I landed in Beirut with my wife and young family on 19 April 1974 to take up my appointment as Head of Films Branch, UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees). A leftist leader had been assassinated in South Lebanon the previous day and that event is regarded as the start of the civil war. A few days later I drove down to Nabatieh Palestinian refugee camp in South Lebanon to film the consequence of Israeli bombing. The camp had been obliterated. A few days later I filmed the effect of bombing in Rashidieh, a camp further down the coast near Tyre.
The brief was to document the services – Housing, Education, Health, Rations – that UNRWA offered the Palestinian refugees. My immediate boss and chief of the AV division was the legendary Myrtle Winter Chaumeny (writer, photographer, sailor, dancer); the director of Information was John Defrates, the bravest man I have ever met, who was a Navy pilot in the icy waters near Vladivostock during WWll. I was given a fairly free hand but editorial control rested with UNRWA. What I saw in South Lebanon and elsewhere gave me the form of the film: the experience of life in the camps in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan – but not the West Bank because Israel refused me entry. Myrtle filmed that sequence.
So the story is about war in Lebanon; life in one the oldest camps near Aleppo established in 1948; work in Baqa’a in Jordan which accommodated thousands of fleeing refugees after the 1967 war; and education in Ramallah.
Since then everything has changed for the worse for the Palestinian people. The locations for the film are now war zones or something very similar. The tragedy continues.
The film was invited to the London Film Festival and Teheran Film Festival. A copy is held by The National Film Archive.
Some of the Palestinians is being shown as part of the Refugee season at the BFI South Bank, London. NFT 2, 19th June 2014. Tickets from the BFI ticket office and website.
We would like to give special thanks to David Somerset of BFI education for his support, and including this film in the season.
Filed under Lecturing, News
Mamoun returned to the British Film Institute, to introduce a screening of Alexander Mackendrick‘s ‘The Maggie‘ at the National Film Theatre on 9th November 2012 as part of the Ealing Studios season.
The event wasn’t filmed, but we have created this short video to accompany the audio recording made on the day.
Alexander Mackendrick was a Scottish American director and teacher, born in Boston, Massachusetts, moving to Scotland as a young child. His major works were made while at Ealing Studios. He became Dean of the film school at the California Institute of the Arts in 1969, giving up the position in 1978 to become a professor at the school. Source: Wikipedia.
This event was part of the programme arranged by David Somerset of the education department of the BFI to enhance the Ealing season.
Copyright©Mamoun Hassan 2013
This week’s BFI LONDON FILM FESTIVAL featured a new British movie MY BROTHER THE DEVIL (Dir. Sally El Hosaini 2012). The film, on which Mamoun provided editing consultancy, is set in gangland London and stars fresh new actors James Floyd and Fady Elsayed as young British Arab brothers.
The story has struck a chord with young audiences world wide including those at the FILMS FROM THE SOUTH festival in Oslo, where Mamoun saw the film last week while visiting with ANDRES WOOD (Andres’ recent film VIOLETA WENT TO HEAVEN appeared at both festivals).
The relevant and controversial themes are reminiscent of the incendiary film BABYLON (1981 Dir. Franco Rosso) funded under Mamoun’s watch as the Managing Director of the National Film Finance Corporation, the UK’s government arm for investing in feature production and development.
Mamoun has just returned from the FILMS FROM THE SOUTH festival in OSLO
where he accompanied his close friend, co-writer and producer colleague
the leading South American director ANDRES WOOD to showings of his three
Machuca 2004 CHILE Dir. Andres Wood,(co-writer and co-producer Mamoun
La Buena Vida 2008 CHILE Dir. Andres Wood (co-writer and co-producer
Violeta Went to Heaven 2011 CHILE Dir. Andres Wood
Andres’ latest work VIOLETA WENT TO HEAVEN took the World Cinema Jury
Prize at SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL 2012 and is appearing at this week’s BFI
LONDON FILM FESTIVAL and will be on theatrical release in North America