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Directed by Tom Jackson of Joe Public Films, the 60 minute movie strives to open eyes and hearts to the reality of life in occupied Palestine. We dedicate our movie to the youth of Gaza, infancy to young adulthood, in hopes that they will soon experience, freedom, peace with justice, and the reality of “All we want is to be ordinary,” in the words of Mahmoud Darwish.

Eyewitness Gaza is a recent documentary movie about Gaza thru the photography of Skip Schiel. Between 2004 and 2010 he visited Gaza five times, shortly before and after Operation Cast Lead, the vicious Israeli assault on a virtually defenseless people trapped in the Strip and under siege since 2006. Because Israel justifies its ongoing attacks by citing the rockets fired by Gazan militants into Israeli civilian areas (Schiel opposes any attacks on civilians, and generally any use of violence by any party for any reason, an element of his Quaker and Christian beliefs), Schiel visited one of those towns, Sderot. less than 1 mile from Gaza. During two recent trips he has gained first-hand experience of life among Israelis, assessed trauma, and supported Israelis who contest some Israeli policies.

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The movie is  downloadable (maybe not with the same quality as on PEG Media, noted below) on YouTube.

And on Vimeo.

To order DVD copies of the movie.

Three minute preview

Thru PEG Media Public Access TV stations and producers can download a full version of our movie, Eyewitness Gaza. First register as a user. Then find the fastest and most stable connection possible, though­­ otherwise it will take forever and if the connection is lost, one must begin again.

Register

Eyewitness Gaza download

About the movie (with a preview).

In addition to this movie, Schiel has published a book by the same title. And maintains a website and this blog. He is also available to tour with his slide shows and photo exhibitions. You can usually reach him at skipschiel@gmail.com and 617-441-7756.

Photos from the movie:

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For community access TV stations and others who might wish to download our new movie and broadcast it—other distributors and venues as well. You can now download the movie at no charge thru PEG Media. (However, you must be registered.) Please consider forwarding this to your local station.

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In Eyewitness Gaza, Skip conveys his personal observations on events in Gaza, the complexities and consequences of action and reaction at the military and governmental level and its affects on real people. The video graphically depicts the emotional as well as physical affects of violence and offers hope in statements from young people about their commitment to non-violence. Sadly, it also describes how opponents of a peaceful approach discourage such actions. It is a compelling insight into the situation in Gaza.

—Joan Raducha, American Friends Service Committee, Madison Wisconsin

Detail For Show: Eyewitness Gaza

Description:

Eyewitness Gaza shows an accurate view of current life in Gaza, through the lens of photographer Skip Schiel. His photographs and reflections on many trips to Gaza show the unique position Gazans are in: under siege, under occupation, constantly threatened by attacks from Israel and their own political factions, with little awareness or concern by the rest of the world.

Central to “Eyewitness Gaza” are Gazan youth. How do they survive a siege and marginalizing by the world community? Through events in Palestine such as the Gaza Youth Break Out movement, and to the most recent manifestations of violent and nonviolent transformation of “Arab Spring”, Schiel and his camera chronicle a community trying to rebuild itself.

Type of Show: Specials

Target Viewing Market: National (US)

State of Production and/or Target State or Province: New Hampshire

Frequency of Episodes: One time show

Producer: Joe Public Films

More information about Eyewitness Gaza

What is PEG Media?

PegMedia.org is a media transfer site for PEG (Public, Education, Government) community television stations and producers of media for these stations. This site is an easy way for producers to make their programming known and available to many stations simultaneously and, at the same time, to give stations a wide variety of programming from which to choose.

The stations who use PegMedia for content cover tens of millions of cabled homes and represent more than 50% of the total cable viewership in the US, giving producers a very large potential audience.

We welcome producers who are PEG stations, independent producers, musicians, and documentary and film makers, in a wide variety of genre.

More about PEG Media

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The preview by Tom Jackson and Joe Public Films will open the evening.

Eyewitness Gaza

A new slide show by photographer Skip Schiel

Thursday, February 24, 7:00 pm at the Cambridge Family YMCA Theater

820 Massachusetts Ave. , Central Square , Cambridge

Public discussion moderated by Dr. Nancy Murray,
President of the Gaza Mental Health Foundation

Information:617-441-7756, schiel@gmail.com

Directions to the theater

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Hesham Mhanna, Josef Nateel, Adham Khalil in the northern buffer zone,
border wall with Israel in the background

PHOTO SAMPLE

Thanks to a benefactor I met on one of my photo tours to the southern United States 2 years ago, I’m part of a team making a movie based on my photography about Gaza. The movie will be primarily about Gaza—thru my eyes, my lens, my craft. Eyewitness Gaza is our tentative title. Tom Jackson of Joe Public Films, widely experienced in making documentaries about the Middle East and the environment, is our director.

To make this movie our team first recorded an interview with me during the summer of 2010 at the Quaker meetinghouse in Cambridge. Topics ranged from what I intend with my photography to how and why I began this project. We chose the setting because of my Quaker orientation. At the end of 2010 I was in Gaza for nearly 6 weeks, also Yaffa, Tel Aviv, and Sderot (the small Israeli city near Gaza that Gaza militants have hit repeatedly with homemade Qassam rockets)—primarily to produce video showing me making photographs and teaching photography. We concentrated on daily life under the siege and during the internal violence, non-violent resistance to both, humanitarian services to afflicted people, and the Quaker Palestine Youth Program (run by the American Friends Service Committee). My photography teaching is a way to enter more directly the lives of university-aged youth and to help them learn tools for showing their own experiences.

We’ll include context, mainly history that acknowledges the severe violence and human rights’ violations of the past century, and also the longer history that indicates how the land has been shared for millennia. We use personal stories whenever possible: Omsyat, a young woman living in a tent after Israel demolished her home more than 2 years ago, saying how she is afraid to be happy; Ibrahem, a close friend of mine nearly killed during the factional violence, revealing his pain at knowing his own people shot him; and how Mohammed, a young man who lost both legs when hit by Israeli machine gun fire persists, as a photojournalist.

Skip Schiel, Gaza City, December 2010, photo by Kanaan Samouni

In Gaza we hired a local crew headed by Adham Khalil, gifted in developing leads with an eye on video possibilities, and close to many of the programs we wished to include. We hired two local cameramen, Josef Nateel and Mohammed El Majdalawi.  Thus our personnel were all from Gaza, intimate with life there, sharing their experiences while using their multiple talents.

On February 24, 2011, I’ll present my new slide show based on recent photos and stories at the Cambridge YMCA Theater. Several video crews will record this event, including possible hostile discussion. That footage will be edited with the Gaza and earlier interview footage to make our documentary. Al Gore’s laudable movie, An Inconvenient Truth, has been a model for us, basing his movie on his much shown and acclaimed slide show about the environment. As his movie is about the environment and his related educational work, our movie will be about Gaza and my related photographic work.

We have high hopes for our movie: festivals, theatrical showings, distribution via the Internet, wide use by activist groups, and general distribution. We hope it will play a significant role in ending the siege and internal violence by opening more people’s eyes to a reality that scorns international law, humanitarian rights, and civility. As Martin Luther King Jr said, silence is complicity.  We plan to help end that silence.

To give you some sense of our recent feelings about our work I conclude with letters from Tom Jackson, the movie director, and myself.

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Tom Jackson:

Greetings, everyone!

I finished uploading the footage from Skip’s recent trip to Gaza. The production team in Gaza did an excellent job and we have a lot of good material to work with! Thank you, Adham, Jozef, Hesham, and Mohammed for doing a great job!

Our next step is filming Skip’s presentation in Cambridge, Massachusetts on February 24. We have rented a theater, and I have put together a team that is experienced with a multi-camera shoot which will go a very long way in terms of creating a sophisticated framework with high production values for the documentary.

After that, we begin editing.

This is a wonderful project to be working on, and I believe it will help to educate many people, particularly here in the US, about the injustices ongoing in Gaza and Palestine in general.

Many thanks to all of you for your roles in making this documentary happen!

Peace,

Tom

Skip Schiel:

tom (and others),

you just wrote an excellent overview of our project. thank you.

i happen to be watching the footage myself right now, as you wrote and sent. providential? my main concern currently is that we have everything that we shot. let’s hope.

(special note to adham, mohammed, and yousef: please save the files until further notice, despite what i wrote earlier about thinking i had everything. just in case.)

the darag team hip hop group interview and performance are particularly moving, it speaks for much of my experience in gaza.

we should add to the list of thank you’s all those interviewed such as ibrahem, all those speaking such as amal, tech support people like islam, consultants such as mona, funders like yazan and lin, and all those appearing whose names we might not have like the vivacious head teacher in the kindergarten.

i can adapt my footer from goethe to read: those who do not expect millions of viewers should not video record even one second.

more later. we are moving forward. onward!

—Skip

He who does not expect a million readers should not write a line.

—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

LINKS:

Joe Public Films

Eyewitness Gaza, the slide show and not the movie, to be screened in Cambridge Massachusetts on February 24, 2011

Gaza Movie Prospectus

Gaza Movie Concept Paper

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