Peace it Together: Checkpoint of Humanity 4 Minutes | Short | Canada | By Tamir Asseoulin, Owen Quanstrom, Chloe Clarkson, Zain Masri
A young man and a checkpoint guard come to a silent understanding.
The heroes in these films are not only the youth that create and collaborate with ‘their enemies’. We find heroes across conflicts in those that take up non-violent action to promote peace, in those that decide to dialogue and listen to their counterparts, and in those that find solace trying to understand and empathize with a divergent narrative. At Peace it Together, the actors, the filmmakers, the facilitators and the audience are the heroes.
Rooted in the reality of being a teenager in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the films are unique collaborative products that demonstrate life under the threat of war. During the first half of their three weeks together at the Peace it Together camp, skilled facilitators led the young women and men through intense dialogue and trust-building activities. Accomplished film mentors then guided small, mixed-cultural groups in making short films that communicate the youths’ hopes and fears about the conflict. The films channeled young people’s increasing frustration and restless energy into positive and inspiring media that can be shared with people around the world.
The bringing together of youths from such different backgrounds in a neutral setting under the guidance of skilled facilitators resulted in deep, transformative dynamics. These are reflected in the films’ mood – sad, joyful, imaginative, intensely realistic, and always hopeful. For audiences, the documentaries, dramatic and animated short films are powerful and inspiring. Furthermore, the films are testimonies to what happens when adversaries in the world’s most infamous conflict break down the walls between them, in order to create together.
In the summer of 2008, thirty Palestinian, Israeli, and Canadian teenagers gathered in and around Vancouver, British Columbia to participate in an extraordinary dialogue and filmmaking experience. Based on the successful 2006 program, and building on our inaugural program in 2004, the youths lived and learned together for three weeks, discovered their personal strengths and created the following inspiring short films.
The young filmmakers in each group were tasked to make a drama, documentary or animated short film about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Working with a filmmaking mentor, they had ten days to create their films from start to finish. The youths were responsible for all aspects of the filmmaking, from conception and story boarding, to shooting, acting, casting, editing, sound, and music.