he was commissioned by The Irish Arts Council and The Belltable Arts Centre, under the commissions award scheme, to create an experimental film exploring the notorious Moyross and Southill estates in Limerick city. The resulting film, Beyond The Roundabout? was selected for The European Media Art Festival 2010, The London East End Film Festival, and the Madrid International Video Art Festival 2010.

January and February 2010 were spent in Tbilisi, Georgia, where he created a body of photographic work documenting the lives and conditions inside Tserovani Refugee Camp, which was established as a result of the 2008 Russia-Georgia war. He has also made work in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Armenia, Moldova, and the separatist state of Transnistria.

In 2010 he was profiled in Robert O'Byrne's Dictionary of Living Irish Artists. 

In 2011 he undertook his largest project to date; traveling to Israel & Palestine to shoot an experimental, non-narrative film piece. This will be his first feature film, Forty Shades of Grey, and is due for premiere May 31st in The Lighthouse Cinema, Dublin.

His writing has been published by Allotrope Press and The Sunday Independent.

He is represented by The Molesworth Gallery, Dublin, and Strefa A Galeria, Krakow.

Bill McGowan at Distribution Access - Bill.mcgowan@distributionaccess.com

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