Palestinian Filmmaker, Mohamed Jabaly, has won the Best Director award at the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam for his film Life is Beautiful.
His cinematic journey began in 2014, weaving a narrative that intertwined with the making of his documentary, Ambulance. This gripping film delves into his experience joining an ambulance crew amidst the intense conflict between Israel and Hamas. Life is Beautiful captures the challenges he encountered, creating a narrative that transcends the boundaries of storytelling.
According to Deadline, “Life Is Beautiful is what he made of the materials. The film illustrates the sharp contrast between Jabaly’s life in snowy Tromsø and the world he had left behind in Gaza, superheated in terms of temperature and political conflict.”
Two months later, Jabaly embarked on an exchange program in Norway, and during that time the borders to Gaza were shut. He didn’t have anywhere to go. He tells Deadline, “It was only supposed to be for a short visit, one month, and then just return to Gaza and continue my life,” Jabaly recalls. “That became kind of my dilemma, my limbo of life, not knowing what’s going to happen for me.”
The jurors of The International Documentary Festival’s praised Jabaly’s film, “A timely cinematic expression of the universal need to be recognized in our full humanity. A compelling indictment of the bureaucratic and political structures that deny that. A directorial tone that, almost impossibly, manages to find hope and humor amid unimaginable pain. [It is] an urgent call for freedom, freedom of movement, freedom of opportunity and the freedom to pursue our dreams.”