GAZA, a documentary co-directed by Enniskillen man Andrew McConnell has been described as the “most compelling, captivating and poignant story at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival” while Mr. McConnell himself has said that he wants people to understand that while Gaza is “devastated” by conflict it is “certainly not defined by it”.

It premiered at the festival yesterday (Wednesday) and Enniskillen documentary maker, Trevor Birney, who was also involved in the project, said that the “images the captured of Gaza and its people will captivate audiences.”

The film charts the every day life of people in Palestine, with Mr. Birney stating:

“This is a very beautiful film that Andrew and Garry Keane have created. Andrew’s work on the film is simply stunning. It’s clear that in making this film he fell in love with Gaza. The film is a “symphony of life” and l’m very proud to have been involved in it,” he said before adding:

“The fact that it was a fellow Skin Town man who shot this amazing film just that little more special. The people of Gaza deserve their story being told to that world. As a result of Andrew McConnell’s incredible work, film audiences around the world will come to appreciate the conditions they are having to suffer under.”

Speaking to Forbes magazine Mr. McConnell said it was a documentary about “understanding”.

“Even though the subject is very specific we certainly feel that at its heart GAZA is a film about promoting understanding. Whether it’s the Palestinians in Gaza, or refugees from Syria, or immigrants from South America, there is something inherently flawed in basing our understanding of foreign peoples on flash news reports. As Karma says in the film - "we should look deeper." The trend towards vilifying foreigners, whether refugees or immigrants, is largely a distraction used by disingenuous politicians. That fear is built on misunderstanding, so as documentary makers it is hugely important to try and address it.”

The Enniskillen photographer and director wants people to see GAZA as “more than just a battle zone”:

We hope the audience comes away from the film with a new perspective on Gaza and a better insight into the situation there. We hope there will be compassion and a realization that the blockade is inhuman, it is the collect punishment of an entire population, it is the cause of so much suffering, and it must end. We believe this is the first time that audiences worldwide will see Gaza as more than just a battle zone, and that, yes, Gaza is devastated by recurring conflict but is certainly not defined by it.”