Let’s face it. There’s nothing like real life.
We all love science-fiction, incredible adventures and fantastic worlds, but real-life stories – besides often being stranger than fiction – hold a power, a strength, and an emotion, that made-up stories can only strive to achieve. To put it in the words of comedian Louis C.K.: “If you are a cartoon character, sure, you’ll fight, because the punches are juicy-sounding and they don’t leave marks. But in real life, if somebody punches you in the eye, it doesn’t make any noise and your eye is swollen for, like, six months.”
Sure, real life hurts. But it also inspires us to accomplish amazing things in life – the seemingly impossible, even.
Do you want proof?
In ‘Touch of the Light’, one of the astonishing real stories screening at Ajyal, a blind Taiwanese boy has the courage to leave his family and his rural home to attend university and challenge himself in the big city.
Eventually, he beat the odds not once, but twice: first, by developing his musical talent and becoming a fantastically accomplished piano player; and second, by playing himself on the big screen. ‘Touch of the Light’ was a top-grossing movie in Taiwan last year, championed by acclaimed Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai.
OK, but what about closer to home?
Well, check out ‘Flying Paper’ and discover the absorbing story of a group of youths in Gaza trying to break the Guinness World Record for the most kites ever flown. As the big day approaches, we follow the daily struggles of these undeterred youth, who are determined to rise above the tough situation they endure, just as their kites fly over the ruins of bombed buildings, or next to the patrolled border. As young Widad, one of the film’s main subjects, says at one point in the movie: “When we fly kites, we feel like we are the ones flying in the sky. We feel that we have our freedom. That there is no siege on Gaza”. (Widad, by the way, will be at the Festival screening to answer your questions and explain how the whole kite contest came about.)
Not amazed enough?
Then join us for ‘On the Way to School’ and you won’t believe your eyes. If you have ever taken education for granted, think again as you’ll be witnessing the extraordinary journeys of four youngsters who overcome dangerous obstacles, enormous distances and treacherous territory ¬– just to attend school! In Kenya, Jackson and his little sister have to cross 15km of savannah, and avoid dangerous elephants every day. Once a week, in Morocco, Zahira undertakes a four-hour, 22km journey across the Atlas Mountains to reach a boarding house in Asni; meanwhile, in Patagonia, Carlos and his little sister Mica ride on horseback for 18km to attend classes, and, in India, Samuel, a physically impaired kid stuck in a wheelchair, is carried and pushed by his two younger brothers across sand and ponds, in the hopes of one day becoming a doctor.
And this is just a taste of what you can experience at the Ajyal Youth Film Festival!
If you’ve ever thought life should have more in store for you, or you’ve ever wondered if you have what it takes to succeed, fear no more, come along, and be inspired. As Bob Marley used to say: “Open your eyes, look within. Are you satisfied with the life you’re living?”