Lyd was once a thriving Palestinian city with a rich history. In 636AD, It was even considered the first capital of Palestine. When the State of Israel was founded, Lyd became an Israeli city, and hundreds of Lyd’s residents were massacred by Israeli forces and most of the city’s 50,000 Palestinians were sent into exile. Today, the city has a Jewish Israeli majority and a Palestinian minority and is known as the “drug capital of the middle east.” It is a shadow of its former glory and is disinvested and divided by racism and violence. For Palestinians, Lyd’s story is a painful and tragic fall from grace, which is why our film dares to ask the question: what would the city be like had the Israeli occupation never happened? LYD IN EXILE, a sci fi documentary, imagines answers to this question by telling two parallel stories: the documented story of the city and its remaining Palestinian people, and an animated, imagined reality in which the city was never occupied.

Through vignettes with a chorus of characters, the story of the city of Lyd unfolds but with a twist: the city, Lyd, is our main character and she has a lot to say. In a raspy voice, she explains that the massacre created a fracture in reality and now there are two Lyds, one occupied and one free. As she explains, dazzling animations reveal the liberated version of Lyd where the documentary’s characters live free from the trauma of the past and the violence of the present.