Mount presents film ‘My So-Called Enemy,’ panel discussion with director

February 28, 2017

Lisa Gossels, director of “My So-Called Enemy,” hosted a screening of her documentary at Mount Saint Mary College on Monday, February 27. 


Director Lisa Gossels hosted a screening and panel discussion of her award-winning documentary “My So-Called Enemy” at Mount Saint Mary College on Monday, February 27.

“My So-Called Enemy” uses the Israeli/Palestinian conflict as a lens for building multi-cultural understanding and offers a model for conflict prevention and resolution. Spanning seven years, the film follows a group of Palestinian and Israeli teenage girls committed to mutual understanding after participating in the women’s leadership program Building Bridges for Peace. It documents how knowing their “enemies” as human beings in the United States clashes with the realities of their lives back home in the Middle East.

“This is a film about not making assumptions about other people, the vital role of listening and building bridges of understanding, and the role of empathy,” explained Gossels. “We often have more in common as human beings on a core level than what divides us. We see that if we take the time to get to know somebody.”

Gossels described creating the film as “an eight year journey not only of learning, but of unlearning for me and stripping away some of the narratives I was raised with.”

She noted, “I hope the viewer will be transformed as well.”

In addition to Gossels, the discussion panel after the film included Yasmine Kalkstein, associate professor of psychology at the Mount, and Orin Strauchler, assistant dean of Student Support Services and director of counseling at the Mount. It was moderated by the Mount’s Dean Goldberg, associate professor of communication arts and film studies.

February 27 marked the second time Gossels visited the Mount campus: The director shared “My So-Called Enemy” with the Mount community in the Fall 2011 semester as well.

“I watched this film and I was really, really moved and inspired,” said Goldberg, who helped spearhead both Mount screenings. “That’s when I knew I had to bring it here to the Mount.”

The event was sponsored by Mount Saint Mary College’s Division of Arts & Letters, the Kaplan Family Library and Learning Center, and The Catholic and Dominican Institute.