A World Not OursA’Lamun Laysa Lana
PALESTINE, UAE, UK / 2012 / Arabic, English / Color, B&W / Blu-ray / 93 min
Director, Script, Photography, Narration: Mahdi Fleifel
Producers: Mahdi Fleifel, Patrick Campbell
Editing: Michael Aaglund
Sound: Zhe Wu
Music: Jon Opstad
Associate Producer: Caglar Kimyoncu
Production Company and World Sales: Nakba Filmworks www.nakbafilmworks.com
The director, a refugee from Palestine who immigrated to northern Europe, repeatedly returns to a Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon where he once lived. He interweaves footage he records there with home videos left behind by his father, unearthing histories of his family and friends and the transformation of this refugee camp with frank storytelling. The tragic situation in which Palestine now finds itself is evoked from a perspective that is neither first person, nor completely third. The title of this film comes from a novel by Ghassan Kanafani, a Palestinian author who was assassinated in 1972.
[Director’s Statement] For me, making this film has been a conscious exercise in creating and maintaining memory. For Palestinians, and particularly those in exile, our identity and our collective memory as a people is constantly under attack, thus the mere act of documentation is part of a struggle to remain visible. Forgetting, for us, would simply mean ceasing to exist. Memories, even those trivial memories of everyday life, are the only proof we have of our existence. This duty to remember, to document, is one that I feel has been handed down to me from my grandfather and, particularly, my father. His obsession with filming nearly every moment in our lives was infectious and I have tried here to build on the record he left to create a portrait of existence as a Palestinian that portrays a more human story, not one solely framed by conflict and suffering.
Mahdi Fleifel is a Danish filmmaker of Palestinian origin. Born in Dubai, he was raised in the Ain El-Helweh refugee camp in Lebanon and later in the suburbs of Elsinore, Denmark. He began filmmaking at an early age—a hobby he picked up from his father’s obsession with video cameras. Fleifel studied at the NFTS in England under directors Udayan Prasad, Ian Sellar and Stephen Frears. His first-year film, Arafat & I (2008), screened in many international festivals and won prizes in Romania, Italy and the Czech Republic. In 2010 Fleifel and Irish producer Patrick Campbell set up the London-based Nakba Filmworks, through which they released Fleifel’s autobiographical feature A World Not Ours. The film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2012, and opened to high critical acclaim. Currently on the festival circuit, A World Not Ours has received multiple awards in Brussels, Krakow, Reykjavik, and Abu Dhabi, and was the recipient of the Peace Film Award at Berlinale 2013. Fleifel is now preparing his next project during his residency at the Cinefondation in Paris.