(MENAFN- Jordan Times)
AMMAN — Up and coming filmmaker Abdallah Al Khatib won first place in the documentary category for his film,“Little Palestine: Diary of a Siege” at the Amman International Film Festival (AIFF) last Wednesday.
“Little Palestine: Diary of a Siege” is a depiction of daily life in Yarmouk, where Khatib was born, the site of Syria's largest Palestinian refugee camp, from 2011 to 2015.
The film follows the camp under siege and cut off from necessary resources, according to AIFF's description of the film.
Some of the problems the film portrayed were the difficulties in obtaining food and medicine amid gunfire and bombings, but the hardships were juxtaposed with moments of music and dancing — spotlights of human nature, Khatib said.
“This is the way of life,” he said.“We don't have any other choice but to try to live.”
He did not even decide to turn his footage into a documentary until after he left the camp in 2015, Khatib told the Jordan Times.
“I didn't think that I was the person to make these films. The decision to make a documentary was a subsequent decision, after I left Syria. I knew the story of the camp, so I thought maybe I could make a documentary, but I didn't have any experience. Never in my life had I gone to the cinema or studied cinema,” he said.
Part of the reason for the film's success was collaboration with other producers. Specifically, Syrian producer Mohammed Ali Atassi, and French producer Jean-Laurent Csinidis, Khatib said.
Khatib endured the siege first hand, which made the documentary a“personal topic”, and he needed a third party to offer another viewpoint and distance himself from the footage, said Khatib.
Additionally, he needed advice from seasoned filmmakers Atassi and Csinidis to present his story through the best lense.
Despite the help Khatib received, he noted the importance of the story being told from someone close to the subject and not from the perspective of an outsider.
“My personal experience helped me with the film. The viewer walks with me,” he said.
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