Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Svetlana Dimcovic's thoughts on 'El Problema'

Over the last couple of months, Sandblast has organised screenings of 'El Problema', a Spanish documentary which investigates the extent of the Moroccan occupational regime, and the human rights abuses which they enact on the Saharawi refugees. Svetlana Dimcovic, a director and writer, attended one of these screenings at the Freeword Centre on the 11th of July. What follows is her account of the screening:

El Problema

A long winding road.

Arabic signs passed quickly.

Someone speaking, his face not seen.

Instructions given to the backseat operator.
The guards will want this or that…better hide the camera.

But these are not journalists and this is not a news piece. The story unfolds. The car passes the controls. The driver is slowly revealed. He is guide, accomplice, teacher: he is taking the film  makers to the Saharawi people and the footage is not sanctioned. No one has commissioned these artists. No one is expecting this film. So they go on. Into the backstreets witnessing protests. Into people’s homes hearing their stories. Into courtrooms where the innocent await their fate, where the authority of the judge terrifies the young men in the dock.

The guide is beaten. We see the bruises. We see the price of the documentary on his skin and on his face. He is the one who didn’t get away.

The film makers capture what they need. Their camera sees, from the back seat of a moving car, what they could not hope to find without this man leading them to it. They make the film about Western Sahara that is not yet made.

They leave.

He stays, nursing his bruises, waiting.

The above photos are screenshots of 'El Problema'. The middle photo is of the Saharawi human rights defender Aminetou Haider whose comments on the Saharawi situation is particularly enlightening and revealing, as she herself was disappeared, and subsequently arrested.

Svetlana Dimcovic is a Director and Writer. She has recently set up a new writing collective in the Caribbean and regularly contributes to international forums on new writing. Svetlana Dimcovic – Director

Trained at the University of Birmingham, the Royal National Theatre Studio London and the Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon.

She has recently set up a new writing collective in the Caribbean and holds new writing workshops and programmes across the world.

She originated and led the Bush BEE Programme at the Bush Theatre, London (2009-2010), was Associate Director of the Gate Theatre, London (2003-2005), Associate Director of the Caird Company, London (2002-2005) and a Trainee Director at the Orange Tree Theatre (2001-2002).  

Her new writing work includes workshops for young playwrights and numerous translations for the Royal Court Theatre, RSC, BBC, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Company of Angels and the Caird Company.

Directing: Belfast Girls ( Kings Head Theatre), The Potting Shed by Graham Greene ( two sold out runs at the Finborough Theatre, 2010 and 2011), Oasis ( Scene Nationale de la Guadeloupe), Nine Night, 45 Minutes from Here (Bush Theatre, Square Chapel Halifax, Theatre in the Mill, Bradford), The God of Hell (Belgrade, Serbia), The Outside (Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond), Lithuanian Festival  (Southwark Playhouse), Zuva Crumbling (Lyric Hammersmith), The Professional (Citizens Theatre, Glasgow), Mushroom Pickers (Southwark Playhouse), Writer’s Generation (Arts Printing House, Vilnius, Lithuania) and The Broken Heel (Riverside Studios).

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