Over the course of 11 days in May 2021, at least 67 children were killed in Gaza. This past year was the deadliest for Palestinian children since 2014.
Made with the help of UNICEF, Eleven Days in May is an homage to the children, so that they may never be forgotten. The film is co-directed by English helmer Michael Winterbottom and Palestinian filmmaker Mohammed Sawwaf.
”Despite the severity of the war, when we listened to the families during the filming, and saw the sorrow they felt for the loss of their children, their reactions were more difficult for us than the experience of the war itself,” said Sawwaf.
“The film is a very simple act of remembrance,” added Winterbottom. “It is easy to hear about a war in a far off country and not worry too much about it. This film tries to give the children, and the families who grieve for them, a voice. If people hear their stories, perhaps they will not be forgotten. If we can imagine ourselves in their place, we can understand that war is never a solution, it is always the problem.”
On Wednesday, May 4 at 7 p.m. Eleven Days in May will premiere in London, at the Picturehouse Central, as part of a charity event to benefit the HOPING Foundation's work for Palestinian refugee children. The screening will include a special Q & A with the filmmakers, presented by Russell Brand and HOPING's co-founder, Bella Freud, who will speak briefly about the Foundation’s programmes.
Winterbottom was born in Blackburn, Lancashire and began working as a filmmaker in the mid-90s. His films have been screened at the most prestigious festivals around the world, including Berlinale, the Festival de Cannes and the Venice Film Festival. He mixes a reality feel with great narratives to create unique films beloved by both audiences and critics, and which make the viewer feel like they are part of the story.
Winterbottom has also been a Humanitas Visiting Professor in Film and Television at Oxford University.
Sawwaf is a journalist, director and screenwriter. He is also the founder/manager of Alef Multimedia Company and has been working for the past 14 years in the fields of film production and multimedia. The Palestinian filmmaker has received several international awards in filmmaking. One of his projects, Sperm Smuggling, a 70-minute film monitoring the smuggling of semen from Israeli jails by Palestinian prisoners to their wives, inspired Mohamed Diab's Palestinian-set story Amira.
To find out more about Eleven Days in May and purchase tickets, go to the Picturehouse website.