Palestine: Young women behind the camera in the spotlight at audio-visual training
The film industry’s gender gap is in the spotlight, with actors speaking up against under-representation and unequal pay. Women behind the spotlights, on the other hand, remain largely in the shadow. Worldwide, only one in four employed in the audiovisual and interactive media are women. Theatre Day Productions in Palestine launched Women Audio Visual Education (WAVE) in Gaza to address this issue.
The training, conducted by two international light and sound specialists, focused on practical tips and techniques that participants can immediately apply. Part of the class was dedicated to filming with smartphones, including how to eliminate the background noise and improve the quality of voice recordings on a mobile device. During a module on interview techniques, Sa’ady-Awwad, a recent university graduate in multimedia, realised that “to make an artistic interview, you need a right place and a right light.” While not new to conducting interviews, WAVE gave her a new perspective - “When I rewatched the documentary films I produced before this training, I realised that all the interviews needed editing.” Al Matrabiee experienced a similar revelation. “When I watch films or see photographs now, I notice how light and sound was used by a creator. I ask myself - if I were the creator, what would I change about the light and sound?”
Enormous possibilities belong to the digital creativity industry.
WAVE’s mission echoes that of UNESCO-Sabrina Ho Initiative, to foster future female leaders and turn up female voices in the digital creative industry. According to UNESCO’s flagship publication Global Report 2018, the gender gap in the digital environment is widening. Not only are women less connected to the Internet, they benefit less from digital literacy and skills training. In an era where creative projects increasingly take place online, this gap has direct consequences on future employability of women in cultural and creative industries. Aya Al Matrabiee believes that “enormous possibilities belong to the digital creativity industry,” and this is why women need to pursue in this domain. While female representation has some way to go, she can see that female creatives are rising in Palestine: “When I tried to create a group of young photographers in Gaza a couple years ago, I could not find any girls. Today, the situation is better. This is because we, women together, are acting to change it.”
Theatre Day Productions help participants find their entrepreneurial spirit and start creative projects aided by newly gained technical skills. Ultimately, they hope to see original content by Palestinian women distributed and celebrated at international festivals and markets. “I want to share my dream with you,” says Aya Al Matrabiee after the training – “It’s to build my own company on digital media content.”