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Palestinian Film Festival: November 2015

Palestinian Film Festival 2015
Still from 'The Idol' (Dir. Hany-Abu Assad)

Palestinian Film Festival: November 2015

Palestine, beyond the headlines and into homes
The Palestinian Film Festival returns in November, 2015 with seven features and five short films to challenge preconceptions and capture the imagination of audiences across Australia. 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.

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 gives audiences a unique window into a culture largely unseen outside of political reports.
Festival Director, Naser Shakhtour said, “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.”
“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.

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.

Directed by Gaza’s 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.

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.

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 film is a thoroughly Palestinian comedy of errors.
Tickets on sale: 1 November 2015


The Palestinian Film Festival is produced by Cultural Media, a not for profit organisation dedicated to the promotion of Palestinian art and culture in Australia.  Supported by the National Institute for Experimental Arts (UNSW Australia), and curated by Dr Chrisoula Lionis (NIEA) the Festival showcases the very best of Palestinian cinema from around the globe, and presents an exciting opportunity to meet and to get to know Palestine, its people and its stories, through film.