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July 2 2022 2:37 AM ˚
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Director uses visual storytelling to express Palestinian solidarity

Omar Rammal, creator of “The Place,” discusses his approach to filmmaking in era of social change

filmmaker palestine omar rammal
Left: Omar Rammal, Right: Scene for Omar Rammal's film, “The Place”. (Photos: Handout from Omar Rammal)
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AMMAN — In a mere one minute and 24 seconds, Omar Rammal, a 23-year-old Palestinian director and cinematographer managed to visually capture decades of Palestinian suffering. اضافة اعلان

His newest film, “The Place,” which has been circulating widely on social media channels, features a number of Palestinian family members describing their favorite rooms in the house while Israeli settlers seize and pack up their objects. The casual, relaxed tone of the family members contrasts with the theft occurring around them.

“The message of the movie is important: Palestinians are not safe in their own homes,” said Rammal in an interview with Jordan News. “It is supposed to be the safest place.”

Following recent events in occupied Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, where Israeli forces attempted to forcibly evict Palestinian families from their homes and used violence against peaceful protesters, Rammal wanted to spread the story and unite people in their fight for human rights.

So far, the powerful short film has received close to 6 million views on Rammal’s Instagram and over 400,000 likes.

“The idea came from the reality we live every day. It came from a place of solidarity and our feelings towards the current situation,” said Rammal. “We are exposed to attacks in front of the whole world and it is our duty to make anyone able to speak out to do so in order to reach justice.”

He wanted to demonstrate that Palestinian homes are more than just a place; they are their identity. “The place is us. Our grandparents lived here, we lived here, we made the place what it is today, and we planted it with our hopes and dreams.”

Rammal’s desire to powerfully depict human stories has always been at the core of his work and is what compelled him to enter the industry.

While studying filmmaking in Jordan, he began working on a variety of films, including commercial content. However, Rammal considers his work in cinema to be the most powerful.

Among his projects is a short documentary about a young Syrian girl who lives in a refugee camp. It explores the impact of living in camps on the development of children’s and teenagers’ identities, he explained.  

“This was my first movie and it spread widely,” said Rammal. “It earned six or seven awards and participated in around 40–45 local and global festivals.”

Another film Rammal recently worked on is called “Hajez.” Describing the film, he explained that “It is a short drama about a Palestinian family that goes to the carnival during eid and is faced with difficulties at the Israeli checkpoints.” The movie won a grant from Jordan’s Royal Film Commission.

The use of humanitarian stories to communicate social issues unites his work. By drawing from his personal identity, Rammal instills these stories with the power to mobilize audiences.

This is an approach he believes to be especially important in an age of social media; when used effectively, these tools can help generate global solidarity.

“Everyone in their work, their art, their voices, their words can be a part of forming the Palestinian narrative and correcting the facts,” said Rammal. “We need to keep defending and fighting for human rights.”

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