About the film
We live in a time when women and children have limited protection under international law. Zeinat Samouni and her seven children live with the shocking memory of what happened to their family during Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli military invasion of the Gaza Strip in December 2008-January 2009, that saw their father and four-year-old brother, along with forty-eight other Samouni family members killed and many more injured.
The psychological damage and trauma does not end. It continues on with each ensuing conflict. Zeinat's six year old daughter, Ansam, and her siblings have now lived through three wars. When the bombings begin, Zeinat blocks the windows and tells her children it is only a storm and what they hear is thunder and lightning.
FROM UNDER THE RUBBLE is Zeinat and her childrens' personal experience of what happened in the week 2-7 January 2009 that the Israel Defence Force (IDF) came to their farming region outside Gaza City to set up base during the military operation "Cast Lead".
Their story is told through the use of archival footage, footage shot in present-day Gaza and an animation that the Samouni children created as part of their trauma recovery therapy. The documentary juxtaposes the innocent perspective of children with the harsh realities of war. Through their personal story we as filmmakers want to give an insight of the plight of women and children, not just in Gaza, but in conflict zones throughout the world. This story belongs to them all.
The film was produced with the assistance of the South Australian Film Corporation, Screen Australia, Film Victoria, the Awesome Foundation and public contributions through goFundme and the Documentary Australia Foundation.
About the filmmakers
DIRECTOR / WRITER / CO-PRODUCER
Anne Tsoulis released her first documentary as writer/director/ producer, THESE HEATHEN DREAMS in 2014. An Australian/French co-production it was broadcast on French television in collaboration with CNC, Pays du Loire, Screen Australia and the South Australian Film Corporation. It also screened at various film festival including MIFF, Antenna Doco Fest and the Adelaide Film Festival.
Anne was previously a screenwriter and script-editor for feature and TV drama with over 80hrs of credits. She was the script editor for the documentary BREAKER MORANT: The Retrial (2013) for the History Channel. She has worked in digital new media and was the principle content producer and creator for MSN Online, factual and drama. She has been an assessor and reader for the SAFC, Screen Australia, Screen NSW and worked as a Investment Manager for development and production at the Australian Film Commission.
John Moore is a Melbourne-based producer with over twenty years experience. His many film awards include best documentary at the Melbourne and Sydney Film Festivals for Black Man’s Houses (1992), an AFI award for Guns & Roses in 1993 and the NSW Premiers History Award for Thomson of Arnhem Land in 2001. Abortion, Corruption & Cops was nominated for the Sydney Film Festival Dendy Awards in 2006 and the docu-dramas Menzies & Churchill at War and Monash: The Forgotten Anzac were ratings winners on ABC TV.
His recent film, the feature length documentary Putuparri and the Rainmakers premiered at the Melbourne International Film Festival in August 2015, won Australia’s richest film award the $100,000 Cinefest Oz film prize in September 2015 and screened at festivals around the world during 2016.
Fadi Hossam Hanona
CO-PRODUCER / CINEMATOGRAPHER
Fadi Hanona is a Palestinian cameraman and photographer working inside the Gaza Strip on news and current affairs for international broadcasters.
"FROM UNDER THE RUBBLE is the current film I am working on with director and producer Anne. I have feeling this film is quite different from all the films that I have worked on. We have made a great effort me and Anne and the translator Ebaa. I talk to you as a person and fimmaker living in the Gaza Strip. It must show the world what is happening here so I hope you can help in the production of this film by donating. Every day here is a struggle for us. We are locked away from the world. When Anne came to Gaza, it gave us hope, and for me as a filmmaker to be able to make such an important documentary."
Ken Sallows is one of Australia's most experienced and highly respected editors working on everything from art house films to action movies and many award winning observational documentaries. His credits include MALCOLM, PROOF, LOVE AND OTHER CATASTROPES, CHOPPER, GETTIN’ SQUARE, TOM WHITE and THE COMBINATION.
"I have been fortunate to work on editing a very good rough cut of Anne's film, FROM UNDER THE RUBBLE. I believe it is quite a remarkable film that Anne is making, for her intention is not to make a political diatribe, but a humanist film about survival."