A film about the occupation of Palestine made by a LJMU filmmaker has been screened in the European Parliament.
Dr Dror Dayan, a German-Israeli and senior lecturer in the Liverpool Screen School, who teaches MA Documentary, collaborated on the film with French photojournalist Anne Paq.
The documentary film Not Just Your Picture recounts the tragic story of Ramsis Kilani (26) and his sister Layla (24), born and raised in Germany.
Their Palestinian father, Ibrahim, studied architecture in the 80s but moved back to Gaza following his divorce from their German mother. He then remarried and had five children but in 2014, Ibrahim, his wife and children were killed after their building was hit by an airstrike.
Layla and Ramsis’ grief set them on a journey of political awakening: Layla travels to Palestine, hoping to learn about her roots while her brother tours in Europe, retelling his family’s story while pursuing a legal case against the State of Israel through the German courts. In the meantime, their family in Gaza is trying to come to terms with the aftermath of the tragedy as their uncle Saleh wishes to meet his brother’s children.
Moving between Gaza and Germany, the past and the present, the hour-long film follows the family’s wish to reunite, mourning their loved ones and search for justice.
Dror says: "Not Just your Picture is a highly personal project for us. Both of us have been deeply involved with the situation in Palestine for years – Anne through her decades-long journalistic and human-rights work on the ground, and myself, who was born and raised in the country as an Israeli Jew for 25 years.
"In the film we aim to challenge views about Palestine by introducing two young people, who are European as well as unapologetically Palestinian and demand to be recognized as both.
"We didn’t want it to be preachy but rather allow an insight into an intimate situation of a family, physically separated by occupation and denied justice by political powers much stronger than them. It is our hope that our film will encourage its viewers to reflect on the situation in Palestine, as well as their own governments’ part in it, and engage in trying to change it."
The film is a continuation of the award-winning web documentary “Obliterated Families”, which involved Paq as co-author and Dayan as video editor and counts the Kilanis as one of the featured families.
Professor Rachel McLean, Director of the Screen School, said: “It is fantastic news that Dror is making hugely important films that are moving, humanistic and also making people think at all levels of society up to the European Parliament.”