YES Programs



YES Alumnus Becomes Reputable Film Director

Said Zagha Headshot

In 2022, YES alumnus from the West Bank, Said Zagha, announced the release of his short film, “Lovesick in the West Bank.” The film had its world premiere at the Urbanworld Film Festival in New York City. The film is about “a Palestinian family who hosts a young American tourist after a simple misunderstanding. But as chaos unfolds in their village, it doesn't take too long for them to become part of the absurd mayhem that immediately ensues.” 

Film Poster Lovesick In The West Bank

In 2011, Said returned to the United States for his undergraduate studies at Kenyon College in Ohio where he studied film and English. His 2016 short dramedy, "Five Boys and a Wheel", went on to play at over 40 film festivals worldwide and is currently streaming on the OSN TV Network. This dramedy won three awards in Mexico, Oman, and Algeria. Currently he is working on his first feature film, "Weedestine," a heist thriller set in the West Bank, which has received a production grant from the Royal Film Commission of Jordan. 

When reflecting on his career and the Palestinian film industry, Said shares, “Palestinian films are difficult to finance." He continues, "The process takes years and years. But Palestinian cinema continues to make waves at international festivals and showcases every year. There’s much to take pride in. With a selection of Palestinian films currently featured on Netflix, our work is gaining more exposure. My advice to Palestinian students who aspire to work in film production is to pursue it only if it’s a life-defining passion. It’s increasingly difficult to make a living as a filmmaker, anywhere in the world, so make sure what you’re getting into and seek mentorship.”

We are proud of Said and his accomplishments!