Vladimir Film Festival

Ahlan Wa Sahlan

Brijuni / 27 / 9 / 2020 / Film

7hillspark is a social skate­board­ing ini­ti­at­ive based in Amman, Jordan. 7Hills cre­ates an open, demo­crat­ic envir­on­ment for every­one in the city of Amman strug­gling with social bar­ri­ers. It aims to give all chil­dren, youth and par­ents a safe, pub­lic space to skate­board, social­ize, grow and learn. The pro­ject organ­izes girls and refugee classes in their skate­park and hosts about 200 kids every week.

ahlan wa sahlan

2018 my mate, Mat­thi­as, volun­teered at 7hills and got in con­tact with Kas Waut­ers, one of the lead organ­izers of the 7hills pro­ject. We made a plan to go to jordan with a crew of skate­boarders from ger­many and shoot street skate­board­ing togeth­er with the loc­al skate­boarders. One year later, our crew explored the streets led by Kas togeth­er with the Jordan hom­ies. Mat­thi­as and I went back a second time in the begin­ning of 2020 because the loc­al jordan kids are show­ing immense tal­ent and we wanted to cap­ture some more foot­age. With­in these trips we skated the two biggest cit­ies Amman and Aqaba, went into the desert and got drunk with bedouins. For most of the crew it was a really unex­pec­ted jour­ney, espe­cially because some had nev­er vis­ited coun­tries in the vicin­ity of Jordan. One thing is for sure, there is a lot of pre­ju­dice against coun­tries with­in the middle east. What we hear or see about the middle east on media has most of a time a neg­at­ive under­tone; war­zone, ter­ror, oppres­sion, etc. How­ever, it is safe to say, that pre­ju­dice was over­come on the trip espe­cially, because every­body we met on the jour­ney was super wel­com­ing (ahlan wa sah­lan = wel­come), hos­pit­able, friendly and humble, which is a big part of the cul­ture over there. On our last day of the first trip the entire crew of 8 people was invited to a fam­ily din­ner of one of the Jordan skaters togeth­er with kas, the volun­teers and the loc­al skaters. Which par­ents would invite 15 dirty skate rats for a din­ner in europe?

Besides, being one of the first european street skate videos from Amman, Jordan, the film tries to illus­trate the lov­ing and warm­hearted people of Amman and their envir­on­ment and imme­di­ate con­nec­tion to strangers.

Video by Jonas Strecke and Oskar Ong