Birzeit graduate wins Best Documentary at CAM International Festival

Birzeit University graduate Elia Ghorbiah, has won the Best Documentary Award for her film, “Bitter Ink,” at the 7th CAM International Festival for Short Films, held from December 15th – 20th of 2017 in Cairo, Egypt.

The festival, organized under the banner “Cinema Without Limits,” hosted short documentaries, novel-based movies, and animation films produced between the years 2016 and 2017.

Ghorbiah, who majored in Media and Political Science at Birzeit University and works as an independent journalist with many Arab and international media organizations, leveraged her perspective to deliver a film that showcased the will and motivation of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.

The film shines the spotlight on Basem Khandaqji, a successful writer who has authored many well-known books and publications despite serving eleven years in Israeli prisons. 

Also present in the film are freedom prisoners who discussed their experiences in trying to smuggle their written books and drafts out of the prisons in which they were held, as well as the painstaking attempts at obtaining simple instruments such as pencils and papers.

Ghorbiah describes the film as a “thirty-minute long documentary which explores prison literature. That genre that was, and still is, a way of resistance and an extension of prisoners outside their unjust confines. While sharing some similarities with the general genre, the Palestinian prisoners’ experience in prison literature is its own special niche in which it eschews classical methods of writing and carves itself new, novel ways of expression.”

“This film,” added Ghorbiah, “is a tribute to the valiant prisoners held in the occupation’s prisons; those who are giving years away of their lives to free Palestine and keep the Palestinian dream alive.”