Khaled Jarrar: Displaced in Heaven

Found this on FB the other day, posted by Palestinian multi-artist Khaled Jarrar: Happy to announce that the film that I’m working on since two years ‘Displaced in Heaven’ is nominated to The Film Prize of the Robert Bosch Stiftung.

And I am happy to say that I have read the script of Palestinian Jarrar, whose work as an artist and filmmaker I have been trying to follow since I met him in 2011 at the Storydoc workshop in Greece. Trying to… not easy, since his activist work has brought him to galleries and exhibitions and streets in for example Paris. His film “Infiltrators” has gone all over the world. I wrote these words about it on this site: …a film that with its non-aggressive approach gives the viewer a unique account of the climbers, big and small, old and young, who go to Jerusalem illegally. To work first of all. It uses a non-linear structure, it has many angles and stylistical elements that wonderfully surprise you as a viewer, who is used to strong films in all genres, aggressive against the Israeli occupation. You have sometimes a clear laugh when you see the different ways of climbing, sometimes you laugh because of the absurdity, and sometimes you are moved and feel angry: this can not be true, this is not civilisation 2012! But it is.”

Under the title “A Dinner that Never Came” Khaled Jarrar has written a kind of background treatment for the film “Displaced in Heaven”. It is long time ago a story has moved me so much. Here is a long quote and a link to where you can be acquainted with it:

I wrote most of this story from a refugee shelter in Wessel, Dortmund, in mid-September 2015. The story is largely put together from notes and images gathered along the course of a journey I undertook, using false papers, from Mytilene, Lesbos, through to Athens, and then across Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary, and Southern Europe. I travelled with Nadira and her family, all of whom carry Syrian-issued documents for Palestinian refugees, who were fleeing civil war in Syria. I came to know the family well from the time I met them in Mytilene, on September 7, 2015, but their journey as refugees had started when they escaped from the Yarmouk Refugee Camp in Damascus and made their way to Istanbul in 2014. For that journey they carried Ahamed Abu Zamel who later died in Istanbul, from an injury to his head. Upon reaching Istanbul, after an unsuccessful first attempt to cross the sea in the so-called “death boats” six weeks before, they succeeded in reaching Mytilene.

When I met them, the family consisted of Nadira, a seventy-five-year-old wheelchair-bound woman; her daughter Mona, a school teacher; Nadira’s son-in-law Yousif; and Nadira’s son Mohie, a university professor. Mohie had left his wife Reeman, his eighteen-month old son Kinan, and his new born baby Jasmin in Istanbul because he was afraid to risk their lives after the unsuccessful first attempt to cross the sea. With tears in his eyes, he left his family in the hope that he could bring them to Germany if he managed to make it.

In 1948, Nadira Hawwari, then nine years old, was forced like hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to leave her hometown, Nazareth, in Galilee, and flee to Syria where she settled in the Yarmouk Refugee Camp in Damascus. Nadira lived her life in this overcrowded place, started a family, worked, and somehow made a home in this permanent temporary state of being a Palestinian refugee. In 2014, like millions of people living in Syria, she was forced to leave home again as a result of the unremitting violence in Damascus. Fearing for your life wherever you go — Daesh, the Al-Nusra Front, Bashar Assad’s brutal forces, everyone hell-bent on making life unliveable — this was Nadira’s life before she left. So she was forced to leave again, to leave what had become home, again, and journey towards Istanbul….

Photo: Mona, Yousif, and Mohiee pushing his mother Nadira to cross the border to Serbia 

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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