Trapped in Gaza, star misses Sundance Film Festival

Adel Hana / AP)
Actor and playwright Ali Abu Yaseen, star of the film “Gaza,” was blocked from leaving the Gaza Strip.

By Associated Press Staff | Haaretz | Jan 30, 2019

‘I’m seething with indignation. The dream that I had for the past three months has all but collapsed.’
— Actor and playwright Ali Abu Yaseen

A new documentary called “Gaza” is hitting the screens at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival this week, providing a colorful glimpse of life in the blockaded Hamas-ruled territory. But one of its main subjects, Gaza actor and playwright Ali Abu Yaseen, won’t be attending the gathering due to the very circumstances depicted in the film.

Abu Yaseen had hoped to make his first-ever trip to the US to take part in the festival. But the continued closure of Gaza’s border with Egypt, and Hamas’ bureaucratic inefficiency, made it impossible for him to reach Cairo in time to receive a visa from the American Embassy needed to travel to Utah.

After missing Tuesday’s premiere, Abu Yaseen has all but given up hope of reaching Utah on time. The film’s final screening is on Saturday.

“Gaza,” a 90-minute film, is among 12 contestants in the World Cinema Documentary competition at Sundance. Directed by award-winning Irish film makers Garry Keane and Andrew McConnell, the work takes a look at everyday life in Gaza, from wars and their traumas to young people’s pastimes and aspirations.

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