viernes, marzo 06, 2009

CLOSED ZONE: 'Waltz With Bashir' Animator Makes Film On Gaza

RAMALLAH, West Bank -- An Israeli creator of the Oscar-nominated "Waltz with Bashir" released a short film Wednesday about the effects of his country's Gaza blockade on Palestinians.

Yoni Goodman said he hoped the 90-second animated film, "Closed Zone," would draw attention to the plight of Gaza's civilians.

"People talk about Hamas, but there are many civilians there who are not Hamas supporters but who are suffering from this blockade," the animator said.

Israel has kept Gaza's borders largely sealed since the Islamic militant Hamas took over the seaside territory in June 2007. Since then, Israeli has heavily restricted Palestinians from leaving Gaza and limited the goods that can enter.

The closed borders are a major issue in both peace talks and proposals to reconstruct Gaza after Israel's three-week offensive ended in January. Both Palestinians and international aid groups say the borders must be opened to allow in much-needed living supplies.

Goodman said he began the film before Israel launched its offensive against Gaza's ruling Hamas militants in December, but the conflict affected the story.

The film, a combination of animation and real-life scenes, follows a boy chasing a blue bird while large hands block his way. The hands cut Gaza's borders in the ground with a giant cookie-cutter, then prevent the boy from crossing.

At one point, missiles arc over the boy's head, exploding in a city on the horizon.

The film was commissioned by the Israeli human rights group Gisha. Goodman said that as an Israeli, he hoped the film could challenge the view that most Israelis favor violence.

"I want people in the West to see it, to see that there are people in Israel who are against war, who want peace," he said.

Goodman was animation director for "Waltz with Bashir," which followed a soldier struggling to recall suppressed memories of his involvement in Israel's 1982 war with Lebanon. The film won a Golden Globe award and was nominated for an Oscar for best foreign film.

"Closed Zone" has been released on the Internet at and on YouTube, but Goodman hopes it will have wider distribution.