Let’s call them HILLARY and Adriano…

HILLARY and Adriano came to the Film Festival as Director of a film and Partner of a Filmmaker. As they arrived independently, not related with each other, they hardly talked to anybody. I thought they may have a jet lag or suffer from some other inconveniences, flying long hours and arriving in the best of early morning sleep, joining “Das Fähnlein der Aufrechten“ at the breakfast table. But I was proven wrong. As they were attentive readers of  the international Press such as newspapers and carefully following the TV News they assumed that behind every letter of A-h-m-a-d-i-n-e-d-j-a-d were hiding two spies. They arrived in a preventive, paranoid mood, expecting a worst case scenario which also was supported by their own friends at home.

And yes, I had experienced the same when I told my friends and colleagues that I would go to “11th MOQAVEMAT International Film Festival“ in Tehran with a film of mine.

11th MOQAVEMAT International Film Festival

Some asked me if I had a bodyguard with me, others warned me to keep my my mouth shut. One wrote in an email: Hallo Jürg, wem glaubst du hilfst du damit ausser deinem Ego? Others were afraid, I would land in prison. A friend of mine even mentioned the case of two persons who had participated in a similar event a year ago in Iran. They obviously had felt being used by the Iranian media and upon return were criticized and stripped of their self respect in an article of a well known swiss newspaper relating to their participation. He warned me indirectly and feared I could loose “Kopf und Kragen“. Others felt pity, “Does Jürg really have to do that?“

Of course I had to go to Iran. What was my greater worry: Israeli bombs falling on the Nuclear Reactors in Esfahan,

Iran's Nuclear Plant at Esfahan

Regisseur Panahi in Iran zu sechs Jahren Haft  verurteilt

Regisseur Panahi in Iran zu sechs Jahren Haft verurteilt

Natanz and Qom or me getting otherwise in trouble? It was none of both. What really cost me the first five minutes of my sleep at night was the following: What was I going to do, in case my film HUMUS for HAMAS got a prize? What was I going to do with that money? Give it to charity? Refuse the prize?

Hand it over to the Iranian Directors whose projects were cut the other day and had goverment funding refused or got imprisoned like Jafar Panahi or Mohammed Rasulof?

Iranische Filmemacher zu Haft verurteilt

Or get drunk? Not so easy in Iran, you have to have very good friends to get liquor. Going on a shopping spree? Well, 95% of all the goods in the shops in Tehran are “Made in China“ – I had just returned from that great land and had bought more than I could carry home… .

Der langen Rede kurzer Sinn: I was the only one of the foreign filmmakers who did not get a prize! And now I go to bed and enjoy the first five minutes of my sleep again!

Als Bettgeschichten lese ich noch: Headlines IRAN NEWS September 25, 2010

  • Enemy has become weaker than before
  • Russia scrapping S-300 Missiles to Iran
  • Thyssen Krupp halting its Iran Business
  • Turkey: Iran-Sanctions Ban on Bank Transactions is “MISTAKE“
  • Iran hails Anti-Israel UN Resolution
  • Hamas detains “MANY“ suspected Israeli Spies in Gaza
  • Ahmadinejad calls for Scrapping of Veto Power in Security Council
  • Nobody can harm Tehran – Havanna Ties

But Mohammad worked wonders

Dear family and friends,
you remember HUMUS for HAMAS? The only film that exists about the first local election in the Palestine Territories, the election rally in Beit Lahia and the elections in Rafah the following day. It marked the beginning of the rise of HAMAS and at the same time the demise of Yassir Arafat’s FATAH movement. HAMAS, at that time, was just better organized,  winning the hearts of the people with popular welfare programs. There was an authentic urge in the Gaza Strip, to do away with the all pervasive corruption and cronyism of the powerful few that took over after Arafat’s death. The people in the Gaza Strip were enthused to be able to vote for an alternative. For a minute or two, let’s say for some long weeks, the main enemy had ceased to be on the other side of the border. It all had turned into a vote for a better future instead of more of the same. Suddenly, the enemy was within the system. For the very first time, people had a choice without guns, they could promote change by putting their finger in red ink. For many Palestinians it was just mind boggling – as it was for me too – that change could come with a fingerprint. Men and women of all ages, handycapped and disabled, so many went to register and vote. HUMUS for HAMAS captured  that moment when people decided that red ink on their finger was better than blood. I was there with my camera, shooting from morning to evening. And because four eyes see more than two, I hired a

Mohammad worked Wonders

young Palestinian as a second cameraman from a local TV Station in Gaza City to come with me.

Some weeks ago, as I prepared my bag to go to Greece, I had an email on my desk, inviting me to present HUMUS for HAMAS at the 11th MOQAVEMAT Intenational Film Festival in Tehran from 20-24 September 2010. Time was short, just one day before my departure, Mohammad, the director from the Festival told me to send them a DVD copy to Tehran immediatly and gave me the code for DHL whose courier picked it up some hours later at their expense. To get a visum for Iran is no easy matter these days. But when you sit in a small fisher village in the East of the Peloponnes with only one old passport foto and unable to sign the visa application it looks remote.On top of it they told me it takes at least 3 weeks to get the required visum number from the Foreign Ministry in Tehran and I had only one week left.

 

 

But Mohammad worked wonders, within a few days he mailed me the code with which I had to apply  for the visum in Bern, Switzerland. A couple of  thousand km away from Bern and my visum I contacted Riahi Travel in Zurich and asked if Mr. Riahi could work another wonder. Well he said, times were short of wonders but he would do his very best. I scanned my old and crumpled passport foto with my iPhone 4 and mailed it to him. I guess, I don’t have to continue, Mohammad, Mr Riahi and the Iranian Embassy worked many more wonders… and I’m on my flight to the 11th MOQAVEMAT Film Festival in Tehran as an invited filmmaker with HUMUS for HAMAS.

GAZA doc – SOLDIERS of MOHAMMED

Hamas Election Rally

ready for viewing and download

3 May 2005, Beit Lahia, Gaza Strip. The first local elections took place in the Gaza Strip the following day. Pierre and myself were the only foreigners in a crowd of 8’000 people we had run into by pure chance. I was shooting this historical footage right beside Hanijeh and in the midst of many top Hamas leaders for a full two hours, moving without restrictions on the podium and in the crowd, with no Police or body gards present, a rally that reminded me of a toxic cocktail of fireworks, disco and deep seated religious belief, based on territorial loss.

This toxic mix of loss of land which drives the ordinary Palestinian combined with a global religious struggle that does not battle to create an independent state seems to be the overwhelming driver no compensation money or other wellmeaning compromise can stop. The right to return to their lost land in Israel as an overriding collective goal and a global religious struggle that drives the radical clerus unite a diverse population that are divided between themselves like no other I have met. Actually, the painfull loss of territory looked like the glue for the powerful radical Islamists that provided cover and protection from disintegration from within.

be prepared TO DIE AS A MARTYR

HAMAS – RISE to POWER

ready for viewing and download

This is exclusive material. You will not find easily on any TV station.

Israel set to launch ground war against Hamas

HUMUS for HAMAS

ready for viewing and download

Almost 4 years after Hamas won overwhelmingly the first local elections against Fatah in the Gaza Strip, Israel is set to launch ground war against Hamas.

As Pierre and myself arrived in Gaza, we took a taxi and crossed Gaza City to end up in Beit Lahia. You see a Gaza documentary also containing a report of the first local elections in the Gaza Strip.

Letters to God

Jane

Jane

Chris
Chris
Raphael
Raphael
Elliott
Elliott
Ruth M.
Ruth M.
Mickey D.
Mickey D.