Maysaloun Hamoud's debut film, "In Between," or "Bar Bahar," has been showered with praise internationally, scooping up awards at film festivals in Canada, Spain and Israel, however it has also polarized opinions. Among some members of the Palestinian community, it has faced calls to be boycotted. Hamoud even says she has received death threats on social media. The film, released earlier this year, details the lives of three very different young Palestinian woman who live together in a Tel Aviv apartment.
Laila played by Mouna Hawa, is a liberally minded lawyer, her roommate Salma, played by Sana Jammalieh, dreams of being a DJ and struggles to tell her Christian family she is gay. While their third roommate Nour, portrayed by Shaden Kanboura, is from a conservative Muslim background and is set to marry a controlling fiance. "In Between" depicts alcohol consumption, drug taking, casual sex and homosexuality, topics Hamoud admits are seldom discussed in Arabic-language films. The film also addresses sexual violence, the difficulties often faced by young Palestinians living in Israel, and the battle between tradition and modernity, between young and old.
The town of Umm-Al-Fahm, which has an overwhelmingly Arab-Israeli population and where the character Nour describes being from, took offense to how it felt it was characterized in the film. The town's leaders released a statement carried by the AFP News agency describing "In Between" as "without the slightest element of truth" and encouraged citizens to boycott it.
In an interview with CNN, Hamoud disclosed the extent the threats against her stemmed, stating that “There were threats to me, to the actresses, also to my family.” However, also divulged that the film received overwhelming support, “...(there was) also a huge amount of loyalty for the movie. People started to write and to talk about the movie as if the movie represented them and that they had to fight against the people who are against it.”