Interview for Witness Palestine Film Festival: The Tower

Pleased to return to the Witness Palestine Film Festival, on Sunday June 13 at 3pm, to interview filmmaker Mats Grorud and the Chair of the Centre for Palestine Studies at SOAS, Dr. Dina Matar. We will be talking about ‘The Tower.’ More about the film below.

This is an important time to learn about Palestine and become a part of the global solidarity movement. You can watch the film on Amazon. For more info and to register for this Zoom event here.

I was one of the activists who helped create the WPFF in 2011. Was on the organizing team for 7 years, so it’s an honor to be back. Hope to see you then!

THE TOWER: This beautifully animated film tells the story of Wardi, a young Palestinian girl who lives with her family in the Lebanese refugee camp where she was born. Her beloved great-grandfather, “Sidi,” was one of the first people to settle in the camp after being exiled from his home and homeland, Palestine, in 1948. When Sidi gives Wardi the key to his old house back in the Galilee, she fears he may have lost hope of someday returning home. As she searches for Sidi’s lost hope around the camp, she collects her family’s testimonies, from one generation to the next. An uplifting film that captures the story of Palestine through four generations.

Mats Grorud is a film director and animator from Norway. He’s previously directed two short films and has worked as an animator on several films, documentaries, and music videos. During his childhood, his mother worked as a nurse in refugee camps in Lebanon. In the 1990s, Mats studied at the American University of Beirut while working as an English and Animation teacher in the Burj el Barajneh refugee camp. Based on the testimonies of the refugees and his own experiences, he wrote the script for, and directed his first, feature-length film, The Tower. The film premiered in 2018. It has been screened at 200 international film festivals all over the world and won numerous awards. Welcome to Witness Palestine, Mats.

Dr. Dina Matar is a professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies (or SOAS) in London. Along with teaching and being involved in research, Dr. Matar chairs the Centre for Palestine Studies. She researches and writes on politics and communication, memory cultures, narrative and politics, activism and media. She is the author of “What it Means to be Palestinian” which came out in 2010 and informs some of the stories in The Tower. She is also co-author and editor of several books. Before joining academia, Dr Matar worked as a journalist and editor in the Middle East, Asia, the UK and the US.

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