In our article "Deep encounter in Alexandroupolis" we had already reported in detail about the meeting with the Swiss filmmakers Philip Spaar and Fabian Senn as well as the cameraman Stefan Schöbi as part of their film project "Road to Cinema Jenin".
And as was at least planned in Alexandroupolis, Philip and Fabian had already arrived at Lake Ohrid for an overnight stay on their return journey, this time from Istanbul. What a great meeting again. Of course, we immediately noticed their striking vehicle and were excited to hear the explanations about their further experiences.
Have the post office register PTT in order to then receive an HGS sticker
In the meantime, there had been further contact between us when the film team got into a toll station in Turkey without having the corresponding HGS sticker. So, they had triggered the alarm with their vehicle and were now asking what steps to take to avoid further problems. Admittedly, driving on Turkish toll roads for the first time is not entirely unproblematic, as you first have to register at a PTT post office in order to then receive an HGS sticker, which is then topped up with money at the PTT station. This sticker is then stuck to the windshield next to the interior rearview mirror so that when you drive through the toll station, the system automatically deducts the amount to be paid from the balance on the HGS sticker. The problem is usually that the PTT post station is not available on site. There are fully automatic alternatives (OGS), but they are complex and therefore of little interest to holidaymakers.
We informed the three of them that they could subsequently purchase an HGS sticker within 14 days and that the amount to be paid would then be automatically debited. However, this only applies if you have driven through an HGS toll station.
Once an OGS toll booth has been passed, things become much more complex. Both systems are used at all toll booths, OGS is fully automatic and you need bank details in Turkey, as the amounts are automatically debited from your account.
So it really depends on which booth at the toll booth you drove through. In order to avoid trouble, it is important to find out in advance whether your route also contains toll sections and whether an HGS sticker needs to be obtained. We keep hearing from holidaymakers who subsequently had to deal with problems with toll booths, so we are strongly advised to take care of this in advance.
Used the day to visit Ohrid
In the late afternoon, Philip and Fabian arrived back at their vehicle. They had used the day to visit the town of Ohrid and, in addition to the castle complex, had also been to the excavation sites of ancient Lychnidos. The two of them were extremely impressed by the historical sites and the atmosphere of the narrow streets in modern Ohrid, where, in addition to the many churches, there are also a number of medieval residential buildings. Ohrid is an ancient city on the Via Egnatia.
Our first question when we met was of course the whereabouts of cameraman Stefan Schöbi, who was unfortunately no longer with the team; professional obligations had previously required him to return to Switzerland. So, Philip and Fabian left Istanbul alone with their vehicle.
Of course, we quickly arrived at the main topic of the film project and the experiences of the film team in Jenin in the West Bank. Due to the armed conflict, the three were unable to cross from Cyprus to Israel in their vehicle as planned, so they had to decide to take the plane. The findings that the filmmakers then gained on site were not really beneficial to the actual project; for example, many appointments that had been arranged in advance did not work out, interviewees could not be reached or were suddenly no longer willing to do interviews. It also became clear that the language problem with the interpreters used could not be a real solution. Here, the interpreters were more likely to initiate themselves for the planned film document.
Under no circumstances do Philip and Fabian want to talk about a failed project start, but many details will have to be planned much more precisely in the future and questions for interviews will have to be clarified in advance. It also became clear that people change as soon as a certain level of commitment proves to be successful. Envy and resentment immediately arise between people who actually share the same fate, which leads to further restraint and separation. All findings that will help the project in the future.
Since the experiences of the three filmmakers during the screenings of the film "The Heart of Jenin" in the Balkans led to great film sequences, a thematic change of the actual topic is also conceivable. We will continue contact and report further if necessary.
Unfortunately, Philip and Fabian had to leave for Belgrade the next morning, so we only had time for dinner together: homemade Macedonian pizza, which was ceremoniously served to us by the Rino campsite upon our arrival. Of course, it was so extensive that even four people had a hard time, but it was delicious! Anyway, which campsite serves a free mocha in the morning?
Please read as well: