30 Meters of Silence
- Een film van Al Massad
2005. 35 min documentary.
Utrecht 1991, the old Military Hospital located on Joseph Haydnlaan,
is moved to the ‘de Uithof’ allowing the original
site to be redeveloped and restored. The interim period
saw the Military Hospital take residency at the Academisch Ziekenhuis.
Since 1942, the primary use for the Military Hospital was housing military soldiers.
However, after the restoration the building became occupied by citizens,
but this time
they were asylum seekers. Men, women and children from all corners
of the world, waiting
for a chance to start a new life.
All asylum seekers expected to move on quickly, but the reality was
that many of them
stayed in the complex for several years. In 1995 filmmaker Mahmoud
al Massad, lived
across the road from the asylum centre.
From inside his house he watched the refugee children playing and
interacting with one
another. The children, aged between five and seven years had arrived
at he centre from
all parts of the world: Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Ethiopia
Bound together by circumstance the children played with one another
with out prejudiced
and prejudgement of cultural background or language barriers.
Compelled to document what he had seen, Mahmoud decided to film and
children. The result was 45 minutes of super 8 and a Hi 8 film material.
Seven years later Mahmoud still waiting for his permit of residency,
finally received notice
that he had been accepted. In the meantime he had moved houses and
lost contact with
the children. Towards the end of 2002, while shifting some old boxes
across the archive footage of the refugee children. After examining
the footage his curiosity
was running wild. How are all the children actually doing?
The group of children are now between 12 and 14 years of age. If still
living in the Netherlands
most would now be attending high school, having to make new friends.
Most would be faced
with having to make choices about what direction in life they are
going to take, where to go
out and the experiences of beginning relationships.
Are these children busy with these thoughts? What has happened in
the last seven years?
What do they expect in the near future, what are their ideals, beliefs
They came to the Netherlands as children of asylum seekers, forced
to live in a foreign land.
The film 30 metres of Silence, searches to uncover how the lives of
these children over the
last seven years.
- Silver Hawk 2006 - Arab Film Festival Rotterdam