Women of Hamas + Q&A

Director Suha Arraf intimately describes the making of her film Women of Hamas with Bird's Eye View Festival programmer Gali Gold following a screening at BFI Southbank. Arraf explains that her interest in politics sprang from her career as a journalist, during which she lived in a refugee camp in Rafa, Gaza. Part of Arraf's job was to interview the men of Hamas, but it was not until the 2005 election that she witnessed the power of Hamas' women and was inspired to begin the project. Arraf started shooting in 2006, but a lack of funds and a clash between the Hamas and Fatah in 2007 prevented Arraf from completing the film. In 2009, Arraf decided to finish her work and began collaborating with a line producer in Gaza.

The film artfully shows the claustrophobic reality of the region. Arraf reveals that she had to smuggle footage into Gaza through tunnels, over satellites, by other journalists who had access and through harrowing Israeli check points. Gold suggests that some audiences have labeled the film either pro-Hamas or pro-Israeli, and Arraf admits that after a private screening of the rough cut she realised that the unfolding argument between her friends was a microcosm of the reactions she would later experience. Arraf describes the strength of the women of Hamas as being "like a bomb" - all the women have to rely on is their religion and in this extraordinary film, Arraf set out to show the extraordinary humanity of her subjects.


Elsewhere on BFI Live



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