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On/Offscreen: Researching Film Production

The case of women educating their children on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

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Sonja Schenkel

This article describes how an analysis of the creative process of participatory filmmaking has been used to gather data on political priorities and highlight evidence of sensitive issues. The methodology described had as its final goal the creation of a documentary film. However, the scientific analysis also took into consideration each step from the first idea to the final presentation of the film. As such, it looked at what finally appeared on screen as well as what was excluded from the final content and it observed the social interactions around these decisions. The interest in the mechanisms and relationships that led to the final narrative of the film lies in the possibility of extending knowledge about how a social environment influences and interacts with the creation of a filmic narrative. This attains particular relevance because the research was conducted in a setting of ongoing conflict, which included a case study from within the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.