Magazine article Screen International

Roger Hill, Flying Paper

Magazine article Screen International

Roger Hill, Flying Paper

Article excerpt

In their film Flying Paper, political documentarian Roger Hill and co-director Nitin Sawhney travelled to the Kite Festival in Gaza in summer 2010 to shoot a world record kite-flying attempt.

Flying Paper will be screened on Friday October 11 at the Arclight Documentary Film Festival in Hollywood and is set to screen across the US. Hill spoke to Jeremy Kay about his adventure.

What's Flying Paper about?It's an uplifting story of these youths in the Gaza Strip and their quest to shatter the Guinness World Record for the most kites ever flown.

Why kite flying?There's a very rich cultural tradition of kite making and kite-flying in the Gaza Strip and across the Palestinian diaspora. The children hand-made most of the kites [you see in the world record attempt.]`

What was the record before their attempt?A little over 3,500 kites.

How many did they get in the air?You'll have to watch the movie.

Who invigilated the attempt and how did they do it?Because of the [Israeli] blockade the Guinness people weren't able to get there so they instructed the festival organisers on how to oversee the record attempt. The children had to launch the kites and a siren goes off and after 30 seconds the officials count the number of kites that crash and subtract that from the total [number of kites launched.]

So how many did they launch and how many crashed? OK that was a cheap trick. Ahem, when did you go to the Gaza Strip?Most of the film was shot in 2010. We shot initial footage in the winter and we went back in the summer and shot the bulk of the film. Nitin went back in 2011.

How did you manage to enter Gaza?It's very difficult to get into Gaza. Nitin has Indian citizenship and the Indian embassy advocated for him to get in. I spent about three months with embassies and was able to get my press credentials to enter Egypt, from we entered Gaza.

How did you and Nitin meet?We met on a plane to Egypt. Both of us were trying to join a delegation on the Gaza Freedom March to bring supplies into Gaza. Egypt actually revoked our entry permission on that occasion so we spent some time in Egypt, about one year before the revolution, which was a very interesting time. We did a media training programme in a refugee camp for Palestinian youth aged 10-15. …

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