background information

eyewitness gaza

The aim of this movie is to show an accurate view of current life in Gaza, with necessary historical and political context to help an audience understand the unique position Gazans are in: under siege, trapped, constantly threatened by attacks from Israel and their own political factions, with little awareness or concern by a larger world.

The central theme is youth, from infancy to young adulthood. How do people survive siege while marginalized by the world community? We explore this question in the context of the Arab Spring—the uprisings beginning in Tunisia in late 2010, including events in Palestine such as the Gaza Youth Break Out movement and the most recent manifestations of violent and nonviolent transformation. One central image or story is that of the American Friends Service Committee's (AFSC) very successful youth program, Popular Achievement.

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  skip schiel—photographer

His credentials include 6 trips to Israel-Palestine since 2003, 5 of them to Gaza, the most recent in November-December 2010 when he photographed extensively and taught photography for the Quaker Palestine Youth Program (college age youth). He's made slide shows about related topics such as the hydropolitics of the region, Bethlehem, non-violent resistance, youth, Quakers, and holy sites. His trip during the summer of 2009 included explorations of the Mediterranean coast, Galilee and the Golan Heights, mostly to explore hydropolitics and live for a short period as Israelis do, suffering the same fears, and enjoying the same benefits. He has also twice visited Sderot, an Israeli town near Gaza hit frequently by rockets from Gaza.
youtube channel
  tom jackson—director

He left his job as a technical writer in 2000 to pursue documentary production on social justice issues full time. His first documentary was Greetings from Missile Street (2001), which looked at the effects of economic sanctions on the people of Iraq. Tom lived in Basra, Iraq for several weeks in summer 2000, along with three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee Kathy Kelly. Tom's most recent film is Out of Balance: Exxon Mobil's Impact on Climate Change (2006) for which he was nominated for New Hampshire filmmaker of the year (2007), and the Maverick Filmmaker Award (Cinequest Film Festival, San Jose, CA, 2007). The documentary has screened at 40+ film festivals worldwide, aired on LinkTV and throughout Latin America on Telesur Internacional, and it won four awards including Best Feature Documentary (Environmental) at the 2007 Artivist Film Festival in Hollywood, CA. Tom toured the United States with Out of Balance in an alternative fuel vehicle, screening the documentary at numerous venues.

Tom was a producer for the 2008 documentary, "The Billboard from Bethlehem", which featured the Combatants for Peace.

Since summer 2000, Tom's activism and documentary production has taken him to Iraq (twice), Afghanistan, Palestine-Israel (twice) and other places. He has worked with numerous organizations on nonviolent conflict resolution, including Voices in the Wilderness, Combatants for Peace, AFSC, Peace Action, War Resisters' League, and others.

Tom was in Gaza for five weeks in late 2010, teaching video production basics thru AFSC's youth program, and conducting interviews for his own production on the situation in Palestine-Israel.