A newly-wed Palestinian schoolteacher gives birth to her child in an Israeli prison, where she fights to protect him, survive, and maintain hope.
Inspired by a true story and shot in a real prison, 3000 Nights traces a young mother’s journey of hope, resilience and survival against all odds.
Accused of helping a teenage boy on the run, newlywed Palestinian schoolteacher, Layal finds herself incarcerated in a top security Israeli prison for Palestinian and Israeli women. After Layal discovers that she is pregnant, the prison director pressures her to abort the baby and spy on the Palestinian inmates. Terrified but defiant, Layal gives birth to her child in chains.
Through her struggle to raise her son behind bars, Layal manages to find a sense of hope and meaning to her life. When prison conditions deteriorate and the Palestinian prisoners decide to strike, the prison director warns her against joining the strike and threatens to take her child away. In a moment of truth, Layal is forced to make a choice that will forever change her life.
Inspired by the true stories of children born in Israeli prisons and young women coming of age behind bars, 3000 Nights is first and foremost a human story of a young mother who, through her struggle to protect her child and her relationship with the prisoners around her, finds the space to reflect, develop, and mature as a young woman.
I first had the idea to make 3000 Nights when I was filming in my hometown, Nablus during the first intifada where I met a young Palestinian woman who had given birth to her son in an Israeli prison. I was profoundly affected to hear how she had delivered her child in chains and raised him together with the other women prisoners. I felt that this was a story that had to be told.
The film explores the meaning of motherhood, love, and betrayal focusing on the imagination, creativity and solidarity of women prisoners that empowers them to survive and endure. Prison is a metaphor for the condition of the Palestinian people under occupation and Palestinian women in particular. I am drawn to this story because it allows me to explore the complex relationships that take place within the intimacy of a confined, hidden space of a women’s world and to go beyond the relationship of conflict and into the realm of the unexpected bonds that can arise between captive women.
This story has been living with me for such a long time that I feel I have been imprisoned with these women and seen the same walls and heard the same sounds. For me this is a film about resilience and resistance. It is above all a film about hope.