CATHERINE W GICHUKI
FLYING Paper is one film being screened at the ongoing Ajyal Youth Film Festival that defies the image of Gaza as war-torn region in Palestine. A compelling narrative, the documentary directed by Nitin Sawhney portrays the youth's love for peace through their passion for flying kites in a certain area of Gaza.
The documentary portrays the mission of a group of youths from the Jabaliya refugee camp and Seifa Village in Gaza to break the Guinness World Record on flying the largest number of kites.
It tells the story of Musa, a confident young kite maker, his sister Widad, and 16 year old Abeer, who lives in the refugee camp and dreams of becoming a journalist. They prepare for the much-awaited kite festival where the record breaking event is expected to take place. They make and fly kites despite hardships in their lives.
Addressing the media on Thursday Sawhney said that he wanted to tell stories of the ordinary people of Gaza.
"Ever since the war broke out in Gaza, the media reported only about the violence and the bloodshed there. The media talked about the victimisation of people and not about the positive stories of ordinary people. Therefore, I decided to focus on a story of the region that showed common people's zest for life", Sawhney said.
According to Sawhney, young children told stories that one never gets to see."We held workshops for children in the Jabaliya refugee camp. The children narrated stories of their plight, their struggle and also of their dreams and aspirations. We deliberately involved the youth of the area in the production of the film", he said.
Sawhney added that they had six units and in each production unit there were kids doing camera work and conducting interviews. The footages from the different units were edited through a professional camera and used for the film, he pointed out.
Sawhney said that the biggest obstacle that he faced while working on the film was getting into Gaza."I had to try many times through Egypt to get my entry into Gaza through Rafah crossing. This was during the Hosni Mubarak regime, when they were blockading the Gaza from all sides."
The Executive Producer of the film Uzma Hasan said,"This is a film that everyone can watch. It shows the reality of life in Palestine."