SOAS University of London

SOAS scholar's research on Palestine informs new animated film “The Tower”

25 June 2018

A book by Dr Dina Matar, head of the Centre for Global Media and Communication at SOAS University of London, has informed the development of the newly-released animated film “The Tower” by filmmaker Mats Grorud.

Dr Matar’s book ‘What it means to be Palestinian’ (2010) is a narrative of a collection of personal stories and memories by diverse Palestinians across four countries. Some of these life stories and their tellers provided Grorud with material for the script of the movie while the book helped create a more grounded experience of the context.

Norwegian-born Grorud had spent a year between 2002 and 2003 working at the Burj el-Barajneh camp in the suburbs south of Beirut, culling stories from some of the refugees he encountered. Previously, he lived in Cairo as a child, as well as spending time in Jerusalem and Gaza. He developed the idea of “The Tower” from these experiences.

The film recently premiered at the 2018 Annecy Film Festival, the most prestigious festival for animation in France. Dr Matar attended both the premiere and a screening with a Q&A session with the audience and the film’s director acknowledged Dina’s contribution before showing the film.

Watch the trailer here.