Palestine’s film industry flourishes

Mahmoud Asfa in When I Saw You, a new film by Annemarie Jacir in the CinemaPalestino festival at the Showroom, Sheffield
Mahmoud Asfa in When I Saw You, a new film by Annemarie Jacir in the CinemaPalestino festival at the Showroom, Sheffield
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The fifth CinemaPalestino Film Festival is hosted by the Showroom this weekend.

Its line-up of documentaries and dramas range from the camps of Lebanon to the occupied territories of West Bank and Gaza Strip exploring everyday issues of love, home making, and freedom under the shadow of a military occupation which makes daily life anything but ordinary for the people of Palestine.

Recent years have seen a huge growth in Palestine’s film industry and CinemaPalestino draws on some of the most recent examples, opening on Friday with multi award-winning Art Violence. Following the lead of their beloved director and activist, Juliano Mer-Khamis, murdered in 2011 outside the Freedom Theatre in the West Bank’s Jenin Refugee Camp, a group of young Palestinian actors use their imagination and sense of artistic rebellion to create a defiant portrayal of a young, active generation.

On Saturday a hard-hitting character-driven documentary, When the Boys Return, by Tone Anderson follows a group of teenage boys joining a therapy group after being released from Israeli prisons,

When I Saw You is a coming-of-age story set around a Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan in 1967 by Ann Marie Jacir, the first Palestinian female action feature director.

Co-produced with young filmmakers in Gaza, Flying Paper showing on Sunday is the uplifting story of youth on a quest to shatter the Guinness World record in the most kites ever flown.

It is all rounded off with Mahdi Fleifel’s A World Not Ours an intimate, and often humorous, portrait of three generations of exile in the refugee camp of Ein el-Helweh in southern Lebanon, a study of lives of those for whom dispossession is the norm.

CinemaPalestino is a collaboration between Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Yorkshire Palestine Cultural Exchange, and the Showroom.