About - APPLES of the Golan



APPLES OF THE GOLAN tells the epic story of Majdal Shams, one of five remaining Arab villages in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Before the occupation there were 139 such villages, which have now mostly been destroyed. Cut off from their homeland since the events of the Six Day War, the villagers fight to maintain their national identity amid political uncertainty, border disputes and the Syrian Civil War. They are all connected to, and owe their existence to, the apples which grow all around the village. In many ways, as their resistance to occupation is generally peaceful, the apples are their bombs.

Irish film-makers Keith Walsh and Jill Beardsworth spent five years among the people of the village and have woven together, from the interlocking lives of the apple growers, rappers, salsa dancers, holy men, traitors, and freedom fighters that make up this unique community, a film that is a complex portrait of a place, a people, and the apple trees that root them to land. APPLES OF THE GOLAN covers the four year period up until the Syrian conflict begins to turn into civil war, as the effects are being felt in the Golan Heights. It is a portrait of a village’s survival but also documents the beginning of its journey into the unknown.

For festival screenings, sales and more information: info@wildcarddistribution.com

A Twopair Films Production in co-production with Golden Girls Films, in association with the Vienna Film Fund, with the participation of Bord Scannán na hÉireann / Irish Film Board.


Jill Beardsworth


Jill has been making documentaries since 2004 with long time collaborator Keith Walsh and in 2010 they set up Twopair Films to produce documentaries.

Felim Mc Dermott, programmer of the Galway Film Fleadh described her and Keith as “major new Irish talents”. Her work has screened at over 50 festivals worldwide and has picked up several awards. She produced Twopair Films most recent production ‘Analogue People in a Digital Age’ which has screened around the world.

Jill records sound on her productions and also works as a freelance editor.

Analogue People in a Digital Age / 2013 / Producer / Sound
Apples of the Golan / 2012 / 82mins / Director, Editor, Camera
Circus Man / 2010 /13 mins / Director, Editor, Camera
Children of Allah / 72 mins / Director, Editor, Camera
I Was You / 25 mins / Director, Editor, Camera


Keith Walsh


Keith Walsh has been making documentaries since 2004. His debut 25 minute documentary for Irish terrestrial television, ‘I Was You’ about homelessness was described by the Sunday Times as an ‘elegant documentary’. ‘Analogue People in a Digital Age’, a short documentary that he directed, shot and edited has played at over 20 festivals worldwide and won best short documentary at the Clones Film Festival 2014.

Keith films and edits his own work and also works as a freelance editor and cameraman.

Analogue People in a Digital Age / 2013 / Director, Editor, Camera
Apples of the Golan / 2012 / 82mins / Director, Editor, Camera
Circus Man / 2010 /13 mins / Director, Editor, Camera
Children of Allah / 72 mins / Director, Editor, Camera
I Was You / 25 mins / Director, Editor, Camera


John Wallace


John Wallace is a producer based in Dublin working in feature dramas and documentaries. John’s producing credits include STANDBY (2014, dir Ronan and Rob Burke), KING OF THE TRAVELLERS (2012, w/dir Mark O’Connor), DOLLHOUSE (2012, w/dir Kirsten Sheridan), REWIND (2010, w/dir PJ Dillon) and the feature documentaries SHOWRUNNERS (2014, dir Des Doyle) and APPLES OF THE GOLAN (2012, dir Keith Walsh & Jill Beardsworth).


Dr. Gearóid O Cúinn

Original Reserach

Gearóid is currently an Academic Fellow at Lancaster University Law School where his work focuses on public international law, human rights and public health governance.He is also co-director of Ceartas, Irish Lawyers for Human Rights, a non-profit organisation that develops innovative legal actions which aim to protect and promote human rights internationally. Gearóid has active links with the legal profession maintains a strong interest in film. He is co-developing the website www.watchinghumanrights.org a platform that aims to capture the many intersections of film and human rights for use in activism and education.

Donal R.Haughey

Executive Producer

Hamad Awidat

Associate Producer

Arash T.Riahi

Co Producer

Michael Seeber

Co Producer

Ibrahim ‘Barhoum’ Safadi Pic

Ibrahim ‘Barhoum’ Safadi

Ibrahim ‘Barhoum’ Safadi is the last herder on the mountain. His life is an echo of the past – before apples came to the Golan Heights from Lebanon most people were herders. He roams the mountains with his sheep and goats but he is restricted in his movement by borders, minefields and military zones. He has never tasted freedom.

Fauzia Ali Khatar Zahwy Pic

Fauzia Ali Khatar Zahwy

Fauzia Ali Khatar Zahwy is the mother of one of the longtime political prisoners, Assam Al Wili. Every 15 days she takes a bus, along with all the other prisoners’ families and visits her son in prison. The clothes she washed for him the night before he was arrested, 25 years ago, still hang in the wardrobe.

Assam Mahmoud Abd Wili Pic

Assam Mahmoud Abd Wili

Assam Mahmoud Abd Wili was part of a resistance group in the 1980s who targeted Israeli military installations and personnel with mines and blew up a weapons store. He and his fellow fighters refused to stand up in court for the Israeli judge, singing the Syrian national anthem instead. They were sentenced to 27 years in an Israeli prison.

Hatem Said Ahmed Pic

Hatem Said Ahmed

Hatem Said Ahmed once held the world record for making the biggest plate of tabbouleh – a middle-eastern salad. He was tortured and forced to live in a small, dark prison cell for 73 days. The reason; he crossed the border in search of his fiancé.

Layla Saffadi Pic

Layla Saffadi

Layla Saffadi is a Syrian Bride. She was born in Syria but since she came to the Golan Heights with her husband, she cannot return. When her father died she was refused entry back to Syria for his funeral.

Naif Safadi Pic

Naif Safadi

Naif Safadi is the caretaker of the graveyard. He is missing his right hand. When his mother, a seamstress was pregnant with him a one handed woman, also a seamstress, arrived from the east. His mother was so enthralled by this woman’s ability that Naif believes he was born with one hand because of his mother’s admiration for this woman.

Afif Mahmoud Pic

Afif Mahmoud

Afif Mahmoud is the head of a family that has been torn apart by border regulations. His daughter is married to a man in Syria, where they now live. She crossed from the Golan Heights to Syria when she married, and now can never return. Her story, and that of her family, is the basis for the feature film ‘The Syrian Bride’. Hassan, Afif’s son, married a Ukranian Christian woman. For this he was forced to leave the village and live elsewhere. His sons, Afif’s grandchildren, fight in the Israeli army.

Nizam Fakharaldeen Pic

Nizam Fakharaldeen

Nizam Fakharaldeen is an apple farmer who also plants trees for other farmers. Nizam bares a scar in the exact same point – his neck – exactly where Mohana received his fatal injury. When Nizam was three years old he walked to Mohana’s house and was able to identify his children. The Druze believe in re-incarnation.

Adeep Hasan Sabagh Pic

Adeep Hasan Sabagh

Adeep Hasan Sabagh is a member of the local B’aath party, loyal to Bashar al Assad. He believes the war in Syria is caused by outside elements such as Israel and America and is fuelled by complicit media outlets. He tries to teach his grandchildren about Syria and its president to combat the influence of the Israeli curriculum that is taught in the local schools.

Judgments Pic


Judgments are a rap band. They build and paint houses by day, often in the Israeli settlements and rap by night. Their nationality, like most of the Arab residents of the Golan Heights, is categorized as ‘Undefined’. In the evening, when they are not rapping, they drive around and around the village.

Salsa Dancers Pic

Salsa Dancers

Salsa Dancers When salsa dancing was first introduced into the Golan Heights it was practiced in secret, due to the objections of the religious elders. Dancers would pretend to be going to study classes in order to hide their activity.

Salim Awidat Pic

Salim Awidat

Salim Awidat is an apple farmer. The Israeli army cut down his trees, even though he owns the land on which they are planted. The army contends that the trees are planted on deserted land, which now belongs to the Israeli state. He says he will die rather than let the authorites take his land.

Nooraldeen Pic


Nooraldeen fought in the 1967 war and still feels deep hurt because of the loss of the Golan Heights. He sells apples in the local market. He believes that the apple seeds prove the land is Syrian.

Alex Kudish Pic

Alex Kudish

Alex Kudish is an Israeli settler who lives in the Ein Zevan settlement, formerly the Syrian village of Ein Zewan. The orchards of the Ein Zevan residents run along the border with Syria. He was born in Argentina and came to live in Israel when he was a young child.

Film Festivals & Screenings to date
Feb 2012 Jameson Dublin International Film Festival
July 2012 Galway Film Fleadh 2012
July 2012 Skibbereen Arts Festival 2012
Sept 2012 Amnesty Screening at the Huston Film School
Jan 2013 IFI Ireland on Sunday
Feb 2013 Chester Beatty Library Screening
Mar 2013 Dingle International Film Festival
May 2013 London Palestine Film Festival
Sept 2013 Portugal Underground Film Festival, New York
Sept 2013 Culture Night in Naas, Co. Kildare
Oct 2013 Festivals des Libertes, Brussels
Oct 2013 Baghdad International Documentary Festival
Oct 2013 MESA Arizona
Nov 2013 Leeds international Film Festival
Nov 2013 The Other Israel Festival, New York
Nov 2013 New York University – Kervorkian Centre
Nov 2013 Harvard University
TBC 2013 Liverpool, Lancaster, Nottingham and Manchester University tour
April 2014 Portugal Underground Film Festival Lisbon
Dec 2014 Queens University Belfast

Upcoming Screenings

Jan 2015

Irish Film Institute, Dublin

Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny

February 2015

Garter Lane Arts Centre, Waterford                                                                                                                                                                                                 

The New Theatre, Dublin

March 2015

Triskel, Cork

Town Hall Theatre Galway