Gisha hosts screening of the film Gaza for diplomats and employees of civil society organizations in the presence of directors Garry Keane and Andrew McConnell

On November 4, Gisha hosted a screening of the documentary film Gaza, Ireland’s entry for the 2020 Oscar Awards, in Tel Aviv, for an audience of foreign diplomats and staff members of both local and international civil society organizations. The event was sponsored by the Embassy of Ireland and attended by the film’s directors, Garry Keane and Andrew McConnell. Gaza was filmed over a period of four years, during which Keane and McConnell followed the daily lives of local residents, including a taxi driver, a paramedic, a young musician, and a fisherman’s son, as they face the challenges of life under closure.

The screening was followed by a Q and A with the film’s directors, mediated by Gisha’s director of international relations, Jessica Burnstein. When asked why they had chosen to make a film about Gaza, McConnell emphasized that they had wanted to tell the story of the Strip through the perspectives of ordinary people, as opposed to the prevailing framing of the Strip in international media, which focuses on the either the humanitarian crisis or on armed hostilities and war. Keane stressed that they had set out to get beyond the political aspects of the conflict and highlight the experiences, hopes and dreams of people from all walks of life.

The directors shared that obtaining permits to enter Gaza to shoot the film, throughout the years it took to make it, was far from simple. They had also hoped that two Palestinian Gaza residents who contributed to the making of the film would be able to attend its debut at the Sundance Film Festival in the United States, but despite concerted efforts by the festival’s producers, the two were unable to exit Gaza in time. McConnell said of their most recent visit to the Strip that “the most striking and truly depressing thing was that people were gradually losing hope.”