Gaza Surf Club - Getting Together Through Film

on Thursday, 03 January 2019. Posted in Events

The last film of the season...

The third season of Getting Together Through Films is coming to an end on Saturday 19 January at 2pm at Town Hall Arts, Trowbridge, with the film screening of the award-winning documentary “Gaza Surf Club” by Philip Gnadt and Mickey Yamine, and the premiere of the short documentary film “Six Days” by Samiha Abdeldjebar, a French-Algerian filmmaker living and working in Wiltshire.

Gaza is a strip of land with a population of 1.7 million citizens, wedged between Israel and Egypt and isolated from the outside world. 26 miles of coastline with a harbour that no longer services ships. Hardly anything gets into Gaza and even less gets out. The new generation is growing up with very few opportunities, but against this background there is a small movement of a group of people who find their own personal freedom in the waves of the Mediterranean. They are known as the surfers of Gaza, and their story is now presented in the 87-minute documentary “Gaza Surf Club”.

Approximately, 40 surfboards have been brought into the country over the past few decades with great difficulty and despite strict sanctions. It is these boards that give them an opportunity to experience a small slice of freedom, between the coastal reminder of a depressing reality and the army controlled three-mile marine border.

“Gaza Surf Club” was screened in 2018 as part of the Bristol Palestine Film Festival. Its World Premiere was at Toronto International Film Festival (2016), then it was presented at “Best of Fests”, IDFA, Netherlands (European Premiere, 2016); since then the film has been shown at more than twenty International film festivals.
   
The event on January 19 will start with the premiere of the short film “Six Days” (26 minutes) which was directed and produced by Samiha Abdeldjebar. The documentary portrays her first journey to Palestine in the spring of 2017. With footage she recorded during her trip, and in her own words, this is the story of an eventful six days in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

During her brief stay, she witnessed evidence of the occupation; checkpoints, the infamous wall, the presence of the Israeli military, even one political prisoners’ hunger strike. She experienced the legendary Palestinian welcome; the superb food and hospitality, from a children’s centre in Bethlehem to the hills of Battir, from a conference in Bir Zeit University to a brewery in Taybeh, in schools, churches and people’s homes. Above all, this film is a story of reunions and friendships, and of the remarkable vitality, dignity and resilience of the Palestinians.

Samiha will be sharing her experiences with the audience after the screenings in a Q&A session. She has directed and produced several short documentaries around community, social justice and human rights since 2013. Additionally, she works part-time for a mental health project in Swindon and sits on the committee of Bradford on Avon Friends of Palestine (BoAFoP) which has been instrumental in organising this event.

BoAFoP is a local organisation “Working for peace, justice and freedom for all people living in Palestine”. Founded in 2013 their mission is “work to hasten the end of the Israeli Occupation through just and peaceful means, that the Palestinian people may enjoy the same freedoms, equal rights and security as the Israelis living in the region”. To meet their objectives they organise concerts, performances, talks, cultural exchanges, exhibitions, campaigns and film events.   

This screening is presented by Town Hall Arts in partnership with BoAFoP and has been possible with the support of Film Hub South West and their programme Beyond Boundaries with funds of BFI Film Audience Network - National Lottery with equipment from Cinema For All, and technical advice from Chris Baker, without his expertise this project would not have been possible.  

Getting Together Through Films is a community cinema project curated by Lorena Pino that aims to build a bridge between people from around the world who live in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, and the surrounding areas, using film as a resource for a better mutual understanding. The universal power of cinema is used to speak to others about different cultures. It creates a safe environment to share ideas and is open to members of the whole community whatever their background.

Tickets are only £5 for adults and £3 for under 16s and are available online at townhallarts.co.uk, by phone 01225 774306 or can be purchased directly at Town Hall Arts, Market Street, Trowbridge, BA14 8EQ. The price of the tickets includes a traditional Middle Eastern light buffet.