The goal of €2500 has been reached. Now I'm aiming for €750 extra to finance photo prints and other things that will be sold and of which the profit will go to 7Hills Skatepark, so that they can keep doing the great work they are doing!
On a recent trip to Palestine I volunteered as a skateboard teacher in Ramallah and travelled the country to skate various villages and cities. The appreciation I felt from the youth is hard to describe.
There I realised that it is extremely important to show the world that it is a safe and beautiful place to skate and to travel to. The Middle East has had a lot of negative exposure in the media. This has given many people a wrong perspective on the countries, their people and their culture.
It is time to put all of this in reverse.
As various documentaries have been made, often going deeper into the context of the conflict and the organisations doing a great job over there I figured why not show the most simple and pure thing that drives me there in the first place? The joy on the kids’ faces, their equality and that what has given their life a positive direction again, skateboarding.
One of the girls at the skatepark in Asira Al-Shamaliya, Palestine.
In April, 2018 I joined Kadir Küçük on a trip to Palestine, to help him with his documentary "Sababa".
Just like Kadir the conflict has always had my interest. Places like Skateistan or the SkatePal projects were on my list for some time and when Kadir told me about his project it didn’t take long for me to decide to join him. I actually felt that I had to!
During this visit I created a strong feeling and interest for the land and its warm and very hospitable people and their culture. Something I had never experienced elsewhere.
Before we were on our way back home I had already decided that I wanted to go back very soon.
So upon arrival back home I soon booked a ticket and found myself back in Palestine for the months of September and October. Once there my feelings grew even stronger and I was inspired to come back next year and make a skatevideo.
Skateclasses in Ramallah, Palestine.
November 2018, strongly feeling the need to go back again.
Within three weeks I contacted Kaspar Wauters who I had met during my time in Palestine - where he played a role in A Skate Play. Kas is one of the volunteers and the co-director of 7Hills skatepark in Amman, Jordan. While in Palestine he had already invited me to come over.
Again I did not need a lot of time to consider booking a ticket. So on the second of December I am flying out to the Middle East again to visit Kas and Mohammed Zakaria, a skateboarder born and raised in Amman.
In December 2014 the first skatepark of Jordan was built in Amman by local skateboarders and international volunteers with a strong passion for skateboarding.
Two years later, in 2016, Kas and Mohammed started a skateprogram that provided free skateboards and free skateclasses.
They focus on local kids and refugees, more specifically on those from a lower social economical class. For instance they provide them with free transportation from the refugee camps and marginalised neighbourhoods to the skatepark.
Skateboarding is a platform that brings diverse ethnicities together, no matter religion, gender, age or social economical class.
The 7Hills skatepark is situated in one of the few public parks that you will find in the city. There are very few places where one can relieve unless they have the money to pay for it. Also there’s not many options for sports or forms of recreation.
With 7Hills they want to make skateboarding accessible and give the youth a change to express theirselves and connect to others in an open and equal culture that is skateboarding.
Every week more than 150 kids come to the skatepark for an energetic session.
40% of them are girls, which is a rather high percentage for a mainly Muslim community. 70% of the kids are refugees from neighbouring countries such as Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Palestine.
Jevelle teaching how to set up a skateboard to the girls at the skateclass in Ramallah, Palestine.
A WARM MEDIUM
The reason why I am looking for your help is the fact that I work with Super 8 film.
I have been using Super 8 film for 10 years and the curiosity of how your film turned out after development is not comparable to logging your HD clips onto your computer.
The feeling of film is something that I will not receive from any other media, and that is why I continue working with this beautiful material.
In those 10 years the costs of Super 8 have doubled, and that is why it is hard for me to continue working with it independently.
Your donations will help me to document the warm feeling of the Middle East on a medium that I find most fit for the situation.
I appreciate your time reading this and your donations towards the projects. To show my appreciation there are various rewards depending on the amount donated.
Daily I will post photos and videos of my time in Amman on my Instagram. Of the kids at the park, the skatesessions with Kas and the locals throughout the city and everything that crosses my path.