By Faten Omar
KUWAIT: The Women’s Cultural and Social Society screened on Saturday a Palestinian short film “Touchline”, directed by Mohammed Saffouri, at Lulwa Al-Qatami hall. The film tells the true story of the Palestinian Catastrophe (Nakba) through the eyes of a young football player in 1948. In his speech during the panel discussion, Palestinian American Saffouri said that the award-winning film is based on his grandfather’s life, as the war began in Palestine when he was about to join the national soccer team and he was forced to give up his dream.
Saffouri revealed that he heard this story directly from his grandfather when he was a child, and he remembered it as being particularly fascinating, but brief and precise enough to evolve into a strong narrative that could be delivered in less than 15 minutes. Saffouri added that the Palestinian cause is known among Arabs but not by Westerners, noting the film aims to introduce the American people to the situation in Palestine and the Nakba of 1948.
“We all know that Palestine is occupied, but there are many people in Western countries who have no idea about the cause. We have to tell the untold story, and there are a lot of Palestinian stories that are untold. We all have a story to tell about our family members,” Saffouri explained. He discussed during the event insights about the film.
The story is set in 1948 and centers around a 17-year-old boy called Ahmad who plays football in a local club in Haifa, and gets an offer to play for the Palestinian national team. On his way home, the war starts and people flee. Ahmad comes home and finds his family also packing to seek refuge somewhere safe, so he faces the fact that he will leave his friends and dreams behind.
Touchline is the first Jordanian film to be screened at the Tribeca film festival in New York. The film is written and directed by Saffouri and produced by Tareq Baddar. Cinematography is by Ghassan Nazmi and the music by Omar El-Deeb. The short film was made as part of the director’s senior thesis while studying at George Mason University.