Archive for April, 2010

New volunteers are needed! Start now!

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

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Time goes by in Jenin. While I’m writing that story, my last day in the Cinema Jenin project has begun. 7 weeks I’ve been here, for some people that might be a long time, however, for me it was like a short film. I spent 50 days as a volunteer in this project and what I lived to see was much more than I expected when I had left Germany. Before I started my journey to the north of the west bank, friends of mine had mentioned: Why Jenin? Isn’t that a quite dangerous place? I was not sure, what I shall answer them. I didn’t’ know so much about Jenin with its approximately 50.000 inhabitants, including the neighboring refugee camp. After staying 7 weeks in the city and according to my experiences, I’m able to answer them: Don’t worry: it’s one of the most comfortable places I’ve ever been with lots of friendly and open minded people.

What I appreciate beyond that was the work in the project itself. Retrospectively, I’ve recognized a deep team building process between local and international members of the Cinema Jenin project. The project has become a melting pot for Palestinians and international volunteers, who have -due the common working process- grown up to one team.

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„Heart of Jenin“ wins German Film Award 2010

Monday, April 26th, 2010

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Berlin/Jenin – On Friday night, director Marcus Vetter, founder of Project Cinema Jenin, enthusiastically accepted the LOLA for the best German documentary film 2010.

Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel was among the audience who witnessed „Heart of Jenin“ win the award for the best feature-length documentary in Berlin. After having been awarded a number of international prizes in 2009 (Audience Choice Awards of the International Film Festivals in Dubai and Den Haag, Cinema for Peace-Award), Marcus Vetter was visibly delighted when his film now received the most highly endowed and renowned film award of his home country. „I am extraordinarily happy about this award. One reason, of course, is the further acknowledgement of ‘Heart of Jenin’. The other reason, which is especially important to me, is that this honour contributes to bringing ‘Project Cinema Jenin’ into the public focus”, he said.

The completion of the film was not at all the end of the moving story of „Heart of Jenin“: It was in 2008 that the idea of renovating Jenin’s old cinema and of building a centre for film in the West Bank occurred to Marcus Vetter. Skilled Palestinian workers as well as local and international volunteers have been working on the reopening of “Cinema Jenin” for more than two years. The moment they have been waiting for will finally arrive on August 5th: The cinema will open its doors with a large celebration and a three-day film festival. The opening film, of course, will be „Heart of Jenin“.

To make the dream, that started with “Heart of Jenin”, come true in its entirety, Project Cinema Jenin continues to count on its supporters’ commitment. The outside of the cinema is already finished. Now the renovation of the interior and the installation of the technical equipment remain to be completed. Next to the cinema building there will be (among other things) an open air screen with 1200 seats, a coffee house, a sound and dubbing studio, and an editing room. So there is still much to be done within the next three months, and for all this, the project will need another 70.000 Euros.

People who would like to contribute to the renovation of the cinema, are welcome to support project Cinema Jenin: Here you find more informations how to support us

New workshops have been started

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

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Three and a half months before the opening festival will take place in Jenin, two workshops offered by Cinema Jenin have been started. Volunteer Mike Gentile is very glad to lead a film and editing workshop with about 30 Palestinian locals: “It’s a new experience to offer a workshop and I really enjoy the time with the participants because all of them are very interested in learning how to create a film.” Both workshops are kindly sponsored by HERZENSSACHE e.V. from SWR Baden Baden.

That enthusiasm was a crucial factor for Mike to defer his intended studies, which would begin next month. According to that, he will stay in Jenin for an undetermined amount of time to build up a professional film team, which will be able to create advertising movies for the new LED-Screen. That huge screen (4×6m) to be placed on the cinema’s roof probably arrives in May. The participants are trained in technical skills like shooting, cutting and editing. “The workshop is a great experience for us, some kind of adventure”, Mona Staiti, a participant, said. One of the main characteristics of the workshop, which she especially points out, is the teamwork. “All of us are involved in discussions and processes so that everybody for example gets the chance to be a director or cameraman. We take all decisions together.”

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Press release April 2010 – Prime Minister Platzeck in Jenin

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

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(From left to right: Marcus Vetter, the director of ‘Heart of Jenin’ with Matthias Platzeck, Brandenburg’s state prime minister.)

„The cinema is the highlight of my visit here. It is impossible to describe in words how beautiful it is“, says Matthias Platzeck, Prime Minister of the Federal State of Brandenburg, on his visit of „Cinema Jenin“

Jenin– The Prime Minister of the Federal State of Brandenburg, Matthias Platzeck, has visited the project „Cinema Jenin“ in the West Bank today, and was thrilled. „This cinema is more than a regular cinema. It will further peace in this region a good deal“, said Platzeck. He was visibly moved by a 20-minute film trailer, which was shown for the first time to an audience of some 100 Palestinian guests and 20 businessmen from Brandenburg in the same movie theatre that had screened its last film more than 20 years before. The trailer shows the origins of the project „Cinema Jenin“. The film itself will have its worldwide theatrical release in 2011.
Matthias Platzeck took the time for long conversations with Jenin’s governor Qadora Muosa as well as with Marcus Vetter, director and founder of the „Cinema Jenin“ project. „It always takes some crazy people to get something like this off the ground“, he said about the cinema in the West Bank, which will be groundbreaking as a symbol of peace in the region.

Accompanied by businessmen from Brandenburg, Matthias Platzeck inaugurated a solar collector (sponsored by the Bosch Group and B5 Solar) for the cinema roof, which will guarantee an ecological and cost-saving energy supply for the cinema’s future. Brandenburg’s main promotional bank ILB has funded the transport of the solar collector with 12.000 Euros. The Prime Minister concluded his visit announcing that he, as well as Studio Babelsberg in Potsdam, will sponsor one of the newly restored cinema seats.

Background: „Welcome to Cinema Jenin!“

The work on “Cinema Jenin” began in 2008: The old cinema is planned to become a comprehensive cultural centre in the middle of Jenin. The opening for all Palestinian visitors is scheduled for the first week of August. A large festival with international guests and a selected programme will presumably take place in April 2011. Fakhri Hamad (Jenin), Marcus Vetter (Tübingen, Germany), and Ismail Khatib (Jenin) are the initiators of the project. Fakhri Hamad is also the manager of “Cinema Jenin”.

«Heart of Jenin» nominated for “Deutscher Filmpreis 2010″

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

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Marcus Vetter, director and founder of Cinema Jenin, enters the competition for the most prestigious German film award.

Jenin/Berlin – Last Friday, the 1000 members of the Deutsche Filmakademie announced their votes: „Heart of Jenin“ is now among the two best documentary films, so director Marcus Vetter’s chances are quite good to be able to take home one of the desired LOLA trophies from the award ceremony on April 23rd. The ceremony at the Friedrichstadtpalast, Berlin will be hosted by TV celebrity Barbara Schöneberger, and broadcast live from 9.45 p.m. on Erstes Deutsches Fernsehen. Next to Marcus Vetter’s “Heart of Jenin”, other successful German films such as Fatih Akin’s “Soul Kitchen”, or Michael Haneke’s “Das weiße Band”, hope for the equally prestigious and lucrative prize.

Even though Project Cinema Jenin will not benefit from the nomination financially, the large symbolic value provides the project with new impetus: “It is great to receive such acknowledgement for ‘Heart of Jenin’, especially now. We, the team of Cinema Jenin, are currently going through the very difficult final stage concerning funding and completion of the cinema. The nomination for the film award has given a real psychological boost not only to me, but to all the team members”, says Marcus Vetter, director and founder of Cinema Jenin.
This drive is hoped to last until August 2010: Then Cinema Jenin, with a big celebration, will open its doors to the inhabitants of Jenin as well as to all the friends, sponsors and promoters of this international peace project in the West Bank.

Anyone who is interested can adopt one of the beautiful red velvet seats of the cinema. To cover the costs of this cultural project in the West Bank, a symbolic amount of 1000 Euros per chair is needed. Donors are also welcome to fund part of a chair, or to pool the sum as a group.

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