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Young women from Gaza trying to make a cinema to tell their stories

Young Palestinian women from the Gaza Strip are active in trying to make films that tell their stories and their daily suffering. Whether as a result of the Israeli blockade of the Strip, or because of social issues such as exposure to violence, deprivation of inheritance and social discrimination.

The movie “Homeland” is the story of the heroine

“Watan” is the title of a short movie, recently produced in Gaza, that reviews the story of a girl who was deprived of the circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic caused by infection with the new Corona virus, and the circumstances of Israel’s blockade of the Strip from meeting her fiancé, who is living outside Palestine.

The film deals with the societal injustice the heroine is exposed to, and this is the same view that is presented in another short film by the young director Sahar Labad, who chose to use the name “attempt”.

“Cinematography is a way for Palestinian women to make their voices heard and highlight their daily suffering,” Labad says.

She explains that the 4-minute film she directed dealt with the problem of childlessness in Gaza, and the social phenomena it produced, such as divorce or polygamy, according to her statement to the German News Agency.

Voice of “injustice”

Labad adds that she and other similar actresses and filmmakers in Gaza are trying to convey the voice of women to officials regarding the “injustice” inflicted on Palestinian women and their weak position in the local community.

“Attempt” is the fourth film directed by Labad, who was struck by a lick for not showing the film in his presence. To translate women’s eyes and what they say while they watch it, according to what she says, as she looks forward to directing more films, which narrate complex intertwined topics, in order to participate in them externally.

Motion Picture Carnival 4

Ten films were shown in early December, in what was called the Film Carnival in Gaza, organized by the Center for Women’s Affairs, funded by the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF).

The carnival was presented via the Internet due to preventive measures to combat the outbreak of the Corona pandemic, conditions that have contributed to an increase in cases of violence against Palestinian women, according to local specialists.

During the film carnival, which is held for the fourth season, young female directors presented films that simulate the suffering of women in Palestinian society, especially in the Gaza Strip, and its organization was part of the activities of a campaign to combat violence against women.

The suffering of Palestinian women

The coordinator of the Film Carnival, Dependence and Scarcity, says that the carnival message highlighted the suffering of Palestinian women during the Corona pandemic crisis, and the manifestations of increased violence against them.

Wacheh notes that the imposition of the general lockdown and the curfew have caused conflict within the same family. This prompted the directors and directors participating in the carnival to focus on this development, by monitoring the new life situation in the Gaza Strip.

She added that the films also deal with the health reality that women experience in light of the Coronavirus pandemic, and highlight the need to support the cinematic production of Palestinian women, promote the cinematic movement in the Gaza Strip, and encourage filmmakers and filmmakers to innovate.

For her part, Director of the Center for Women’s Affairs, Amal Siam, highlights the importance of various cinematic and creative works in promoting the total rejection of all forms of violence against women, and the pressure to demand the passage of the Family Protection Law from Violence.

The screening of 10 films in early December at the Film Carnival in Gaza, organized by the Center for Women’s Affairs, funded by the United Nations Democracy Fund (German)

Corona compounds the suffering

Seyam notes that organizing the film carnival aimed to shed light on the most important issues that women suffer from in Palestinian society, especially in light of the exceptional circumstances they suffer in light of the spread of the Corona pandemic.

She noted that the films participating in the carnival focused on many issues, such as emigration of husbands, polygamy, forcing women to marry, deprivation of inheritance, violence and discrimination against women, and their struggle in the face of poverty and male culture.

27 ideas were submitted to this year’s Film Carnival Competition, 15 of which were selected, and after production 10 films were selected for screening at the Carnival; However, these attempts to produce films and address the deterioration in the Gaza Strip are facing enormous difficulties and challenges due to the lack of funding and the weakness of the local film industry.

Film industry attempts

The Gaza Strip has been suffering from a strict Israeli blockade since mid-2007, and its population of nearly two million people is facing severe impacts on the economic and humanitarian conditions for them.

Cinema was thriving in Gaza in the 1950s, when the coastal strip was under Egyptian control. At that time, Gazans used to go to cinemas to watch various Arab and foreign films.

The old “Cinema Victory” building in central Gaza bears witness to the length of the cut in the city cinema, amid worn film posters and burning walls.

Gaza filmmaker Saud Muhanna says that attempts to make cinema in Gaza are still restricted in the absence of production companies. So we always see films with strong ideas and poor implementation.

Muhanna added that “the film industry in its true form is not the only one absent from Gaza, which lacks cinemas, and the old screening buildings have become abandoned after it witnessed the last show a quarter of a century ago.”

Most of the cinemas and theaters in Gaza were forced to close their doors in 1987, after the outbreak of the first Palestinian intifada, and the emergence of difficult economic conditions. When the Palestinian Authority was established in 1994, two galleries were reopened in Gaza. But they soon closed their doors in 1996.

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