Objector directed by Molly Stuart
Objector directed by Molly Stuart

Objector directed by Molly Stuart makes its World Premiere as the “Spotlight Centerpiece Film” of the 2019 Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival. The documentary tells the story of Atalya, who like all Israeli youth, is obligated to become a soldier. Unlike most, she questions the practices of her country’s military and when she refuses military duty, is imprisoned for her dissent.

Atalya Ben-Abba comes from a family of military professionals. She always dreamed of becoming a combat soldier. But as she comes of age into political turmoil, she begins to question the narratives she grew up with and seeks to understand the perspectives of her so-called enemies. As she learns about the military’s role in the occupied Palestinian territories, Atalya seeks to veer off the course legally binding her to military service. Family legacies weigh on her as she grapples with what it would mean to refuse the draft. Ultimately, she becomes a conscientious objector and is imprisoned for her dissent. Her courage moves those around her to reconsider their own political positions and power to effect change.

Objector follows Atalya through her conscientious objection, imprisonment, and beyond, as she attempts to reconcile her Jewish identity, her love for her homeland, and her dedication to Palestinian rights. The film offers a window into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the perspective of a young Jewish woman finding her voice.


The documentary is directed by Molly Stuart – a director, producer, and editor based in the San Francisco Bay Area, a 2018 Women Peace and Security Fellow and a 2019 resident with SFFILM. While earning an MFA in Cinema at San Francisco State University, Molly won the Bill Nichols Excellence in Cinema Award, the Canon Best in Show Award, the Spotlight on Women in Film Award, and the Barbara Hammer Award. She has also won several film festival awards including Best Documentary Short, Best Short, and Best Young Women Storyteller Award.

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