Palestinian Film Festival aims to enrich Australia’s understanding of Palestine beyond the news headlines

Palestine – beyond the headlines and into homes in Australia

Australia is all set to host the Palestinian Film Festival amid the escalating violence in Gaza and West Bank.

The Palestinian Film Festival makes its return in November 2015 with seven features and five short films to challenge preconceptions and capture the imagination of audiences across Australia.

“At a time when the situation for Palestinian people continues to be volatile, the Festival believes it is more important than ever to show the work of filmmakers uncovering the untold stories of everyday life from Gaza to West Bank” Festival Director, Naser Shakhtour said.

“Palestine is a culturally rich part of the world, and we are passionate about our culture and heritage. We want to share this knowledge and tell our stories, to enrich Australia’s understanding of Palestine beyond the news headlines,” he said.

From a West Bank psychological thriller to the rise of Palestine’s first pop celebrity; and a homage to the women of Gaza to an offbeat comedy of a car thief; the Festival offers Australian audiences a unique window into a culture largely unseen outside of political reports.

The Wanted 18

The Festival will open in Sydney on Thursday 19-22 November, Melbourne on Friday 20-22 November, Canberra on Friday 27-29 October and Perth on Friday 4 -6 December.

Opening the Festival in Sydney and Melbourne is documentary animation, The Wanted 18 (2015). The feature film tells the true story of a Palestinian committee that purchased a herd of cows to undermine Israeli control and occupation. Seamlessly combining the comic and the tragically absurd, The Wanted 18 maps the story of non-violent resistance during the first Palestinian uprising and how 18 cows came to be declared “dangerous for the security of the state of Israel.”

The Canberra Opening Night will feature the ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ of Palestine, The Idol (2015). The film tells the true story of Palestine’s first pop celebrity, Mohammed Assaf and his remarkable journey from a refugee camp in Gaza to his rise to fame after winning the 2013 season of Arab Idol. The latest feature by celebrated director Hany-Abu Assad (two time Oscar nominee), The Idol is the first feature to be partially filmed on location in Gaza in decades.

The Idol

Scene from film ‘The Idol’

Eyes of a Thief

Scene from ‘Eyes of a Thief’

Also screening across the country is Eyes of a Thief (2014), a psychological thriller that centres on the story of a father searching for his daughter whilst holding onto a dangerous secret. Made entirely in the West Bank, the film has a stellar cast including Egyptian actor, Khaled Abol Naga and celebrated Algerian musician, Souad Massi.

Directed by Gaza’s hipster twin director team, Tarzan and Arab Nassar, Dégradé (2015) follows the story of 13 women who find themselves in a beauty salon struggling to maintain normalcy in Gaza as violence literally rages at their door. Set almost entirely within the beauty salon, Dégradé is a homage to the women of Gaza showcasing their resilience, strength and humour.

Dégradé

Dégradé still

The Festival also announced off-beat comedy Love, Theft and Other Entanglements (2014) will be included in this year’s program. Filmed in black and white, the film explores the story of Mousa, a Palestinian car thief who gets into serious trouble when he steals the wrong car. In a retro style reminiscent of fifties and sixties cinema, the filmis a thoroughly Palestinian comedy of errors.

Love Theft and Other Entanglements

Love Theft and Other Entanglements

Film Festival dates across Australia:

  • Sydney on Thursday 19-22 November,

  • Melbourne on Friday 20-22 November,

  • Canberra on Friday 27-29 November,

  • Perth on Friday 4 -6 December.

Tickets on sale: 1 Nov 2015