الشهر: فبراير 2012

فبراير 2, 2012

Thankful For Cinema: See Tarzan and Arab’s Journey To Austin

Tarzen and Arab are twin filmmakers from Gaza who had never seen a movie in a theater. The Drafthouse smuggled them to Austin to see their first projected film – as well as their own film on a big screen in front of an audience.    Weeks ago I told you the story of Tarzan and Arab, the filmmaking brothers who escaped Gaza to come to Texas. Their goal: to see a movie on the big screen for the first time. After lots of uncertainty and a little bit of danger, they came to Austin and entered the Alamo Ritz on 6th Street, where their short Colourful Journey played before a screening of their favorite film, Cries and Whispers.
While they were in Texas Tim League and the rest of the team from the Alamo Drafthouse showed them the best the state had to offer, including the Austin Studios, I Love Video and more. Their visit was documented, and this short featurette lets you meet Tarzan and Arab and see what their experience was like.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and most of us will be doing

the big family dinner thing. As you're remembering what you're thankful for, take a moment to give a nod to cinema. Not just escapism and entertainment, at its best cinema is like emotional telepathy, allowing filmmakers to beam ideas and feelings straight into you through the power of the big screen. And while you're at it, be thankful for repertory theaters; the experience of seeing a great movie on a big screen with a warm audience is one of the best things the modern world can offer us, and it's something many of us take for granted.
Tarzan and Arab's journey is not over! They are working on a feature film, and there's a Kickstarter dedicated to helping them fund it. Check it out right here. badassdigest.com/2011/10/21/escape-from-gaza-how-palestinian-filmmakers-tarzan-and-arab-made-it-to-aust/

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فبراير 2, 2012

Film comes from deep in the art from gaza Arab & Tarzan

Film comes from deep in the art of Gaza Twins, 24, ‘Go to the movies’ for the first time Updated: Wednesday, 26 Oct 2011, 7:02 PM CDT Published : Wednesday, 26 Oct 2011, 6:51 PM CDT
Jim Swift AUSTIN (KXAN) – Ahmed and Mohamed Abu Nasser , identical twins from the Palestinian territory of Gaza, are in Austin to get something: A chance to see their first theatrical movie. In exchange, they brought along something to give, as well: a screening of their own film for an Austin audience.
Speaking Arabic translated by interpreter Emilie Durand-Zuniga, Ahmed Abu Nasser told a story unimaginable to Americans.
“All the movie theaters in Gaza have been destroyed,” he said, “since 1987. There used to be eight, but they’re all destroyed.” It was in that year that the tiny piece of land, sandwiched between Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean Ocean, was engulfed in violence during the so-called “First Intifada,” an uprising by the Gaza Palestinians against Israeli occupation. The theaters never returned.
“In those movie theaters that have been destroyed, everything's, everything's been destroyed,” said Ahmed’s brother, Mohamed Abu Nasser. “And even the smell, you can smell in them, is terrible; no one can stand it.”
But growing up in Gaza, the boys, now 24, did see films on TV and fell deeply in love with them. They dreamed of becoming actors and directors. Their father encouraged them and urged them to paint, as well.
Much of their material was inspired by what they saw when they would occasionally sneak into the abandoned Gaza movie houses.
Hanging on the walls, the children were dumbstruck by aging, crumbling posters that advertised motion pictures. In time, they began to produce their own posters , reflecting imaginary films that the brothers named after Israeli military operations. The subject matter was gruesome, but to keep from alienating their potential audience, the artists kept it at a distance.
“You will look at some of our posters and you will notice that although we're picturing something that's very violent, we don't find the violence that you would find in reality,” said Mohamed, who produces his art under the name, Arab. “We try to do it in an artistic way.”
As a result, Arab and Ahmed, known by his art name, Tarzan, are attracting quite a following, and not just in Gaza.
“People wrote about it even in the Hebrew newspapers, the Israeli newspapers,” said Tarzan, “so even the other side has accepted it.”
But the twins didn’t stop there. They cut corners, hit up friends, even bent the truth with authorities from Hamas, the Palestinian faction that controls Gaza, to make a short, but beautifully produced and award-winning film of their own.
Called, “ Colorful Journey ,” the film depicts an artist at work on a painting, a painting that conjures a war between brothers, just like the one that divides Hamas from Fatah, the other major Palestinian faction that controls the West Bank, on the other side of Israel. The “war” in the film takes place amid the destruction of a larger conflict, just like the one between the Palestinians and Israel.
In the movie, the artist loses control of his own painting and the divided brothers die at the hands of their occupiers.
The point, say the brothers, is to encourage the factions to unite in the face of a common enemy. But Tarzan and Arab insist that is not in order to defeat Israel, but to make peace with the Israelis from a place of strength.
“In our film, we didn't try to put the responsibility [for the factional division] on Israel,” Tarzan said. “We consider that the responsibility falls on the two brothers that are pictured in our film, that are killing each other. One is representing Hamas and the other, Fatah.
“I believe that if everyone forgot about the political problems for a little while and tried to create something for his society or her society,” brother Arab said, “then the entire world would be living in peace.
“All religions say this, whether it be Judaism, Islam, Christianity; they all send this message of peace. They're not for violence.”
The filmmakers, of course, are not naive; they live in a cauldron of hatred.
“Of course, you'll find groups that don't agree,” Tarzan acknowledged. “We can't say that everyone in Israel agrees and in Palestine, people don't agree. But at the end of the day, everyone wants peace; everyone wants to live and everyone wants to be safe.”
The brothers believe everyone wants something else, as well: to live in the midst of beauty.
“In spite of the situation with Israel and the Israeli military operations and in spite of the Palestinian division,” Tarzan testified, “Gaza is a very beautiful place. It's very beautiful and the people of Gaza are really good people. They are loving people; they are people who love others. It's a very nice place to be.”
“As an artist,” added Arab, ”it's true that I try to picture what we're going through and the sufferings of our people. But at the same time, you can't forget the beauty of the world, the beauty of what surrounds you.
“What we try to do is picture beauty, look for beauty. It doesn't matter which side you're on. Beauty is what matters; beauty is what's important.”
Tarzan and Film comes from deep in the art of Gaza Twins, 24, ‘Go to the movies’ for the first time Updated: Wednesday, 26 Oct 2011, 7:02 PM CDT Published : Wednesday, 26 Oct 2011, 6:51 PM CDT
Jim Swift AUSTIN (KXAN) – Ahmed and Mohamed Abu Nasser , identical twins from the Palestinian territory of Gaza, are in Austin to get something: A chance to see their first theatrical movie. In exchange, they brought along something to give, as well: a screening of their own film for an Austin audience. Speaking Arabic translated by interpreter Emilie Duran

d-Zuniga, Ahmed Abu Nasser told a story unimaginable to Americans. “All the movie theaters in Gaza have been destroyed,” he said, “since 1987. There used to be eight, but they’re all destroyed.” It was in that year that the tiny piece of land, sandwiched between Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean Ocean, was engulfed in violence during the so-called “First Intifada,” an uprising by the Gaza Palestinians against Israeli occupation. The theaters never returned. “In those movie theaters that have been destroyed, everything's, everything's been destroyed,” said Ahmed’s brother, Mohamed Abu Nasser. “And even the smell, you can smell in them, is terrible; no one can stand it.” But growing up in Gaza, the boys, now 24, did see films on TV and fell deeply in love with them. They dreamed of becoming actors and directors. Their father encouraged them and urged them to paint, as well. Much of their material was inspired by what they saw when they would occasionally sneak into the abandoned Gaza movie houses. Hanging on the walls, the children were dumbstruck by aging, crumbling posters that advertised motion pictures. In time, they began to produce their own posters , reflecting imaginary films that the brothers named after Israeli military operations. The subject matter was gruesome, but to keep from alienating their potential audience, the artists kept it at a distance. “You will look at some of our posters and you will notice that although we're picturing something that's very violent, we don't find the violence that you would find in reality,” said Mohamed, who produces his art under the name, Arab. “We try to do it in an artistic way.” As a result, Arab and Ahmed, known by his art name, Tarzan, are attracting quite a following, and not just in Gaza. “People wrote about it even in the Hebrew newspapers, the Israeli newspapers,” said Tarzan, “so even the other side has accepted it.” But the twins didn’t stop there. They cut corners, hit up friends, even bent the truth with authorities from Hamas, the Palestinian faction that controls Gaza, to make a short, but beautifully produced and award-winning film of their own. Called, “ Colorful Journey ,” the film depicts an artist at work on a painting, a painting that conjures a war between brothers, just like the one that divides Hamas from Fatah, the other major Palestinian faction that controls the West Bank, on the other side of Israel. The “war” in the film takes place amid the destruction of a larger conflict, just like the one between the Palestinians and Israel. In the movie, the artist loses control of his own painting and the divided brothers die at the hands of their occupiers. The point, say the brothers, is to encourage the factions to unite in the face of a common enemy. But Tarzan and Arab insist that is not in order to defeat Israel, but to make peace with the Israelis from a place of strength.
“In our film, we didn't try to put the responsibility [for the factional division] on Israel,” Tarzan said. “We consider that the responsibility falls on the two brothers that are pictured in our film, that are killing each other. One is representing Hamas and the other, Fatah. “I believe that if everyone forgot about the political problems for a little while and tried to create something for his society or her society,” brother Arab said, “then the entire world would be living in peace. “All religions say this, whether it be Judaism, Islam, Christianity; they all send this message of peace. They're not for violence.” The filmmakers, of course, are not naive; they live in a cauldron of hatred. “Of course, you'll find groups that don't agree,” Tarzan acknowledged. “We can't say that everyone in Israel agrees and in Palestine, people don't agree. But at the end of the day, everyone wants peace; everyone wants to live and everyone wants to be safe.” The brothers believe everyone wants something else, as well: to live in the midst of beauty. “In spite of the situation with Israel and the Israeli military operations and in spite of the Palestinian division,” Tarzan testified, “Gaza is a very beautiful place. It's very beautiful and the people of Gaza are really good people. They are loving people; they are people who love others. It's a very nice place to be.” “As an artist,” added Arab, ”it's true that I try to picture what we're going through and the sufferings of our people. But at the same time, you can't forget the beauty of the world, the beauty of what surrounds you. “What we try to do is picture beauty, look for beauty. It doesn't matter which side you're on. Beauty is what matters; beauty is what's important.” Tarzan and
Arab are intent on spreading that message, among their own people and the Israelis.
“Maybe we could think of a way to have the two different nations, Palestine and Israel; we can all agree on this,” ventured Tarzan. “We live and they live. We're human beings, just like them.”
“This is the Earth,” agreed Arab. “What's the purpose of us fighting each other? There's no point.”
Editor’s note:
Arab and Tarzan will present their film before a live audience for the first time Wednesday, Oct. 26, at 7:15 p.m. at the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz Theater.
After the screening, the brothers, joined by the Austin audience, will see their first film in a theater setting. On the screen: Ingmar Bergman’s “Cries and Whispers.”
The Alamo has also kicked off a “ Kickstarter ” fundraising project to raise at least $20,000 to help the brothers turn their short film into a full-length feature.

http://www.kxan.com/dpp/entertainment/movies/film-comes-from-deep-in-the-art-of-gaza

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فبراير 1, 2012

Tarzan and Arab Come to Austin

It's a cool fall morning in Central Austin. Out on the porch, film making twins Ahmed and Mohamed Abu Nasser – now known internationally as Tarzan and Arab – are deep in interviews. In the kitchen, Alamo Drafthouse supremo Tim League is making espresso. But this is no regular press junket.

In between running the Drafthouse, Fantastic Fest and becoming a father for the first time, League and his staff have done the seemingly impossible – brought two film makers from Gaza to Austin. Not just to show their short film, Colourful Journey, and not just to see it in a cinema for the first time, but to see any film in a cinema for the first time. Literally. The last cinema in Gaza was bombed out in 1987. The brothers were born in 1988, and had never left Gaza.  Think about that for a second. Their whole movie making and movie viewing experience has been from TV and smuggled DVDs. Then the Guardian did a short video package on them, and Harry Knowles from Ain't It Cool News saw that and showed it to League, and then, because madcap ideas are their stock-in trade, they decided to fly these two guys who have never left Gaza to the Alamo Ritz, to see whatever film they wanted. League said, “You see their eyes light up when they start talking about cinema, and you see how crestfallen they are when they feel like they have a long road ahead of them to see anything in a movie theater. Obviously I'm one of the people that's going to deeply resonate with, to go, 'You know, I have the power to fix that for these guys.'”   When League and Knowles asked them for a short list of films that they would want to see, they did not go for some multiplex fluff: They picked Krzysztof Kieslowski, Andrei Tarkovsky and Ingmar Bergman. After some frantic phone calls and a last-minute shipment, last Wednesday the twins and an Austin audience got to share Bergman's visually stunning and emotionally harrowing Cries and Whispers. And now they were out on the porch, talking about Gaza and film theory and optimism. League said, “When they came down the escalator at the airport in Austin, they were just grinning ear to ear, trying to absorb everything. I remember them saying that the thing that was most staggering to them flying in over the city that it was a grid, that it was organized. Even the farm plots are organized. Then we drove in through Sixth Street and up Congress, and they were just like, 'Look how neatly the cars are parked.' I'd never even thought about that.”   The relationship does not stop there. League and Knowles have already started a Kickstarter campaign and are hoping to raise $20,000 so the brothers can make their first feature, a longer version of Colourful Journey.   Interviewing the twins is a wild ride. Burly, friendly, loquacious, they talk over and around each other, sometimes pushing their translators to the limit before sheepishly realizing they needed time to catch up. Tarzan, more methodical and measured in his answers; Arab, the philosopher king of the two, gregarious and abstract. Yet interviewing the two is like watching their film: An insight into a shared artistic vision. As Tarzan said, “He talked about it. You can be sure we have the same perspective.”

“We're so crazy about movies, we saw this environment and American characters so much that we felt like we knew the people we were coming across here before we got here. So this might help us to acclimate easier, even though our language is weak.   “It's hard for somebody to move from place to place, even if it's within the same country. Because every place is different, every place has its own characteristics, its own culture, its own heritage. So you need time to acclimate. We came from Gaza to Egypt to Austin. We passed through three cultures.   “Here there's something we really enjoyed, that there's a rule here that you follow for everything. People's respect for law here is really nice, and people here, they're on their own, but if you say 'hi,' they say 'hi' right back. In Egypt and Gaza, everyone's jammed together all the time. In Egypt, we would come across somebody just by coincidence and start talking to them, and become friends instantly. But here, people are on their own and you say hi to each other but it doesn't go beyond that. It's a bigger challenge for us, because we're just used to talking to everybody and getting to know everybody.”

The Guardian article and getting to know Tim and Harry

“That article, it's been in the works for a year but they didn't record it. They got interested after we got an award from the Qattan Foundation, and they're saying there's the two guys who live in Gaza, but they're different. They love movies, but they live in a place where there's no movie theaters. So The Guardian newspaper decided, 'We want to see what their story is, and how are they able to keep this dream alive when they are staying in Gaza.' Tim and Harry saw the article, got our email address and got a hold of us. I didn't respond to that email, because I didn't see it. So they sent another email, and I still didn't see it. Finally an email came from Carrie [League's assistant], and after that I dug back and found the old messages. We were very surprised, we were overjoyed that there's a message coming the land of cinema, saying we want you to come and watch your film in America.   “Before we got the invitation to America we got an invitation to England because our film was going to be shown in London, but we weren't able to leave Gaza because of the circumstances. So after that, we lost hope of traveling, but in Carrie's email we felt there was a real hope, and now we're in Texas.”

“In the past there were eight movie cinemas in Gaza but they were destroyed. Extremist parties burned them. The culture is there, but it's very weak. It suffers from an embargo that's imposed upon it, and so most people are thinking about the embargo and hunger and the wars. They don't really think about cinema. There are people who maybe studied film in Egypt, but they come back and they have to work in another field in order to

live their lives. There's just one guy, our friend Khalil al-Muzzayen, he studied film in Russia and he's just insistent on working in film. So we started working together.   “There's another problem when you talk about cinema in Gaza and the film culture is very simple. When you work in that field, you need resources, and there's aren't resources like cameras. There's no production capability. Everything that we make, we have to produce ourselves. The cameras we use to make our films are really just modest cameras, there're the ones that are used to make news. But we insisted on doing something. We're not going to say it's impossible to do it. Like he says, Gaza is a movie theatre. You've got the screen of the sky and the ground and everything that happens there, and the people who live in Gaza, they're the actors, they're the directors and they're the audience, because there's always something going on. There's always action, there's always romance, there's always horror. Gaza is always fluctuating, it's always changing, there's always something new.   “The beautiful thing about Gaza that we live is that there's no routine. In Austin, every day is kind of the same. The streets are empty in the day, and then there's a few people out in the streets at night. In Gaza, every day is different, every minute is different from the one that went before. Maybe we're walking around the street, something explodes, three of my friends are gone, normal. Maybe walking down the street, and a car comes along and crushes one of your friends. You never knows what's going to come the next day. So this gives you a larger place to imagine in.”

On the Film Makers That Influence Them   “Both of us, we want our work to lean towards art, in life and even in film. Like Tarkovsky especially, art is very present in his movies, Bergman has a very strong script, and Kieslowski has really strong music in his film. Every director who picks up a camera has his own style and his own spirit and you can't deny. Even if you're small and you pick up a camera for the first time, you can't deny this. He has his own spirit, he has his own style, he has his own method of film making. Whenever somebody asks me, 'Have you seen this film?' I hate to say, 'No, I haven't seen it.' Because in order to create your own style and your own cinematic spirit, you have to watch the other films that came before you, and to see what they did and to see the cinematic development. Not to take the movie itself. Like civilizations: Every one is built on what came before, but each of them is different and has their own viewpoint. You see things from other civilizations, but it has been developed. It's not wrong to take something from something that's been done before you, but you don't just take it is as it is. You work on it. Where's your take, as a film maker? Where's your take as an artist? That's what you have to do.   “We're always trying to combine the visual arts and cinema in our works. Maybe we'll create our own style, but we're always constantly thinking, how will we benefit from visual arts and put them into our movies? We don't want to say that this scene will look like this painting, but every time we scout a location or set up a scene, we're always leaning towards visual arts. Our style is just what we dream of.   “Only one in a hundred people are going to try to make their own movie. We're hoping to maybe in the bottom one percent of these people that make movies.”

On Making Films

“Artists in Gaza are walking along a tight rope. On one side you have the Israeli occupation, and on the other you have the division of the Palestinian people. And you have a tiny little rope you're standing on, and either side there's trouble. It's like there's two monsters. If you just give up, you're going to get eaten by one or the other, but if you stay in place, you're going to stay in your place the entire time.   “People try as much as they can to resist. So from a cinematic perspective, if we were just sitting in Gaza waiting for something to fall into our laps, that's never going to happen. So what happened yesterday is compensation for that. All of the success we have achieved is compensation, because in Gaza we created the resources that we need and we found the things we needed to work with. We want to give our picture and show our suffering to the world. Equipment is important, lighting is important, but it's not as important as who's using this equipment.   “We love the cinema, we're interested in cinema, and we want to prove ourselves as real film makers, even with the most simple equipment. Today you're going to struggle, tomorrow you're going to struggle, the next day you're going to struggle, but eventually you won't. You just need to keep working and tiring yourself until the day you can relax and be comfortable. But before that comes, you're going to be tired. You can't think you're going to make money. It should be art for art's sake, and maybe in the future art is going to feed you. But if your goal in art is money, then you're never going to succeed. Even if you do make some money off art, you're never going to be comfortable with yourself, because that's not art. If you do work that satisfies you, you don't need anything else.   “Working in film in Gaza is a huge adventure. Everybody's going to be looking at you and wondering what's going on. It's enough that we had an experience like yesterday. All that trouble, all those people not knowing what's going on, it's all worth it for something like yesterday when you see someone in the street and they say, 'Oh, I saw your movie.' This creates an impetus inside you to keep you going forward. 'We love you, we trust you, we believe in you.'”

http://www.austinchronicle.com/blogs/screens/2011-10-30/tarzan-and-arab-come-to-austin/

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فبراير 1, 2012

How Palestinian Filmmakers Tarzan And Arab Made It To Austin

“You're crazy.”

This was what Carrie Matherly heard again and again as she began asking around about getting twin Palestinian filmmakers, known as Tarzan and Arab, to come to Austin. Carrie, Tim League's assistant, had been tasked with figuring out how to get these two to America after Harry Knowles brought their situation to Tim's attention. Tarzan and Arab had made a short film, Colourful Journey, but had never seen a movie in a theater. They had studied fine arts but had never been to a gallery. They have never left the Gaza Strip – an area about 25 miles long and 12 miles across at its widest point. At least not until September. In September they began a long journey that sees them finally touching down in Austin today, to show Colourful Journey to a crowd and to see their favorite film – Bergman's Cries and Whispers – projected. And everyone had said that this could never happen. Tarzan and Arab – real names Ahmed and Mohammed Abu Nasser – studied photography and fine art in school. They live in their studio, which is decorated with their art and cluttered with books and two pianos.  They say they got their talent as painters and illustrators – as well as their nicknames – from their father, a teacher who was also an artist. They've never seen a movie in a theater, but they became obsessed with film when they would pass by the burned out wreckage of a cinema and look at the tattered remains of movie posters, and imagined what it must have been like. Those posters gave birth to one of their conceptual art projects, a series of 20 fake movie posters that take their titles from real Israeli military operations, like Summer Rain, Autumn Clouds, Defensive Shield, Cast Lead. They want people to look at the posters, which reflect the struggles and problems of the people of Gaza, and imagine the movies. While they don't have the training or the equipment or the money, Tarzan and Arab are determined to be filmmakers. Their short won an award at a festival in Ramallah and played at London's Mosaic Room in March; they were unable to attend either event. The Guardian, whose report first turned Knowles on to Tarzan and Arab, describes Colourful Journey as  “about factional infighting within Gaza and its political, social and personal cost. Tarzan and Arab depict a fratricidal war, their identical appearances reinforcing their message that Gazan brothers need to unite to face their common enemy.” The initial contact with Arab and Tarzan was sparse; the  twins don't speak much English, and it wasn't clear they fully understood – or believed – what the Alamo Drafthouse and Ain't It Cool wanted to do for them. Eventually it became clear that they have family in California, and so their aunt became the intermediary, in order to better communicate. Things were moving slowly, as they tend to do when dealing with governments in that part of the world. The team was hitting every contact they had, trying to figure out a way to get the boys' visas; they found hostility when they contacted the Israeli Embassy in Houston, and more hostility when they got in touch with the State Department. No one seemed interested in helping, and the officials only replied with suspicion. Then Tarzan and Arab got news: the border between Gaza and Egypt, the only plausible way for them to leave Gaza, would be closing in a week. It's unclear how they heard, as this wasn't officially announced, but the Palestinians have their ways. Getting across that border is tough in the best of times, especially for young men. The boys decided that this was their moment; if they didn't make

a move now they might not be able to leave Gaza for another year or more. They sent a message to Austin: “We're headed to Cairo. Figure out what to do with us from there.” And then they were off. Without a plan. And without much progress happening in America to actually get them to Austin. The hope had been to get Tarzan and Arab to Austin for Fantastic Fest, but that quickly proved impossible. They spent weeks in Cairo, and the American Embassy took their passports as part of the visa application process. This meant they were trapped in a strange city without identification. Soon money began running out, and without IDs they couldn't pick up the funds that had been wired to them at Western Union. Worse, the brothers began getting hassled in the streets. They weren't sure if it was because they dress like big shaggy weirdos or if it was because of their nationality, but they became terrified of getting into trouble without identification. They started just staying indoors. As they waited they quietly celebrated their 24th birthday, alone in Cairo. In America Carrie was working with their aunt; their first conversation was a strange one as the woman, while helpful, was terse. Later Carrie discovered that she had been going through labor during the call. “It's okay,” the aunt said. “It's my fifth baby.” By now Fantastic Fest had come and gone. Tarzan and Arab had left Gaza on September 16th and had been without a passport since September 24th. Things were getting desperate, and they had come so far, shown so much determination, that nobody in Austin could give up. Finally a local Congressman got involved. He did some leaning on the right people and magically the passport issue cleared up. There were some excuses thrown around, but the important thing is that Tarzan and Arab got their passports and their visas. As of this writing they should be in Austin, Texas. Tim League intends to give the twins the usual Texas experience that many visiting filmmakers get when coming to the Drafthouse – incredible barbecue, shooting shotguns and hopefully meeting with other filmmakers. Their next stop will be Hollywood, where they'll spend time as tourists and catch up with family in the Los Angeles area, many of whom they haven't seen in decades. Talking to the Guardian, Arab said, “As artists we are restricted by living in a conservative and tough community. Let's be realistic. Our life is under siege, under control. People don't have time for art. They spend all their time looking for crumbs. They say, 'What use is art? Art will not give you bread.' ” Hopefully their time in America will reinforce what Tarzan and Arab already know: that art is not just useful but vital and essential to the human experience. And maybe while they're here we can be reminded that art isn't about your equipment or facilities, but rather about your will and your vision. While Tarzan and Arab don't have the cameras or editing software available to most young American filmmakers, they have a surplus of will and vision. If you're in Austin, join Tarzan and Arab as they show Colourful Journey and watch their first ever movie on a big screen. It's Wednesday at 7:15 at the Alamo Ritz.If you're not in Austin, you can help Tarzan and Arab get their first feature together; Tim League has opened a Kickstarter for them. You can donate here.

http://badassdigest.com/2011/10/21/escape-from-gaza-how-palestinian-filmmakers-tarzan-and-arab-made-it-to-aust/

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فبراير 1, 2012

Brothers from Gaza in Austin for screening of award-winning film

It's a week of firsts for twins Ahmed and Mohammed Abu Nasser from the Gaza Strip: their first trip to America, their first trip to a movie theater and their first chance to sit with an audience and watch a short film they created.

The Alamo Drafthouse Ritz will screen “The Colorful Journey” — written by, directed by and starring the 24-year-old Abu Nassers — to the public at 7:15 tonight, followed by the Swedish film “Cries and Whispers” by Ingmar Bergman.

It is a special opportunity, as there are no movie theaters in Gaza, said Ahmed Abu Nasser, who goes by the artist name Tarzan.

“My dad loves cinema, and we became interested in cinema through television,” he said in Arabic.  “You could take anything away from us but our TV. For us, it was a huge dream that we would become actors.”

Drafthouse Chief Creative Officer Henri Mazza  said he and others learned about the brothers through an article in The Guardian, a London newspaper. The Drafthouse often brings international filmmakers for screenings, but this visit was more challenging to plan than others, said Carrie Matherly , assistant to Drafthouse CEO Tim League.

“These guys had never left Gaza. They didn't have travel documents, and we had a significant language barrier,” Matherly said. “But they were determined to get here no matter what, and we were determined to help them.”

It took more than a month to get the necessary documents. The brothers spent several weeks in Egypt waiting for an appointment at the U.S. Embassy. They say it was worth the effort.

Mohammed Abu Nasser, who g

oes by the artist name Arab, said the vivid colors of Austin surprised him, especially as he and his brother were flying over the city.

“I've seen colors since I've been here that I've never seen in nature before — purples and browns and greens and yellows,” he said. “It's an art city. There is nothing that is put in a place where it shouldn't be.”

The film's title, “The Colorful Journey,” comes from the name of an Israeli military special operation. The film depicts a painter grappling with a scene in which two men who resemble each other face off with guns. It has won awards in the Middle East. The brothers also have designed a series of movie posters based on the names of Israeli military operations in the area and said they hope to inspire community change with their art.

“The dream is still with us that one day we can study directing and help show the beauty we live in,” Ahmed Abu Nasser said. “Every one of us in this world is trying.”

The twins, who work as artists full time, selling paintings in addition to making films, chose “Cries and Whispers” for their first movie theater experience because it struck them as an “honest movie” when they saw it on television years ago, Mohammed Abu Nasser said.  The twins said they hope to see a few more films before heading back to Gaza next week.

[email protected]; 445-3553

http://www.statesman.com/news/local/brothers-from-gaza-in-austin-for-screening-of-1934013.html

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