Amman, May 1, 2024: This week, youth participants in the Filmi Programme, in collaboration with filmmakers from Ireland and Jordan, join the filming sessions of their own independent short film titled “An Olive Branch”.

With the support of the Irish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of Ireland in Jordan, Generations For Peace (GFP), in partnership with Belfast-based Cinemagic, launched the activities for the “Filmi” training programme in July last year.

The Programme engaged 20 young participants from Jordan, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, and Palestine residing in Jordan and provided them with comprehensive training in various areas of filmmaking presented by film industry professionals. “Filmi” has also provided the opportunity for the participants to select a topic important to them and collaborate as a team to produce their own independent film, which is being filmed this week in Amman.

Ambassador of Ireland to Jordan, Marianne Bolger, commented that “the Embassy of Ireland in Jordan is delighted to support this second iteration of the ‘Filmi’ project. The strength of this programme is the direct involvement of youth in every stage of the creative and production process; from script development and storyboarding, to location selection and set design, all the way through to filming and sound production. After such a positive collaboration with GFP and Cinemagic in 2023, I look forward to watching ‘An Olive Branch’ come to fruition. With its focus on displacement and migration, the young participants have yet again chosen to address one of the most pressing challenges we as an international community face, and I cannot wait to see the result of all their hard work.”

Cinemagic CEO, Joan Burney Keatings MBE said “Cinemagic is proud to continue our work in the Middle East, helping to deliver positive outcomes for young people and contributing to the strategic growth of Cinemagic, with invaluable support from the Irish Ministry of Foreign Affair, the Irish Embassy in Jordan and Generations for Peace. The goal of the project was to work with young people, from concept to screen, to inspire them, hear their ideas and develop new skills, which we hope will empower them both in practical filmmaking ability and in confidence. We hope the programme will strengthen relationships between those from different backgrounds as they learn from each other through the vehicle of film and the arts.”

Ahmad Albakri, Head of Production at GFP, stated; “We are proud to engage a group of filmmaking enthusiasts and assist them in creatively telling their own stories and presenting the issues that matter to them on global platforms. We are truly impressed by the dedication of the youth and anticipate the final production of ‘An Olive Branch’ movie”. He emphasised the role of media productions in providing a platform for youth to voice their opinions and inspire them to lead positive change within their communities. Bakri also expressed his gratitude to the partners of the Filmi Programme.

The “Filmi” training programme included a series of five industry film masterclasses presented by international production managers, screenwriters, and award-winning filmmakers, including screenwriter and filmmaker Ryan Rowe, screenwriter and director screenwriter Marie Campbell, assistant director Terry Bamber, and producer-director Sam Nutt, who is also leading the crew in Jordan.

The training programme covered a wide range of important aspects of film production, equipping the participants with both theoretical knowledge and practical skills. From scriptwriting and location scouting to the art of directing. The training aimed at enhancing the participants’ understanding of the entire filmmaking process and hone their skills to create pathways for employment within Jordan’s rapidly growing film industry. “An Olive Branch” will tell the story of the determination and resilience of a family affected by displacement who decided to depart from the refugee camp in pursuit of a better future.

Generations For Peace (GFP) is a Jordan-based global non-profit peacebuilding organisation founded by HRH Prince Feisal Al Hussein of Jordan in 2007. Dedicated to sustainable conflict transformation at the grassroots, GFP empowers volunteer leaders of youth to promote active tolerance and responsible citizenship in communities experiencing different forms of conflict and violence through carefully facilitated sport as well as art, advocacy, dialogue, empowerment, and media activities provide an entry point to engage children, youth, and adults for integrated education and sustained behavioural change.

Cinemagic is a charity based in Northern Ireland which aims to educate motivate and inspire young people and annually, the organisation produces film festivals and many short films for young people to unite individuals from diverse backgrounds through film and teach skills in the creative industries. Cinemagic was conceived as a cultural antidote and a creative arena for self-expression for young people during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.