Gisha presents: Gaza’s Candy Kingdom, a short animated film about hope and the things that stand in its way

Sunday, October 15, 2017: Today Gisha is proud to launch Gaza’s Candy Kingdom, a short animated film about hope and the things that stand in its way, featuring a sweets and ice cream factory operating in the shadow of the decade-long closure and frequent military operations.

The animated short explores the impact of restrictions on freedom of movement on life in Gaza through the story of Noor, an imaginary character, who encounters the owner of the Al Awda sweets factory. The character of the factory owner is based on Mohammed Tilbani, a prominent businessman in Gaza and the Strip’s real-life Willy Wonka. The animated short was made in cooperation with Mr. Tilbani and features actors from Gaza.

The Gaza Strip is home to two million residents, including many young people like Noor as well as business-people and entrepreneurs like Mr. Tilbani. Israel wields extensive control over the Strip and maintains significant influence over many aspects of the daily life of its residents. Control is expressed in part through numerous restrictions on movement of people and goods in place now for decades, and more stringently so since 2007. The restrictions impede economic activity, let alone development, as well as reconstruction, denying residents of the Strip access to opportunities and preventing them from fulfilling their dreams and aspirations.

Amidst this harsh reality, the story of the Al Awda factory is a testament to both the resilience and potential of the Strip. Economic conditions in the Strip are no twist of fate, but rather a matter of policy. For years, a logic of pressure, including purposefully harming economic activity, has guided policy choices on who can travel and what can move through crossings. Residents of Gaza are entitled access to opportunities and to the basic human need for hope for a better future.