Skies above Hebron

A film by Esther Hertog & Paul King

Skies above Hebron is a coming of age story depicting three boys coping, each in his own way, with physical and mental obstacles enclosing life in their Palestinian hometown of Hebron.


Skies Above Hebron has been selected for IDFA Competition for Kids & Docs at the 33rd edition of the International Documentary Film Festival (IDFA) 2020.
Monday 23 Nov at 16:15 (online) world première at IDFA, Tickets:

TV broadcast
Wednesday 25th november at 22.25 on 2Doc IDFA Primeur: Skies Above Hebron. EO


Brothers Amer & Anas simply love pigeons, and spend days catching them on their roof in the old Palestinian city of Hebron. The birds fly freely, but the brothers are continuously watched by Israeli settler neighbors, and from two soldier posts overlooking their family home. The more thoughtful Marwaan lives on a street opposite a major Israeli settlement. To get home or to school he must daily face soldiers at the checkpoints. Marwaan resists human right violations in his neighborhood by filming the conflicts. Can these boys stay out of trouble? Filmed during five years in Hebron, this coming-of-age film depicts these boys’ challenges & hopes at the cusp of childhood.

Stills & Making off

Extended Synopsis

Filmed during 5 years ‘Skies Above Hebron’ documents three Palestinian boys, Amer (16), Anas (12) and Marwaan (16) growing up in the ancient city center of this West bank city. Hebron is the only major Palestinian city with a growing Jewish settlement built in its heart. Here 800 settlers live amongst Israeli soldiers who ‘protect’ them from 200.000 Palestinians. In Hebron’s old city Israeli military law is imposed. Palestinian police are banned, and armed checkpoints obstruct Palestinian traffic.

How do Amer, Anas and Marwaan cope with blocked off streets, abandoned houses, barricaded shops and confrontations with settlers’ eager to move into their houses? How is it to grow up in a place where you’re continuously watched over by soldiers and settlers, knowing that at any moment the army can arrest you? How do they deal with stressed and traumatized parents who sometimes become radicalized themselves?

Anas and Amer live window to window with settlers in their ancient family house in the heart of the old city. Two armed soldier posts on their rooftop protect the settlers opposite them. The brothers simply love pigeons, and spend most days on their roof catching the unsuspecting birds, breeding and flying them – and avoiding school. The birds fly high as Israeli settlers and soldiers watch the brothers. When the boys are rowdy the settlers accuse
them of throwing stones. Despite the constant fear of being arrested by the army, Anas and Amer passionately persevere with breeding pigeons on their own rooftop.

Marwaan lives opposite a large Israeli settlement in one of the last remaining inhabited Palestinian houses on Shehuda street. To get home or go to school he must daily face soldiers and pass on foot through armed checkpoints. Marwaan carefully documents goings on his street, by filming demonstrations or acts of violence. He worships his activist father, and follows his every word. Placed on the frontline of demonstrations since he was a baby, so far Marwaan has managed to keep a level head and stay out of trouble, but recently he’s discovered there is much more to life than just the conflict.

In 2012 Director Esther Hertog and Creative Producer Paul King premiered the internationally awarded film SOLDIER ON THE ROOF – documenting the daily lives of Israeli settlers and soldiers inside Hebron’s settlement. In SKIES ABOVE HEBRON Hertog-King take their cameras to the Palestinian side of the checkpoints – where from 2013 till March 2020 they filmed on and off in Hebron. Over a period of five years the filmmakers lived within the boys’ families and documented them growing up.


Written & directed by | Paul King & Esther Hertog
Editor | Ruben van der Hammen NCE
Sound design | Klink Audio, Marc Lizier
Line producer | Matthijs van de Laar
Head of production | Sylvia Baan
Creative producer | Harmen Jalvingh
Producer | Janneke Doolaard
Co-producer / Dutch broadcaster | EOdocs
Commissioning editor | Margit Balogh, Margje de Koning
Translation & Production Assistant Hebron | Amna AlMoraqtan
Line producer Hebron | Issa Amro
Translations | Sundus Al Azza, Abd Elrahman Salayma, Ruba Tamimi, Rami Warasna, Tarik Kasem, Salah Hanoun
Drone Operator | Royee Berkovitz
Voice-over Recording | Yuval Abraham
Grading | Michiel Rummens
Media Manager | Rob Maas / Postready
Online | Watse Eisma
Finishing | Jan Jaap Kuiper / Amator
Title Design | Chris Marmier / Xtuffdesign
Subtitling | Harry Pallemans
Impact Production | Bonnie Henderson
This film was developed at Greenhouse 2016 | Sigal Yehuda, Bruni Burres, Nenad Puhovsky, John Appel, Nino Kirtadze, Roni Bahat

Length | 55’
Language | English/Arabic Format | DCP, H265, PRORES