Posted by on September 17, 2012 in Blog

By Vieshnavi Rattehalli

2012 Fall Intern

Directed by Nitin Sawhney and Roger Hill and co-produced by a team of young filmmakers in Gaza, Flying Paper is a documentary film following the story of Palestinian youth in Gaza who embark on a quest to break the Guinness World Record for the most kites ever flown at once. The film opens on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, with aspiring journalist and filmmaker Abeer and her team interviewing a young Palestinian girl, Widad, and her brother, Musa, both of whom are lead characters in the film.

The upcoming kite festival has the children of the Jabaliya refugee camp in high spirits, engaged in a healthy level of competition with their peers to make and fly the best kites. Abeer and her team follow Widad and Musa’s activities in their home village of Seifa, on the northern border of Gaza in the contested buffer zone region with Israel. In the week building up to the kite festival, the documentary follows several story lines, trying at once to capture the symbolic meaning and essence of the kite festival to Palestinian youth (the children speak of the freedom they feel while flying kites), the logistical difficulties faced by the UN organizers (whether to use Chinese kites or allow the youth to fly handmade kites), and the difficulties of living in Gaza in the “buffer zone.”

The cinematic style of the film captures an intimate glimpse of the lives of Jabaliya’s residents, with the interviews adding snippets of the children’s somber reflection on life in a crowded refugee camp in Gaza (Ahmad, age 12, speaks of feeling like a prisoner who is momentarily set free with his kite soars through the air) dramatically placed in between moments of humor and snapshots of the past, as Ahmad’s family shares pictures of him as a young boy making and flying kites.

The documentary was filmed with handheld cameras, but the final cut was professionally edited with funds raised through a Kickstarter campaign that raised $28,956 from 286 backers. The film, a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization, is still seeking contributions to cover its overall production budget. The film was pre-screened at the New School in New York earlier this year on May 21, 2012. Flying Paper is currently in post-production and expected to be released in early 2013.

Watch the film’s trailer:


comments powered by Disqus