INVESTIGATING THE REGION
Interview with Rawan Al Damen, film maker and media consultant
You are producing documentaries. Which one really impacted your life and made you see things differently?
I mainly did documentaries of the Palestine-Israeli issues. But the documentary that really has been more of an investigation in its core is the “Price of Oslo”, and I regard this as the most challenging one. Because during that period, there were 9 months in which the Palestinian liberation organization and the Israelis met secretly in Oslo in Norway in 1993 and there is not a single document or photo documenting what happened. So I think this was the most challenging one and my research resulted in a 2-hour documentary which is available on YouTube in Arabic, English and Spanish, “The Price of Oslo”.
MENA on the Map - Season 2
What is the investigation that really felt like it had an impact on the context where it was done and on the journalist and actually created change?
In 2020, we mentored and coached journalists and conducted 20 investigations that were published. Out of those maybe 10 made a big impact – even if many don’t make any immediate impact, we still invest in them. My favourite story in 2020 was an investigation we did in Yemen. A Yemeni journalist documented prisoners in Yemen where there were hundreds of prisoners incarcerated without any charge for years. He managed to get into the prison and film with them and we did a story which resulted in the release of 1600 prisoners, and that is something that doesn’t happen often.