We are proud to present the 6h edition of Palestine Cinema Days. To reach our 6th year has been a constant challenge shared by the Palestinian public. We are celebrating this rich edition thanks to the increasing numbers of filmmakers in Palestine and the Arab world, to the growing interest and support of the Palestinian people at large, and to the encouragement of committed individuals by attending and participating in the festival. The regional and international community is, without doubt, a big part of this success. The fidelity of our guests and their faith in us allows the festival to make a difference on the international scene. Over the years, the film festival is consolidating its mission and vision: to create a cinema culture in Palestine and to develop awareness among the public of all ages on the power of image and the outreach of films.
Films have a powerful place within cultures. Movies can communicate concepts, ideas, and stories. They allow us to be cognitively transported to a different time or place, and to experience life through different eyes - gaining new perspectives, inspiration, and understanding. They instill a sense of wonder and start a different conversation. They take us outside of our own worlds and create a new atmosphere. Films are one of the most powerful tools to empower people. This takes a particular significance when it comes to Palestine.
This year, the festival is showcasing several sections that will arouse the interest of professionals and moviegoers. In 2017, we hosted the first edition of our industry platform Palestine Film Meetings (PFM) – an open space for Palestinian and international film professionals to discuss both art and business. PFM has become a creative hub within the festival, and the success of the first 2 years is an indicator of the increasing interest in this platform, nationally and internationally. Ramallah Doc, organized every two years in cooperation with the Goethe Institute, the Consulate General of France in Jerusalem, and A.M. Al Qattan Foundation will also take place during this edition; allowing the Palestinian filmmakers to pitch their projects in-the-making in front of professional movie specialists.
At Palestine Cinema Days, we are always interested in encouraging discussion and debate on thematic topics in cinema, which we feel need to be brought attention to. We are doing so in this 6th edition with the new sub-program entitled ‘No Means No’ where we will have a selection of documentary films on gender-based violence and inequality. There will also be a panel discussion focusing on the question of the representation of women in cinema, their image and its impact on how women are framed in society of the Arab world.
This year, the festival is taking place under more difficult circumstances than our former editions: There are new facts brought forth that have ultimately been adding to the Palestinian people’s challenges amidst political insecurity, daily life obstacles, desperation and lack of hope, and mindset changes. Although the films, the storytelling and the festival are a reflection of this reality in Palestine and the complex daily life elsewhere, they nevertheless give expression to resistance and resilience, despair and desperation, violence and destruction, humor and lightness, empathy and solidarity. As such, they succeed in offering us a space to render our common humanity alive and our bond unbreakable.
Hanna Atallah & Dr. Brigitte Boulad
Directors of Filmlab: Palestine