Hi everyone. I'm Zoe, I am currently crowdfunding for a short documentary project about the young people of Palestine, whereabouts adolescents are using skate boards to peacefully resist the occupation. Ask Me Anything !

Zoé Fayaud
Jan 12, 2018

After a summer spent in Ramallah volunteering as an English teacher, skateboarder Charlie Davis realised that skating was relatively unknown to the region. He founded the charity SkatePal in 2013, consistantly returning to Palestine with a shifting team of volunteers to build ramps, skate parks and to provide skate lessons to young people across the West Bank.

In a region which is divided by a wall and whose population is under constant oppression, skateboarding has become an essential tool for rebellion and non-violent resistance. It is unexpectedly popular amongst both boys and girls of all ages. Skate parks and ramps have sprung up in the towns of Ramallah, Asira Al-Shamaliya and Jayyous - and more constructions are planned for the upcoming years. "The other side has guns and tanks. For a long time, all we had was rocks," says Mai Alem, a girl skater who lives in Ramallah. "Now we have skateboarding, but also music and art." Parkour, breakdancing and hip hop are also very popular with the younger generation.

I am going to try to tell their stories, individual and collective, through the prism of skateboarding.

For more information, check out the Kick Starter campaign - www.kickstarter.com/projects/1131065526/skateboarding-in-the-holy-land?ref=created_projects

And so you can put a face on the name, this is me

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Conversation (48)

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Can you share some tips to those who want to create their own documentary film? What are some common mistakes beginners make?

Jan 17, 6:13AM EST0

Can you share how is it growing up for you? Do you always like to travel and dreamed of becoming a filmmaker someday?

Jan 12, 10:42PM EST0

I've been travelling since a young age because of my parents' work. I was always interested in being a journalist as I thought it would allow me to keep on travelling later on and constantly meet different people, discover new cultures etc.

I didn't dream of becoming a film maker when I was younger but I started realising that documentaries and films constitute such a powerful tool to explore different mentalities and that when done properly, they have the power to shift paradigms and change people's opinions. I suppose that's what makes it very meaningful to me. 

Jan 14, 9:20AM EST0

What is your target length of the film? Is this going be released as a series?

Jan 12, 10:31PM EST0

The film is intended to last 25-30 minutes. 

Jan 14, 9:16AM EST0

What do you think of the conflict in the middle east?

Jan 12, 6:34PM EST0

I have an opinion, like everybody else, but I don't think this platform is the right place to express my thoughts on it.

Jan 14, 8:54AM EST0

How is the reaction to the project? Is it all getting a positive response? Can you share how is it going so far?

Jan 12, 6:29PM EST0

People from my entourage and friends circle are giving me a rather positive feedback so far.

But I'm still very far from reaching my crowdfunding goal and I have 25 days to go. So I am trying to send the campaign to different organisations related to Palestine and I am trying to branch out of my entourage at the moment and spread the word as much as I can.

Jan 14, 8:52AM EST0

What types of media do you plan the documentary to be released? Where can we see it?

Jan 12, 6:25PM EST0

Once the filming and editing is completed, I intend to send the film to different festivals across the UK and Europe, and afterwards send it to different online media plateforms that could host it and distribute it to a wider audience. I will also try to organise screenings of it at skateboarding venues and alternative cinemas in London.

Jan 14, 8:49AM EST0

What type of camera and equipment do you use in filming?

Jan 12, 4:17PM EST0

I often use the Sony FS5 which is light, practical and offers great quality footage. Otherwise I work with DSLR cameras quite often as well.

Jan 14, 8:42AM EST0

Where did you study film-making and what courses did you take?

Jan 12, 3:43PM EST0

I am currently doing a Master degree in Documentary Film at the University of the Arts in London. We have different classes which include filming techniques, editing, sound work, light, interview practices and other more theoretical workshops.

Jan 14, 8:40AM EST0

Is there a documentary you have watched which somehow inspired you to create something similar? If yes, can you share what documentary that is?

Jan 12, 9:11AM EST0

Not necessarily. I had seen short clips and videos about the work of SkatePal online and also a report from Vice. This is how I became inspired to do more research about it and to work on a longer documentary feature.

Jan 14, 8:35AM EST0

What do you predict will be the biggest challenge for this project?

Jan 12, 8:50AM EST0

I do not speak any Arabic and I think that might hinder conversations with people who do not speak English. But I'll make sure to practice and learn a few sayings and phrases before I travel to Palestine. 

Jan 14, 8:28AM EST0

How big is the team behind this project and what are their background and expertise?

Jan 12, 5:26AM EST0

The team is just me! I am currently studying Documentary Film at University and this documentary would consist of my final year project. 

I have a background in journalism and I have 1-2 years of experience with filming and editing.

Jan 14, 8:27AM EST0

How do you assess the situation in Palestine? How do you see it 5-10 years from now?

Jan 12, 5:10AM EST0

I'm not a specialist of the region, but given the intransigence of the government in Israel and the wreckless behaviour of the American president, it seems unlikely that political progress be made in the next 5 to 10 years... 

But some other forms of progress can certainly be achieved through the work of non-governmental bodies, such as SkatePal and SkateQilya, but also USAID and UNICEF.

Jan 14, 8:25AM EST0

Visiting Palestine poses security risks. Do you get the full support of your family to undertake this project?

Jan 11, 7:32PM EST0

My family is aware of my project and they support it. I don't think they are too worried.

Last edited @ Jan 14, 8:19AM EST.
Jan 14, 8:18AM EST0

Do you like skateboarding, yourself?

Jan 11, 4:45PM EST0

I do skateboard myself and this is how I initially came across the work of SkatePal

Jan 14, 8:16AM EST0

After doing this documentary on Palestine, what is the next project do you have in mind?

Jan 11, 3:58PM EST0

I have a few other ideas which I am currently working on, but they are at the stage of research at the moment. 

Jan 14, 8:16AM EST1

I would love to see in your documentary the teenage Palestinian girl who threw some Israeli soldiers out of her house.

Jan 18, 7:51PM EST0

In your opinion, how many percentages of Palestinian youth still need to be inspired, taught and given skateboards?

Jan 11, 2:58PM EST0

Hi Felipeng,

Although it is popular, skateboarding is still a marginal practice in the region. I'd estimate maybe a hundred or more actively skateboard so there are certainly plenty more who could try to skate and see if they like it. About 30% of the Palestinian population are between 14-25 years old. 

Skateparks are constantly built around different towns in Palestine so it is really all about how these constructions can reach different communities. 

Jan 12, 7:35AM EST0
Show all 3 replies

Do you travel a lot as a volunteer English teacher? What countries did you visit?

Jan 11, 10:54AM EST0

I'm not a volunteer English teacher, this is Charlie, the founder of SkatePal, which is the organisation I will be interacting with when I go to Palestine. 

Charlie originally went to Palestine as a volunteer to teach English, and he fell in love with the place and founded SkatePal in 2013. 

Jan 12, 7:19AM EST0

In brief, how do you want for people to act after seeing this documentary? What is that one thing you want to happen after the film is released?

Jan 11, 7:01AM EST0

Hey Michelle,

I suppose my ultimate aim with this documentary is to show that despite the politics and the military occupation in Palestine, people remain hopeful, humble and positive and rise stronger because of these hardships. The people I've been talking to and who will feature in this film are full of life and generosity and are incredibly welcoming. I hope to capture this on screen and show that your social environment does not determine your essence as a person. Wherever you may be from.

Also, people tend to think of Palestine as a dangerous place. The region is not a homegenous piece and some areas are safer and more tranquil than others. I hope to show the nuances of the region, and hopefully demonstrate that as a diverse and historical place, it is more than what the mainstream narrative would have people believe. 

Jan 12, 7:16AM EST0

We're all brothers and sisters, just some live in a dark place and cannot see it.

Jan 12, 6:27PM EST0

This is such a plausible project especially for a young lady like you. Did you approach any other organization other than Kickstarter, to quickly generate fund for the project?

Jan 11, 6:53AM EST0


I've applied to a few production funds, both in the UK and the US, that finance independent documentary and journalistic projects.

But I thought I would also try my luck on Kick Starter as it is a student project and thus it does not require as much funding as a bigger production would. 

Jan 12, 7:06AM EST0
Show all 3 replies

Can you tell us more about yourself and your background?

Jan 11, 6:24AM EST0

Hi Josienette,

Both of my parents are French, but I was born in Thailand and I was brought up in Cambodia, Mali, and Tanzania. My parents work for NGOs so we moved around quite a bit when I was younger.

I now study in London and I hope to do more travelling in the future, hopefully through my documentary work. 

Jan 11, 6:50AM EST0

Sounds like a dream life  and you are so pretty. How much fun was it growing up this way?

Jan 12, 6:33PM EST0
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