Regie // Dina Naser // Montage // Najwa Khachimi, Qutiba Barhamje // zu Gast: Dina Naser
(Jordan, Qatar, France, 2019, 86 min, Arabic with English subtitles >> Trailer)
Marwa and her younger sister Ayah and brother Mahmoud live in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. They fled from Syria with their mother and older brothers and sisters. When filmmaker Dina Naser starts documenting them in 2012, their respective ages are 11, 9 and 5.
The children speak openly with Naser about the horrors they experienced in Syria, but they remain resilient and cheerful. The setting is a huge camp cut off from the outside world by barbed wire. Here they live in primitive conditions, in a small space lacking running water or other basic necessities. Despite the hardships, this is where the children explore and play.
As the years pass, Naser sometimes loses contact with the family despite her best efforts. But the children continue to film each other with a camera she gave them. An abrupt turn of events at the end of the film reminds us of how precarious life is for this family fleeing war.
Dina Naser is a Jordanian director and producer of Palestinian roots, Dina first graduated with a BA in Art and Graphic Design in 2003. In 2013, Dina was granted the Docnomads scholarship program for master’s degree Documentary Filmmaking in Lisbon, Budapest and Brussels. Following her graduation, she followed her passion for filmmaking, and worked her way through diverse TV productions like Sesame Street, and film productions such as The Cut by Fatih Akin, and Inchallah by Anais Barbeau‐Lavalere. She then transitioned behind the camera, and began to independently direct and produce. Dina’s devotion for documenting is inspired by people who are seemingly ordinary, until you learn of their unsung circumstances, and by stories that spring from her homeland in Palestine. Her subjects are presented with poise and untainted perception, often touching on the veiled layers of certain communities and habitats. Her short documentary film ‘Shamieh’ (2011) portrays an aging Palestinian woman living in Zizya Refugee Camp – Jordan. Thereafter, she began investigating the lives of Syrian refugee children, which organically paved the way for her ‘Tiny Souls’ documentary film; first realized in a nine-minute format (2012), then developed as her first feature documentary (2019). Her award winning film ‘One Minute’ (2015) depicts a woman living in Gaza while it was under attack in 2014; it received the PerSo-Perugia Social Film Festival (Audience Award) and won Best Short Film Award in Nazra Film Festival. It also participated in many international film festivals, such as the 14th Festival of Mediterranean Short Film Tangier 2016, the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) 2017, the Arab Film Festival Berlin, and the Cairo International Women’s Film Festival 2017. She also co-directed ‘Sea Wash’ (2016), a short experimental film, which pays tribute to refugees who lost their lives at sea, in search of a safer future.