UNRWA Gaza documentary wins film festival award

08 December 2010

8 December 2010
East Jerusalem

No Sharp Objects, an UNRWA documentary that follows a group of Gazan teenagers as they take a remarkable journey to the United States, won the award for Best Film (Human Rights) at the We the Peoples Film Festival in London last month.

Director Johan Eriksson received the award at the National Film Theatre in London on 27 November. He said: "These 15 boys offered the most bountiful filmmaking opportunity anyone can wish for. The way they interacted with everyone they met on the trip was truly heartwarming."

The film, produced by UNRWA’s Gaza field office, features 15 boys – all aged 15 – who were among the top students on the human rights, conflict resolution and tolerance programme that is taught in all UNRWA schools in the Gaza Strip.

Most had never been outside Gaza before. They had lived through the war and felt the consequences of isolation all their lives, seeing homes destroyed, and living with death and deprivation. One of the boys‘ fathers was dying of cancer because of lack of access to adequate treatment.

The boys can’t believe their eyes at the hotels, aeroplanes and highways they encounter during their road trip.

In Washington they confronted congressmen and homeless people in the same unassuming way. Seeing snow for the first time was as exciting as meeting the dignitaries and seeing the Washington monuments. They left members of the Security Council at a loss as to how to react to their bear hugs.

Then, two days after seeing the lights of Times Square, they heard the iron gate at the border between Israel and Gaza close behind them. The next morning they woke up in the devastation of Gaza thinking they had been in a dream.

To mark International Human Rights Day, the film will be premiered on 9 December at the French Cultural Centre in East Jerusalem. For more details, please contact the UNRWA Public Information Office at [email protected]

For more information about the We the Peoples Film Festival, visit www.wethepeoples.org.uk

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For more information please contact:

Chris Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0) 54 240 2659
[email protected]

Sami Mshasha
UNRWA Arabic Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0) 54 216 8295
[email protected]

Background Information

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA Programme Budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s Programme Budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.

For more information, please contact:

Two UNRWA students from Gaza enjoy recess in their first day of school. © 2017 UNRWA Photo by Rushdi Al-Saraj
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