Obliterated Families Film Screening

by Christina Butcher for OLY ARTS

The effects of war and military offenses echo through a community long after the battles end. It’s a harsh reality that’s often forgotten, but photographer Anne Paq and journalist Ala Qandil hope to bring the issue back into mainstream media with their independent film Obliterated Families: Intimate Portraits of Gaza’s Lost, playing at Olympia Film Society’s Capitol Theater. The documentary sheds light on the lives and deaths of families affected by military offenses and bombings in the Gaza Strip during the 2014 Gaza conflict. “We could not get the full story of what happened to these families,” said Paq, “so the idea was to go back to the villages and see the families to try to understand what was done to them.”

Paq, a member of the Activestills photo collective, and Qandil, a journalist, directed and produced Obliterated Families in 2014. The pair interviewed and photographed over 50 families whose lives were affected by the 2014 Israeli offensive in Gaza. The stories of 10 of those families are showcased in the interactive documentary, which was launched in July 2016 but continues to build over time. “There were a lot of statistics coming out of that war,” Qandil said, “but we didn’t want those stories to become just numbers. We wanted to pull something out from the numbers and show who those people were.” Paq reinforced the sentiment, saying, “We found it really important to echo their voices, especially their calls for justice.”

The Obliterated Families screening at OFS is hosted by the American Friends Service Committee and by the Rachel Corrie Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to fostering respect, understanding and cooperation in local and global communities. Jessica Babcock, the program manager at the Rachel Corrie Foundation, spoke to OLY ARTS about the organization’s dedication to keeping political activist Rachel Corrie’s story (and those of others who died for the same cause) alive though projects like Obliterated Families. “One of our commitments as a foundation is to people and places, particularly in Rafah, where Rachel intended to maintain relationships with the people there. By sharing the stories of those families in Gaza now, we’re trying to amplify their voices and connect back to the community that Rachel was in.”

“Film is always a great and powerful way to grab people’s attention immediately,” Babcock continued. “This film does just that.”

What: Obliterated Families

When:  6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 26

Where: Capitol Theater,
206 Fifth Ave. SE, Olympia

How much: $10

Learn more: 360-754-3998 │ The Rachel Corrie Foundation