'Gaza' -- new film explores life in 'the world's largest open air prison'

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'Gaza' -- new film explores life in 'the world's largest open air prison'

It's hard to imagine anybody living a normal life in the Gaza Strip. Frequently labeled as the world’s largest open-air prison, it makes an appearance on news reports every time a confrontation erupts between Israel and Hamas. From TV sets thousands of miles away, this tiny piece of land has been reduced to an image of violence, chaos and destruction. So what do the people do when they're not under siege?

Garry Keane and Andrew McConnell talk to Face2Face host David Peck talk about their new film Gaza, exploring themes of grace and humour, surfing and compromise, ordinary people and one-dimensional views of complex problems.

Gaza is a coastal strip which measures just twenty-five miles by six and is on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It is home to an eclectic mix of almost two million people. It is also occupied and controlled by the State of Israel.

Gaza cannot be understood in a purely political context or by analyzing tragic sound bites during conflict. It can only be understood by immersion, by living amongst its people and by recognizing and exploring its rich social diversity and cultural subtleties.

The film depicts a people plagued by conflict but not defined by it. It takes us on a journey through the physically broken and battered landscape, letting the cast of characters speak for themselves. Through them, the film makers want us to gain a nuanced understanding of what life is really like for its citizens. And by extension, grow and foster a rare familiarity and affinity with this truly unique place through a tender portrait of a beleaguered humanity.

For more info about the film head here.

About the Directors: 

Garry Keane Studied film at the London College of Communication and at the Irish National Film School and after graduating in 1992, he worked as a DOP in New York and London, before finally settling in Ireland, where he has been a documentary filmmaker for the last 25 years. In that time Keane has directed over 100 hours of TV documentaries for European and American broadcasters in over 20 countries worldwide. In 2011 he set up Real Films and since then Keane's documentaries have been nominated for 11 Irish Film & Television Academy Awards; of these, his films have won four, including two in the "Best Director TV" category in 2013 and 2018.

Andrew McConnell is an award-winning photographer who has been covering world events for over 15 years. His work often focuses on themes of conflict and displacement and has appeared many of the world's top publications. McConnell has worked in-depth on issues such as the Syrian refugee crisis, conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the forgotten Sahrawi people of Western Sahara, for which he was awarded 1st place at the World Press Photo awards. Based in Beirut, he has worked throughout the Middle East for the past eight years. Gaza is his first work as a film maker and follows on from his photographic projects in the besieged territory that began in 2010.

Among numerous honours, Andrew McConnell  has won two 1st place prizes at the World Press Photo Awards, 4 National Press Photographers Association awards, including the prestigious Best of Show, 1st place in the Pictures of the Year International, and 2 Sony World Photography Awards.

Image Copyright: Andrew McConnell, Garry Keane and For Real Films. Used with permission.

F2F Music and Image Copyright: David Peck and Face2Face. Used with permission.

For more information about David Peck’s podcasting, writing and public speaking please visit his site here.

With thanks to Josh Snethlage and Mixed Media Sound.

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