This is what was written after I attended the Storydoc session in Ramallah, Palestine in March 2011: Nahed Awwad (PHOTO) showed us unique material from her 28 minutes long, scene divided disc. She presented what is to be an observational film entitled ”The Mail” that gives us both knowledge and emotion. Knowledge when it comes to the documentation of the transport of ID application papers in a cardboard box from the Palestinian authorities in the West Bank to Israeli authorities, that has its office in a settlement! Emotion, to mention just one scene, when a mother and her daughters watch a clip with the son/brother, who lives in Gaza and can not get a travel permit to see the family unless strong illness in the family is proved! Division, humiliation, what else would you call it – but here shown in a non-aggressive manner with big effect. She dares the pauses in her filming, what a relief in a stressed film environment where the idea seems to be to get as much as possible out to the audience as quick as possible.
Now – 8 months later – in Athens at the Storydoc session, the director generously invited her colleagues, the invited tutors and the broadcasters to watch her 110 minutes long rough cut of the film, that now carries the title “Gaza Calling”. The approach is the same, the characters are now developed – Samer who returns to Gaza from Ramallah on the West Bank, to his parents and to see his small sister for the first time and Hekhmat, the mother who with her daughters skype with her son in Gaza, walking along the beloved Sea. They can not meet.
The film is not finished, it will be cut down in the coming months, to be finished spring 2012. The impression is the same as when I first saw material in Ramallah in March – a strong film is on its way, told in a low tone it is a heartbreaking story about the Israeli apartheid policy that divides families from meeting each other. Civilisation 2011!