May 30, 2005

balata film collective

in 2004 and 2005, a group of activists (among them a-films people) in balata refugee camp in nablus (palestine) formed a video collective to enable young palestinians from balata to break their isolation, challenge their oppression and and represent their lives to the world. workshops in independent media were held and about a dozen short clips were produced. so far some of these videos are available on the film group´s youtube account:

shadows of occupation
camp children prepare a shadow puppet theatre production as part of activities. during the performance, the characters of their imagination move from the screen onto the streets of balata. here´s the short clip:

elections under occupation
palestinians from balata camp speak out about the elections for the palestinian authority on january 9th, 2005. the short clip includes interviews with representatives of various organisations, as well as people on the streets.
click here to watch the video.

election furore in balata camp
the girl journalists hit the streets during voting to see what camp residents really think.
watch the clip here.

akoub - the challenge
the vegetable akoub plays an important role in both palestinian identity and cooking. this short clip describes how israeli checkpoints, settlements and military bases are making it an increasingly difficult and dangerous ingredient to gather. market vendors, vegetable dealers and palestinian grandmothers explain how even a simple vegetable has been forced to join the ranks of the resistance.
the akoub-film can be watched here.

palestinian embroidery under occupation
palestinian embroidery is a hidden form of resistance to israeli attempts at economic, social and political subjugation. women's embroidery is one of few means of economic independence, neither dependent on israeli contractors or its market. embroidery is also a powerful means of expressing identity and making a connection with the palestinian past prior to expulsion.
watch the short video here.

women in death castles
a high proportion of palestinian women prisoners in israeli occupation prisons are from the nablus region. in this film, recently released women from balata and nablus speak out about their pain and struggle while imprisoned. testimonies describe interrogation, physical and mental torture, loneliness. the video inccludes interviews with ex-prisoners, children of current prisoners and officials from the prisoners society.
click here to watch this film.

grass doesn´t grow in the camp
after 20 years in israeli prison, balata resident meqdad khatib is released. his newly-wed wife pregnant when he was arrested, meqdad had never seen his son mahmoud until he was also imprisoned. finally the family is to be reunited. however, mahmoud was killed by the israeli army in 2006.
the girl journalist team go along to the checkpoint and meqdad's house to check things out. along the way they come across israeli jeeps, praise-singing grandmothers and fields of green grass.
this joyful video can be watched here.

memories of the nakbe
rarely seen archival photographs alongside palestinian survivors remembering the 1948 'nakbe' (catastrophe), describing the expulsion from their land on which the suburbs of tel aviv have since been built and their subsequent struggles as refugees. memories include the terror immediately prior to fleeing, the slow realisation that they would not be returning home soon, the struggle to rebuild their lives in cramped refugee camps, and the increased resistance that grew once the Israeli military pursued them to the refugee camps.
click here to watch this clip.

birds of revolution besieged in balata camp
the schoolchildren of balata camp face up to israeli military force. as jeeps attempt to invade and enforce curfew, the children make clear that they won't submit.
here is the short film.

children of the stones
the children of palestine lead a childhood of oppression, struggle and isolation. faced with daily israeli military invasions, the short moments of relative quiet and safety take on unexpected importance and beauty. children of the stones opens up a snapshot of the daily lives of palestinian children.
this short video can be watched here.

for more information and videos from the balata film collective as well as for other ressources from the balata camp community projects, check out its webpage.