Maarten Kal

Documentary and Commissioned Film

Socotra Once and Today

documentary - cinematography

Socotra: He'rwa Imshin // Once and Today is a documentary about the tradition of singing poetry on the island of Socotra. The film is directed by Felisa Jiménez Quintero, cinematography by Maarten Kal.

Socotra Once and Today

english only


In March 2013 I was director of photography for this poetic documentary directed by Felisa Jiménez Quintero, who lives in Columbia. The film was her graduation project for the Savannah University in the United States.

The ancient island of Socotra (Yemen) is filled with natural beauty, much of which is also in the hidden talent of a native culture seen nowhere else in the world. Introduced by the verses and Tentiroh of a local poet: Authman Abdullah Authman Beidhobo, we follow the lives and testimonies of both a Bedouin goat herder and a family of fishermen. Living in the present and communing with their past, they struggle to harmonize in the continuation of a waning folk culture.

premier in New York

January 25, 2014, the film had its world premier in New York on the the first-ever International Yemeni Film & Visual Arts Festival. They describe the film as "This hauntingly beautiful documentary explores the social changes that have come to the remote Yemeni island of Socotra in recent years." Later, the film showed on several other festivals throughout the Unites States.

Below you can view two scenes of the documentary.