Denis Asaad, in her film Storyteller, goes back in memory to Palestine as a whole country that children can only visualize in their bed-time tales.
This experience combines all the incidents together and unifies them as one body: time and place, past and present, and dream and reality.
Muhamad Sawaf, Storyteller film director, whose film won the Child and Family Award for the long film category at The 10th Aljazeera Documentary Film Festival, says that they tried to put together some of the unrecorded and inherited stories that dispersed with Palestinians.
Denis Asaad's stories represent a genre of art that has begun to finish, her folkloric tales have borne the Palestinian story and the diverse stories painted a comprehensive portrait. Meanwhile, the storyteller roamed the divided Palestine talking about the forced immigration, dividing the land, renaming areas, steadfastness, and putting up with difficult life in order to acquire the due rights.
In his bid to have a good climax, Sawaf says that he focused on having spontaneous events and adds, " I talked to Denis for a month discussing her life routines, and how she tells stories. We visited the characters: Um Yousef and Um Oudeh and a place called Al-Khan Al-Ahmer in the C Areas. Then we left Denis with the freedom without imposing a specific scenario on her."
He also talks about the obstacles facing production in the divided and occupied territories and says, "We utilized the situation of Denis as a resident of Haifa and her ability to move between cities comfortably. We shot in many sets without permits, and we had to hire a Portuguese cameraman to overcome the problem of checkpoints. Our most sought after goal was the enjoyment of watching, content, and the importance of the message."
Sawaf adds, "We gathered a very big material that was worth using. However, in every shooting hour of a film, we use 5 - 7 minutes in average. More important was to foreground the issue of dividing Palestine, and how some Palestinians are dislocated again. This is in addition to the constant change of landmarks in order to Judaize them."
He says, "As a director, it was hard for me to visit a lot of places. When the director is absent, work becomes hard to accomplish. A documentary film differs from drama as the scenario continues to evolve in the first one."
Sawaf concludes, "We tried to overcome all these obstacles, and we focused on the strength of the message the film bears. We mentioned inherited and unrecorded stories that were dispersed with Palestinians that bear the history of these people. Stories based on the oppressor and the oppressed and define how life was in the past, and how it has become."