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The Box

A journey along the borders of the Gaza Strip

Imagine you are living in a place that has no exits.

The furthest point you can reach is one hour away by car. You can see the rest of the world through your computer screen, but you can’t go see with your own eyes. And at the same time, hardly anyone can come in.

Imagine.

This is Gaza. A place that measures 40 km in length and between 8 and 12 km in width. 2 million people are living inside this closed enclave that you can cross in one hour from north to south, and 15 minutes from east to west. That’s maybe the time it takes you to get to work.

It is isolated from the outside world by physical borders and a system made up of entry proceedings, security concerns and who can go out or in is based on the interests of different political players. Unless you fulfill specific requirements, like being an NGO worker or a journalist, the door is locked.

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About this documentary

We want to take you Gaza and explore what it means to be locked in. We want you to come with us on an adventure and explore this place that is so heavily reported on, but that only few have really seen and felt from inside.

See the three towers in the back? And the balloon and another tower next to it? That’s the border to Israel seen from the window of a high building in Gaza City.

You will see how everything changes once you leave Israel through the border crossing Erez and walk towards the other side. The colours, the sounds, the air, everything changes. It is like you are leaving the real world and entering a world of its own, with its own sense of time, and a unique sense of space.

You enter the box.

Inside, there are beaches, there are farms, there are people living, studying, working. There’s life. And although this life is confined by borders, the 2 million people are breathing and alive. Many of them, young and old, are trying to leave, to see what’s beyond those 2.5 hours and explore the space that we outside take for granted.

We met them on our journey along the borders of Gaza.

We started moving. From corner to corner to corner to corner, along the Israeli and Egyptian borders of the strip in an attempt to capture how small it is, and what it feels like to be there. On this journey we are talking to people we meet on the way, fishermen and farmers, hotel owners, creatives or people who just happen to be there.

Who we are

We are Jehad Saftawi and Victoria Schneider. Two friends, a videographer and a writer, who are inspired by our own disbelief about how life and its possibilities can be so entirely different depending on where you are born.

Victoria was born in Germany with an idea of space that has no limits. You just go to the airport or train station and leave. Her passport can get her to 173 countries in the world - just like that.

Jehad has spent the majority of his life in Gaza, where space is limited to a radius of maximum one hour by car, where there’s no airport, no seaport and no train station. After numerous years of trying he finally managed to travel this September.

How did we come up with this?

We started working on this film last year. What happened was that while we both don’t understand the concept of borders, we realised that each of us, because of where we were born and what passport we’re holding, inherently has a particular perspective on this issue that the other has not - Victoria is the bird from the outside, Jehad the prisoner inside. So we decided to team up to make the picture complete.

Help us make the Box

We’re doing this project independently and ran a crowdfunding campaign (thank you, supporters!) to cover some of our costs.

If you want to help make this film possible you can support us by sending us a donation.