WFC in Palestine story

Since beginning working in Palestine in 2008, WFC has run six successful programmes across the West Bank offering 90 training opportunities to young people from Balata Refugee Camp, Nablus, Aida Refugee Camp, Bethlehem, Bint Al-Azwar School, Ramallah and Qattan Foundation Cultural Centre in rural Nelin. [read more]

WFC in Palestine story continues…

Delivering over 300 hours of training in total, WFC worked with the young Palestinian film makers to produce films on subjects ranging from the challenges faced by a young couple in love to escaping from school, driving illegal cars, and the restrictions imposed upon young girls living in fatherless households by their older brothers.

In 2008 WFC ran its first training programme in partnership with Al Rowwad Cultural Centre in Aida refugee camp, Bethlehem. The workshop was attended by sixteen young people: five girls and eleven boys. Participants made two films. The first explored the difficulties of getting a date with a girl. The second followed a frustrated young poet as she struggles for recognition. The films benefited from Arabic rapping soundtracks that were supplied by the students.

In 2009 WFC returned to Aida Camp to run a follow-up training in Documentary Film Making. Participants learned how to develop a story concept for a documentary including the research, pre-production planning, and filming. The workshop resulted in three short-films focusing on issues relevant to their community: The impact of the economic downturn on traders in the market; the various ways the community use the local park; the traditional dance of ‘Dabke’ and the role it plays in Palestinian culture and identity.

Later that year, WFC partnered with Hoping Foundation to run the first of two training programmes in Yafa Cultural Centre, a youth community centre located in Balata Refugee Camp, Nablus. The young people aged between 12 and 16 years made some very competent films. One was about the environmental impact of throwing waste on the ground, another about the local church and its relevance for the community at large.

During this time WFC’s Founder CEO trained 6 professional Palestinian film makers and drama practitioners to deliver WFC training going forward. This team is led by WFC Founder Member, Nidal Atrash, maintaining a through line in style and concept. The WFC methodology endeavors to always encourage the youth they work with, nurturing the creative spirit and enabling an environment of trust in which young people feel confident enough to express themselves, questioning themselves and each other on the issues that arise.

In 2010 WFC ran possibly their most successful training to date, with pupils of the Bint Al- Azwar School in Ramallah. The school is for girls only but boys from a nearby school were invited to participate in the training as a joint activity. Creating a mixed class the 17 young students worked together to produce four insightful and extremely well constructed films. The subjected ranged from older girls pushing in the lunch queue, to boys escaping from school, the history of a local cave mentioned in the bible and the harmful effects of Coca Cola.

The follow up with Yafa Cultural Centre, this time making short fictional films, offered a rare and fascinating insight into the relationships of the camp. With an average age of 14 years, the group’s final film, entitled ‘The Punishment’, is a portrait of the dynamics that exist within families where fathers are deceased or imprisoned, often as a result of the conflict, and their young sons take control of the family. Although rudimentary, ‘The Punishment’ shows not only the impact of fatherless homes in a society immersed in conflict, it also demonstrates the will of the young women to express their discontent at being ruled by their older brothers. The complicated relationship between control and powerlessness, care and fear arise in this short yet compelling film.

This and other WFC films were featured in The British Council’s UK Palestine Film Festival, 2010, during which WFC was invited to present their work to audience members and youth groups across the West Bank. The festival was a highly acclaimed in both the UK and Palestine, and served to consolidate the relationship between The British Council in Palestine and World Film Collective

In 2011 WFC were delighted to begin a partnership with Qattan Foundation, collaborating on a project teaching 20 young people Documentary Film Making in rural Nelin. The group made four short documentaries. One was about driving illegal cars in the village, another about time management and the different ways boys and girls spend their time and the third, about a very old local tree, and the fourth about a cave of historic interest located nearby. This film has so far received over 420 views on YouTube. WFC very much looks forward to working with Qattan Foundation again in the future.

WFC has been continually impressed by the talent of Palestinian youth, and particularly by their ability to tell stories. WFC looks forward to expanding their programme to offer the full six-month, New Shoots training, during 2012.

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