Three weeks of my life, poured into 3 minutes of film

Sure, you can simply see it as a promotional video for an educational institution (more about the project here). That’s totally fine.

But there is something personal about this project that brings multiple threads of my life together. My old school (the University Model School, adjacent to the new HQ of the Queen Rania Teacher Academy). It‘s where I became a teenager and made life-defining friendships. The University of Jordan, where my late father spent almost his entire professional career teaching and researching at the Faculty of Agriculture, and from where I graduated as an architect in the mid 1990s. The University‘s forested campus, dotted with the modernist 1960s buildings of the late architect Atallah Duwani was an important stage of my childhood and early adulthood (and where I met Salua, my life partner). Speaking of architecture, the new building celebrated in this film is by Faris and Faris, the architectural firm of Faris Zaru and Faris Abdelrahman, two (slightly older) colleagues of mine in the Faculty of Engineering, who have been consistently producing important works of contemporary architecture in the past two and a half decades in Jordan.

As I was writing the script of this film, I couldn’t help but make it about continuity. Looking back, looking forward. I briefly delved into the history of teacher training institutions and the stories of the pioneering teachers of Jordan in the 20th century. These stories became the starry-sky opening sequence. And in the last frame of the story we leave through the building‘s ‘star-gate’..

I am lucky to have clients like QRTA who trust me with their stories. Lucky to have a team at SYNTAX who can manage the delivery of such stories (and my sometimes chaotic methods of working). Lucky to have partners of creative integrity like Majd and Ali at Labiba Productions, who not only deliver footage of impeccable quality, but, most importantly, a profoundly human and artistic photographic eye to the story.

Yeah. It’s a 3 minute (and twenty seconds) video about teacher training. It has a job to fulfill. And I hope it does it.

But between the frames, snapshots of my life are captured.

(A special thank you goes to project for granting us permission to use video clips by Marjam Fels and Paula Ellguth, who documented the life inside one of Jordan’s public schools).