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Losing two brothers and gaining one

The remarkable documentary “Good Intentions” crowned the UK Jewish Film Festival that took place in London from 7th to 19th November.

Eluding the tribulations of the economy and stepping into the wonderful world of cinema was the invitation headline of the 13th UK Jewish Film Festival this year which included the inspiring documentary “Good intentions”, and offered much more to the festival than mere escapism and entertainment.  This “groundbreaking TV drama” centres around two female chefs from Palestine and Israel, who are invited to co-host a cookery show in Israel. This is a novelty in the ongoing dispute between Israelis and Palestinians, in their world of opposed communities, full of prejudice towards each other. Amal and Tamil, the two chefs, face enormous hostility when they decide to become friends.  “Should I say 'I can’t kill you because you are a friend of my mum’s'?” is the outrageous question of Tamil’s son as he is getting ready to join Israel’s army, to which Tamil’s husband exclaims wearily: “We can share as much humus as we want – there will never be peace. It is either them or us!”

Meanwhile, her partner Amal is declared a traitor and has to cope with the opposition from her embittered brother who lost his legs in an Israeli attack. Battling against the walls of prejudice and fear, Amal and Tamil decide to overcome these obstacles and to build bridges through the cookery show.

“Good intentions” is part of a drama series aired on Israeli television showing both Arabs and Jews interacting for the first time on prime time television broadcast both in Arabic and Hebrew. It is based on true stories, inspired by “The Parents’ Circle – Family Forum”, a peacemaking organisation that brings together Israeli and Palestinian families who have lost loved ones in the conflict. Their stories have been woven into the series, making the experience even more absorbing and intense.

In a discussion following the documentary, two members of The Parents’ Circle shared their experience as peacemakers in Israel. “Each of us must choose a path” explained Robi Damelin, whose son was killed in the conflict.

Her choice was to follow a road of education. Her knowledge grew as she discovered and learnt that Israelis and Palestinians generally don’t know or speak to each other – and therefore don’t understand one another. Robi passionately believes that her work can make a difference. “This is real, there is no fiction” added Ali Abu Awwad, the narrator of a fascinating story, and former anti-Israel activist. “I have lost two brothers in the conflict” he said, “but I have gained one”.

Attending the festival was throughout an enriching experience and the impact that the documentary had on us will surely endure.

If you are interested in learning more about “The Parents’ Circle – Family Forum”, please feel free to visit their website: http://www.theparentscircle.org/

By Julia Sahm

Global Marketing and finding the right words

A challenging equation which can build or destroy a brand

Creative Culture would like to share an article about Global Marketing and the importance of choosing the right words.

A study conducted by e-spirit shows how major global brands sometimes still under-estimate the importance of the global roll-out and finding the right partners to make their messages travel the world, in the most relevant and impacting way, culturally and linguistically.

Creativity does not translate, it adapts. This requires briefing, de-briefing and teams of talented creative specialists who understand the global needs as well as the local requirements.

The investment will always reveal being worth it. http://www.utalkmarketing.com/pages/Articles.aspx?ArticleD=15756&Title=Top_5Biggest_Global_Marketing_Blunders_revealed

By Melanie Chevalier

Greek Film Festival: Films for cultural explorers

The Hellenic Centre in London turned into an international meeting point for fans of Greek culture from 30th October to 1st November.

The influence of Greek culture on the world is undeniable. Having impacted so many different fields of society from architecture and sciences to sports and politics, there is hardly any part of Western culture without Greek traces. In the humanities, the Greeks initiated the detailed study of humans including history and philosophy instead of simply registering human events. There would be no Olympic Games and certainly no drama without the Greeks, for their civilization  brought theatre forms like drama, comedy and tragedy into being. What is more, they provided us with practical words like psychology, biology, philosophy or anthropology to talk about arts and science. We should therefore not be surprised that it was the Greek community that took up the cause of building bridges between their country and the rest of Europe as they hosted the second Greek Film Festival in London earlier this month.

Thanks to the detailed and warm-hearted organisation of the team around the film director Christos Prossylis, participating in the festival was like diving into the Greek culture with all the senses. Greek wine and the trendy drink “Mastika” were given out to greet the visitors, and later a band performed popular Greek songs like “Ta paidia tou peiraia” (“The Kids of Piraeus”) and “Nychtose choris feggari” (It is Dark without a Moon”). Greek food including filled vine leafs, Tzaziki, garlic bread and meat balls completed the picture.

“The country of myth, light, sea, sand, warm and friendly people” - that is how Sofia Panagiotaki, director of the National Tourism Organisation, enthusiastically presented the country in her speech. She invited film producers to shoot documentaries in Greece, describing it as a “fertile breeding ground for tales” and as “the nicest place in the world for documentaries”.

Her speech was underlined by Bettany Hughes, a British historian and journalist who explained how she fell in love with Greek culture and started to make documentaries about historical themes like the Spartans. To the pleasant surprise of the producers, these historical films became a huge global success. However, for Bethany Hughes one of the greatest achievements was when a Muslim activist wrote her an email saying that he had been inspired by one of her films to build bridges between cultures rather than to destroy them with violence.

The range of films presented at the festival was extremely varied – it included feature fiction films, short films, documentaries, animation and video art. For the first time this year, the festival also invited international artists with an interest in Greece to participate showing the country from different angles, through their own eyes.

The film festival organisers wanted to present Greek people as open-minded, enthusiastic and creative – and that is definitely the impression we had after the festival.
By Julia Sahm

Bringing a documentary back to life

Creative Culture continues its cooperation with Discovery Channel, acting as the local research and interpreting partner on the set of another fascinating documentary.

At the center of the documentary is an incident that happened at the Berlin Zoo on this year’s Good Friday - a dramatic experience between a woman and a polar bear witnessed by many visitors. The woman entered the polar bear enclosure and fell into the moat. Luckily, she was rescued and survived the incident.

It took place at the zoo that had become famous thanks to Knut, the orphan polar bear. Knut was the first polar bear to be born at the zoo and survive infancy. He was rejected by his mother and consequently raised by the zookeepers. The pictures of the cute bear playing with a zookeeper resulted in the “Knutomania” – the animal became a main tourist attraction and remained in the spotlight of German media coverage during the whole year of 2006.

To bring light on what happened at the zoo on Good Friday of 2009, Creative Culture was assigned to carry out the local research. As a first step, we provided the TV Channel with more information on the incident: where and how it happened and who was involved. We also located several witnesses who would later share their experience in the documentary.

The producers were very satisfied with the result of the research and invited us to act as a language expert on set. We were also an active support to conduct the interviews.

The shoot was spread over a few days and took place in two German cities, Aschaffenburg (near Frankfurt) and Moers (near Düsseldorf). We accompanied the crew in Moers, where a fourteen-year-old girl and her grandmother explained what it was like to observe this human interaction with the polar bears. They relived the various moments of the incident with all the facets and human emotions involved.

This experience made us wonder how interactions between polar bears and human beings happen when they are not behind bars. We learned that there have been many interactions between humans and bears around the world and more particularly in Churchill, Canada, the “Polar Bear Capital of the World”. Interestingly, only eight people have been killed by polar bears in all of Canada in the past 30 years, according to Polar Bears International. They even report on amusing incidents: in Churchill, a bear once ambled into the Royal Canadian Legion hall. When the club steward shouted that it was not allowed in, the bear immediately left. On other occasions, the animals were attracted to family houses by leftover food, but would leave the spot before the family returned.

However, the pictures of the cute polar bear Knut can be deceiving: polar bears remain very dangerous animals, especially when they are starving or being provoked. For that reason, we were glad to learn more about the animals and to deal with this extraordinary encounter at the Berlin Zoo – and not the polar bear itself.

By Julia Sahm