This project reports on life as experienced by men, women and children in Gaza (Palestine) and Sderot (Israel): their lives and their survival on a daily basis. Under difficult living conditions and the threat of air attacks and bombings, people do keep on working, loving and dreaming. Life in spite of everything.
In order to document this will to live, short chronicles (2 minutes each) will be shot by both Israeli and Palestinian teams, day after day for two months. These short stories will follow six characters from Gaza and six from Sderot. In this way, we will have a new story of each character every week, and the viewer will be able to follow them intimately for 10 weeks. The stories will be aired via the Internet and users will have a personal, interactive and non-linear access to these contents on the site ARTE France which will include the videos, blogs, forums, links etc.
Gaza Sderot is an original project broadcast by Arte.tv, the official site of ARTE, the French-German cultural television station, in coproduction with an Israeli team - Alma Films/Trabelsi Productions in cooperation with The Sapir College in Sderot, a Palestinian team - Ramattan Studios, a French documentary production company - Bo Travail ! and an interactive production company Upian.com.
On Saturday, October 25th, "Gaza Sderot" won the "Prix Europa" which took place in Berlin.
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2008: For some, it is the 60th anniversary of the creation of the state of Israel; for others, the state of Nakba.
Is it still possible today to speak of an Israeli-Palestinian conflict in order to try and understand how so much could change without much changing at all?
Is it possible to distance ourselves from the incessant flood of images and daily dispatches without the excesses and assumptions taking over? Is it still possible to show what’s happening in another way ?
It is the result of working together with the Israeli producers Arik Bernstein (Alma Films) and Osnat Trabelsi (Trabelsi productions) and Palestinian producers Abdelsalam Sheada et Yousef Atwa (Ramattan Studios) that an idea came about to devote daily chronicles to the two cities of Gaza and Sderot.
This kind of daily chonicle documentary has been existing for a long time and was inaugurated by Patrice Barrat in Sarajevo in 93/94, in Belfast in 1995, in Algiers in 1998 and in Ramallah in 2003. Today, Gaza Sderot is emulating it, tomorrow... In these unique cities struck by civil and religious war, experience shows us that being aware of everyday life allows us to change the viewpoint of outside observers. It also allows us [to get at a more truthful angle]/[to provide a more accurate account] in order to explain some of the most inextricable situations, by revealing the lives of ordinary people day to day, the lives of citizens who simply want to live. Another way to analyse the political and socio-cultural context of the hot spots of this world.
With this Gaza – Sderot project we are placing these two cities in parallel; [in the same plane]/[on the same page]. The habitants of two cities so close and yet so distanced from each other. Brothers as inseparable enemies, linked by the destiny of the region.
We are trying to make them talk, to tell their stories side by side. Because the banalities of everyday life say more than all of the hardships they are living through. If such a direct dialogue is still possible today, it may not be tomorrow. Here there is no unnecessary babble, no false pretences, only fair words. Uncalculated and spontaneous words spoken in the present. This is what documentaries via the internet allow.
Gaza-Sderot 2008: A daily meeting with habitants of Gaza and Sderot who will be followed over the course of these few weeks. A few weeks during which anything might happen. Between the sad and the happy. Anything between laughter and tears, hope and despair, optimism and pessimism...
Writer Emile Habibi invented a fictional character Saïd who was nick-named: The Optissimist.
One word in summary that links Gaza and Sderot.
Head of the Current affairs, Society and Geopolitics Unit of Arte-France
With the precious help of Denis Chiron
The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories
With the support of the Centre National de la Cinématographie
We really thank OVERSTREAM for their adaptation of their Subtitle Tool.
Director of the Unit Current Issues & Society and Geopolitics
With Georges Bonopéra and François Fèvre
Arik Bernstein – Alma Films
Osnat Trabelsi – Trabelsi Productions
Associates from Sapir College, TV & Cinema School
Hagar Saad Shalom, Sapir Coordinator
Rimon Levi, Chief Information Officer
Meital Abekasis, Assistant to Content Editor
Sigal Golan, Sapir PR
Shlomo Avital, Chief of Technical Department
Damian Kitaigrodsky, Post Production Officer
Yousef Atwa - Ramattan news agency
Cameraman and producer
Ibrahim Yaghi & Ahmed Shehada
Khalil al Muzayyen
Lana Matar & Hala Nasrallah,s
assisted by Alexander Knetig
Design and graphic conception
Sebastien Brothier & Eric Drier
with Denis Chiron
Nicolas Menet & Maxime Quintard
Hans Lemuet, Remy Vuong
Flash and webdesign team
Jerome Goncalves, Thomas Deyries, Pauline Schleimer
Jules Vo-Dinh et Arnaud Lavrard / Typhon
Upian deeply thanks Benjamin Bejbaum for his precious support.
Upian thanks especially Sarah Herz for her essential help
Upian thanks Adrian Gandour, Caspar Sonnen, Cecile Cros, Chryde, Denis Hovart, Don et Teboho Edkins, Frederic Bourgeais, Guillaume Blanchot, Karim Moreau, Laurence Bagot, Laurent Cairoli, Laurent Mauriac et Rue89, Le CRED, Linn Sackarnd, Manuel Schapira, Marc Eychenne, Max Rozenoer d'Overstream, Ouriel Ohayon, Philippe Couve, Philippe Lacour, Thomas Baumgartner, Vadim Dumesh, Valerie Bourgoin, Vincent Moon, Yann Ulrich.