CRAYONS OF ASKALAN.
In the darkest holes of a prison, Zuhdi, a young Palestinian manages to resist 15 years of imprisonment thanks to smuggled crayons and pillowcases.
DIRECTOR & PRODUCER
This is filmmaker's Laila Hotait first feature documentary film.
As a Fulbright grantee Hotait studied Film directing in San Francisco State University. Before, she had worked as a correspondent for TV outlets like Al Jazeera Children and produced programs for Rosellini Films, Italy.
In 2010, along with her sister, Nadia Hotait, founded Laaventura, a platform that has brought together artists from around the globe to collaborate on various projects.
Her work, that ranges from short films to music videos and video art pieces, has been presented at international venues, from Film Festivals to Museums. Hotait holds a Bachelor in Arabic and Islamic Studies and is about to present her PhD dissertation at the Audiovisual Communication Department of the Universidad Carlos III, in Spain. She is also one of the twenty emerging filmmakers selected by the Copenhagen Documentary Film Festival, CPH Dox, 2011, so, during 2012, she will develop a new project with their support.
LAAVENTURA in association with USERT38 production
Supported by AFAC in association with SUNDANCE DOCUMENTARY INSTITUTE, SCREEN INSTITUTE BEIRUT
Produced by LAILA & NADIA HOTAIT, FEDERIKA ODRIOZOLA & MOHAMMAD HAMDAR
Starring MOHAMMAD AL MASRI
Written by LAILA HOTAIT & TETRA BALESTRI
Art Direction NADIA HOTAIT
Direction of Photography DIEGO LÓPEZ CALVIN
Edited by MIGUEL BURGOS
Original Soundtrack SCRAMBLED EGGS
Sound Design TUNEFORK STUDIO
A creative documentary based on the powerful story of the Palestinian artist Zuhdi Al Adawi. IN 1975, at the age of fifteen, Zuhdi is sentenced and confined in the high security prison of Askalan, Israel for fifteen years. With the help of his fellow prisoners and their families, he manages to stay alive by smuggling in color crayons and smuggling out his allegorical artwork done on pillowcases, so it finds its way to the outside world.
Both Zuhdi Al Adawi and the actors who reenact his life, live on the borderline between life and survival.
This film explores life in the boundaries, also between fiction and reality and this is the thread from which the narrative evolves. I seek to push the space where fiction and reality converge. Hence the need to explore this work using fragmentation and presenting parallel scenes to create a narrative unity in content, time and space and building the whole film, on the realm of imagination.
The casting was done in different Palestinian refugee camps of Lebanon, such as Sabra, Chatila and Burj al Barajne in Beirut and the Camps of Burj al Shamali and Rachdiyeh, in the South of Lebanon.
Some of the actors are relatives to the men, or, even one of them himself, an ex-inmate, in the same prison where Zuhdi Al-Adawi was.