After premiering at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival, German-Lebanese indie documentary Gaza Surf Club is making its Egyptian premiere this weekend at Zawya, and we couldn’t be more excited.
Why? Well aside from the fact that several of the film’s crew members were raised in Egypt or Egyptian, including director Mickey Yamine and sound producer Sary Hany, the film’s storyline revolves around a lesser known side to Gaza – the surfing community of young and old residents alike, who use the watersport as their way to escape the harsh reality of living in Palestine.
Quite the mouthful? Not really: this 87-minute feature documentary is light and easy to follow, while its themes of politics, repression, occupation and bleak hopelessness are subtly addressed without being shoved down your throats.
One of the film’s main protagonist is 42-year-old Abu Jayab; a fisherman and surfer who mentors and teaches younger kids to surf in the turbulent and unpredictable Mediterranean Sea, and 23-year-old Ibrahim, who dreams of opening the Gaza Surf Club and travelling abroad to learn how to make surfboards in order to start his own club back home.
Our favourite lead character, however, is fifteen-year-old Sabbah, who challenges her conservative society’s norms by continuing to surf, with her proud father’s consent and support. We follow the three protagonists through travels, bureaucracy, interactions with their friends on the beach and their exploration of their hopes and dreams. The result is a fluid and subtle documentary on a very difficult situation; you’ll walk out feeling a connection to the characters, wondering about their futures and their living situations in Gaza.
Be sure to catch this exciting documentary at Zawya on Saturday, May 13th at 6.30PM and Zamalek Cinema on Sunday, May 14th at 6.30PM. For further information, check out Gaza Surf Club on Facebook.