APPEAL: $3000 dollars needed for studies of gifted Palestinian filmmaker October 16, 2012

Dear Friends and Supporters,

For a year now Ibrahim Nawaja has been studying documentary film-making at the college of Dar al Kalima in Bethlehem. This could not have happened without the financial support and encouragement he has received from supporters and friends. Ibrahim is now going into his second and final year of this course and I am writing in order to help us raise funds for his studies again. Socially and intellectually, studying this course has been hugely stimulating for Ibrahim. In this letter I would like to share with you some of the things he has done during his time in Dar al Kalima which have been not only important for him personally but for his community as well.

Since starting at Dar al Kalima Ibrahim has been updating me about his experiences there and what he has been learning, part of which he last year shared with his supporters in a beautiful letter which shed some light on his experience there. But during all this time I was waiting to see what he had learned in the realm of film-making. His first practical assignment was to do a reproduction of one of the classic sequences in film history, Eisenstein’s “Odessa Steps” from The Battleship Potemkin. Ibrahim showed me what he had done, and I was simply stunned. I have been making films for more than a decade and was impressed by the elegance of his work – the location he chose, the rhythm of the cuts, the angles of shots, the tension that is built. It is rare that someone can produce this kind of work for a first assignment. With Ibrahim’s permission I am pleased to send you a link to his clip so you can also appreciate it and see how gifted he is – (the password to view it is ‘odessasteps’). For his final assignment in the first year of studies, Ibrahim made a short film about old homes in the town of Yatta, which we will upload and send you the link once we receive a copy.

As his studies went on, however, we all saw the sad and frightening events of June in Susiya, when the entire village was threatened with demolition orders. Ibrahim’s reaction at this time said much about how he has approached his studies – as an opportunity and a source of hope that he grasps with all his creativity and love. When the demolitions in Susiya seemed inevitable Ibrahim took the initiative of making a short film in order to personalize the issue – to make the point that it is not just about destroying people’s homes, but their lives. He wanted to make people know whose lives the demolitions will be destroying. This video was made in the most simple fashion because of time and equipment constraints – with the whole process completed in the space of a week and using only a tiny video camera and a tripod. Ibrahim asked five women and four men in Susiya to share their feelings and fears about living under the constant threat of demolitions and expulsion by the Israeli authorities. With the help of his friends from the Villages Group we co-edited the film with him. Ibrahim’s use of the skills he had learnt over the last year and his sensitivity towards the project resulted in this short video – an authentic and human testimony of the residents of Susiya:

Currently Ibrahim is working on ideas for the future, such as filming a music video for a rap song he wrote about life in Susiya. Ibrahim has also started to think about his ambitions after he finishes his studies and has come up with an idea, and impressive proposal, for a mobile social and creative centre to work with different villages in the South Hebron Hills. In addition he was invited to present his experience with the Susiya creative and learning center at the 4th International Conference on Peace and Reconciliation (ICPR) in Jerusalem. We are all very excited about these ideas and will keep you updated about the progress of Ibrahim’s projects. I await eagerly to see how Ibrahim continues to develop his ideas and initiatives with such creativity, and I have a hunch we will all be hearing much more from Ibrahim in the coming months and years.

Ibrahim has another year of studies starting in September and I am asking you to consider helping him to complete the course. We are raising funds for Ibrahim’s tuition and part of his living expenses. The overall cost is 3570 Euros (AUS$4500) for a year (three terms). We are trying to raise 2380 Euros (AUS$3000) and Ibrahim and his family will try and raise the other 1190 Euros (AUS$1500). We have managed to secure about 500 Euros so far. If you would like to make a donation to help Ibrahim finish he studies you can send cheques or make a bank transfer to one of the accounts of members of the Villages Group depending on the currency.   Please write to the Villages Group email  or to myself, David Massey

On behalf of the villages group

David Massey

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