The Judge

Dec 8, 2018

9pm INDEPENDENT LENS - Documentary films produced by indpendent filmmakers featuring diverse subjects and character driven stories. THE JUDGE - Showing Shari’a law in a way we've never seen before--through the story of the first-ever female judge in Palestine’s religious courts--The Judge is portrait of a remarkable woman who overcame a male-dominated tradition to change minds. 


Middle East religious courts, including the Shari’a courts of Islam which adjudicate domestic and family matters, have traditionally banned women from serving as judges – until Kholoud Al-Faqih dared challenge that history.

In 2009, with the support of a progressive Sheikh, Kholoud became the first woman Shari’a judge in the Middle East with her appointment to a Palestinian Shari’a court in the West Bank. She dispenses justice in domestic and family affairs like marriage, divorce, abuse, and child custody, which have always leaned heavily in favor of men. With unique access to these courts, The Judge presents an unfolding vérité legal drama, with rare insight into both Islamic law and gendered justice in the Middle East. 


Erika Cohn - Director/Producer, The Judge

Erika Cohn is an Emmy Award-winning director/producer who Variety recognized as one of 2017’s top ten documentary filmmakers. Cohn co-directed/produced In Football We Trust, an Emmy Award-winning feature documentary about the unique faith and culture that drives young Pacific Islander men into the NFL; the film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was broadcast on Independent Lens. The Judge premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and also screened at DOC NYC, the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and more. Her work has been supported by IFP, the Sundance Institute, Tribeca Institute, Hot Docs, Sheffield, ITVS, Women in Film, BAVC and the CPB Producer’s Academy, among others. In 2013, Erika founded Idle Wild Films, Inc., which has released three feature documentaries and produced numerous branded content and commercial spots, including Gatorade’s Win from Within series, for which she received a 2016 Webby award nomination. Cohn is also an avid photographer and served as a U.S. Ambassadorial Film Scholar to Israel/Palestine.