Gaza Surf Club at Trowbridge

A POWERFUL and award-winning documentary, Gaza Surf Club, rounds off the third season of Getting Together Through Films, on Saturday 19th January at 2pm at Town Hall Arts, Trowbridge. The event also includes the premiere of  a short documentary, Six Days.

Gaza is a strip of land with a population of 1.7 million, wedged between Israel and Egypt and isolated from the outside world – 26 miles of coastline with a harbour that no longer services ships. Hardly anything gets into Gaza and even less gets out. The new generation is growing up with very few opportunities.

Against this background there is a small movement of people who find their own personal freedom in the waves of the Mediterranean. They are known as the surfers of Gaza, and their story is told in the 87-minute documentary Gaza Surf Club, by Philip Gnadt and Mickey Yamine. Over the last few decades, with great difficult and despite strict sanctions, 40 surfboards have been brought into the country. They give the surfers the opportunity to experience a small slice of freedom, between the coastal reminder of a depressing reality and the army-controlled three-mile marine border.

The film is preceded by the premiere of Six Days, directed and produced by Samiha Abdeldjebar. The  26-minute documentary portrays her first journey to Palestine in the spring of 2017. With footage she recorded during her trip, and in her own words, this is the story of an eventful six days in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

She witnessed evidence of the occupation: checkpoints, the infamous wall, the presence of the Israeli military, even one political prisoner’s hunger strike. She also experienced the legendary Palestinian welcome – the superb food and hospitality, from a children’s centre in Bethlehem to the hills of Battir, from a conference in Bir Zeit University to a brewery in Taybeh, in schools, churches and people’s homes.

Above all, Samiha’s film is a story of reunions and friendships, and of the remarkable vitality, dignity and resilience of the Palestinians. After the screening, she will share her experiences in a Q&A session.

Samiha has directed and produced several short documentaries about community, social justice and human rights since 2013. She works part-time for a mental health project in Swindon and is on the committee of Bradford on Avon Friends of Palestine (BoAFoP) which has been instrumental in organising this event. BoAFoP’s aim is “working for peace, justice and freedom for all people living in Palestine”. The group organises concerts, performances, talks, cultural exchanges, exhibitions, campaigns and film events.

Getting Together Through Films is a community cinema project curated by Lorena Pino that aims to build a bridge between people from around the world who live in Trowbridge and the surrounding areas, using film as a resource for a better mutual understanding.

For tickets and more information, visit townhallarts.co.uk