cinema Palestino

Sheffield's 8th Palestinian Film Season Nov 2016

October 29, 2016
by admin

Cinema Palestino 2016 – celebrating Palestinian women

This year’s CINEMA PALESTINO at the Showroom is screening two major award-winning new films by well-known Palestinian women filmmakers.

3000 Nights, Mai Masri, 103mins, Palestine-France-Jordan-Lebanon-UAW-Qatar 2015, Sunday 27 November 2016, 16.00 

3000nightsLayal, Palestinian, is a newly married teacher, who finds herself in prison – wrongly, as is the case for many Palestinian prisoners. She passes through the cells of Israeli women (in for common criminality). After discovering that she is pregnant, she is eventually moved to a cell of Palestinian women where her son is born and spends his early years. This beautifully made film takes us from Layal’s experience of disdain and cruelty to one of caring, even in prison, and the communality of her fellow Palestinian women prisoners.

Winner: Vallodolid Intntnl Film Festival Audience Award; Women’s Intntnl Film & TV Showcase Jury Award; Annonay Intntnl Festival Audience Award

Nominated: London FF First Feature; Dubai Intntnl FF Best Fiction Feature


Trip Along Exodus, Hind Shoufani, 2014 Lebanon-Syria-Palestine-USA-UAE , Wednesday 7 December 2016 8pm

trip along exodus

Hind Shoufani’s father was/is the highly esteemed Palestinian intellectual and academic, Dr Elias Shoufani (1932-2013), who was the Arab world’s leading analyst of the state of Israel and its policies and practices that were/are informed by Zionist ideology. He was born in the Galilee, where his village, Mi’liya, was destroyed in 1948, and he and his family became refugees. He was educated within the new Zionist state but went on, in the 1960s, to achieve a PhD in Islamic Studies at Princeton University. After 1967 Shoufani joined the PLO. He understood, however, that Israel had no intention to negotiate a two-state solution and, in 1983, he instigated an intifada against Yasser Arafat. Later, he joined the Institute for Palestine Studies as a Director of Research.

This is a personal, poetic and political archive and interview journey by Hind Shoufani to discover family history, much of which had been hidden from her and her sister, and the story of her father’s life, which led to his frequent absence and to them growing up with secrets, bodyguards and security bars round their balcony.

 Winner: Best Non-European Documentary at the European Independent Film Festival, Paris; Audience Award at the Cairo International Women’s Film Festival

October 28, 2015
by admin

cinema Palestino – 2015 programme

The Great Book Robbery, 2010, 56mins
Wednesday 11 November,  The Void Cinema,  Sheffield Hallam University, Level 2, 18.00
Free screening
Touching a deep nerve in Palestinian culture, The Great Book Robbery relates the wholesale theft of some 70,000 books from private Palestinian libraries in 1948, when librarians from the new Israeli National Library followed soldiers into Palestinian homes in an act they considered to be ‘a cultural rescue operation’, stealing all the books they found. Not until 2008 was this brought to light, by an Israeli PhD student. The film, by Israeli-Dutch filmmaker Benny Brunner, traces the libraries, some of their owners, and the theft and continued holding of the books, using eyewitness accounts and archival footage. The Great Book Robbery has been shown on Al-Jazeera and other European TV stations.


Ireland and Palestine

Saturday 21st November  @ St.Andrew’s, Upper Hanover St., S3 7RQ

Ireland and Palestine,
a short documentary shown as part of Sheffield PSC’s Falafel evening, 7-10pm.
Saturday 28 November, Showroom Cinema, Sheffield
Showroom prices apply

The Wanted 18, 2014, 75mins, 16.00

Amer Shomali, Director: “making a funny film about a serious situation”

In 1988 the citizens of the Palestinian village, Beit Sahour, became tired of having to buy Israeli milk, with all the control that implied, and bought 18 cows from a sympathetic kibbutz (collective farm). Apart from having to learn the differences between raising cows as opposed to sheep, this defiant act of resistance led to the Israeli government sending soldiers and helicopters to kill the animals. The cows were hidden by the villagers and the army’s hunt for them lasted 8 days. Amer Shomali’s film contains personal memories, archival footage with humorous and impressively crafted animation. It won Best Documentary awards at both the Abu Dhabi and Carthage Film Festivals.

Love, Theft and Other Entanglements, 2015, 90mins, 18.15
The entanglement?

The entanglement?

The humour in Muayad Alayan’s fiction feature shows another too frequent situation of Palestinian daily life. Living in a refugee camp and following a failed love affair, Mousa is desperate for money to bribe his way to an exit visa. He steals a car. But it’s absolutely the wrong car. In the boot is a kidnapped Israeli soldier. Mousa has never been political but now he finds himself at the centre of politics, with both the Palestinian militia and the Israeli military on his case. The film was festival-nominated: for Best First Feature at Berlin, New Director’s Showcase Award at Seattle, and International New Talent Competition, Grand Prize at Taipei.



December 7, 2013
by admin

Feedback about CP5

A number of our audience have taken the trouble to write an say how ‘ this was the best yet’ or how much they enjoyed a particular film. Flying Paper has been especially mentioned.

But one person took the trouble to come up to me and present me with some written feedback as follows:

Realistic, educational, eye opening, inspiring, strength.

Common themes: fighting for human rights, traumatic, instability, danger, powerlessness and decision to fight back

I feel a deeper sense of understanding for what life is really like for the people living in Palestine and Israel. For me it generates a feeling of unease, that people living in Palestine have become used to constantly being physically in danger and angry that people are living in this way. Although i sense their powerlessness over the situation at large, i am massively inspired by their strength and resilience to stand up for their rights, their freedom, their courage tot back down in spite o the risks involved and work together for a brighter future for their children, as well as their mentally not given in or give their power away.

Fantastic to see the whole series of films together


November 12, 2013
by admin

Palestine’s Ongoing Nakba in Film

The international discourse that remains prevalent in some of the Palestine solidarity movement is still rooted within the framework of ‘occupation’. This discourse is commonly used to refer to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank including East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights that began in 1967. So what of the bigger picture, what of the political realities that began a long, long time before then?

To understand Palestine’s realties, it is essential to look into the root causes of what is happening today. Today’s realities must be contextualized through the historic and contemporary development of the Zionist colonial project. It is Zionism, not the so-called ‘occupation’ or West Bank ‘settlements’, that lies at the heart of Palestine’s injustices. Fundamental to the Zionist colonial project is the need for the displacement of the indigenous Palestinian population. Zionist colonialism cannot develop without displacement. Although this process was established even before the Nakba, the period between 1947-49 was the most intensive period of Palestinian displacement, during which between 750-800,000 Palestinians were forcibly displaced.

The Nakba is not merely an historical event. It has been taking place since the late 1940s. Displacement is not merely aimed at Palestinians within the so-called  Occupied Palestinian Territory (oPt), it is perpetuated against the Palestinian people wherever they may live: currently in the Naqab region, in the south of 1948 occupied Palestine, up to 70,000 Palestinians are struggling  against displacement as Israeli implements the Prawer Plan. A few kilometres away across the Green Line (in the West Bank), 1500 Palestinians are facing displacement as a result of Israel’s plans to create ‘Firing Zone 918’ in the South Hebron Hills. In Jerusalem, plans released only a few days ago will lead to the displacement of 15,000  Palestinians once implemented. Whole villages have been destroyed recently in the Jordan Valley. Displacement of Palestinians is being implemented from the Galilee to Jenin, from Gaza to Jaffa and in all other areas, and it is being carried out by various means – from land confiscation and house demolitions to residency revocation.

Creating a clear understanding of this process is essential to the global solidarity movement, and this was the motivation behind the development of a series of short films that I have been producing with BADIL’s Ongoing Nakba Education Center ( Through these films and other multi-media tools, we created platforms from which Palestinian voices can emanate. Collectively, they begin to portray the reality of Palestinian struggle against the Zionist colonial project, in both historic and contemporary terms, painting a clearer picture of the root causes of these injustices.

Film is an important medium that that is able to help previously unheard voices resonate widely. It is essential within this ongoing body of work to have focus on Palestinian voices at the grassroots. International activists who visit Palestine may have the pleasure of beginning to understand Palestinian ‘sumoud’ (steadfastness) firsthand, but for the vast majority of people around the world visiting Palestine is not an option. Because of this, film becomes a vehicle through which people can be given the opportunity to ‘meet’ people living at the brunt of the struggle. Palestinians are not ‘voiceless’ people, but as long as ‘the West’ chooses to remain deaf to their voices, it will never truly understand what is happening on a daily basis to Palestinians everywhere; neither will it understand why it really happens.

Rich Wiles

*BADIL’s Ongoing Nakba Education Center is one of many projects implemented by BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights ( BADIL works not just to document Palestinian voices, but to pave visionary paths towards the end of Palestinian displacement and the realisation of the full return of all refugees and internally displaced Palestinians. Many multi-media advocacy tools, including films, photo-essays and interviews can be found on the Ongoing Nakba Education Center’s website –

Rich Wiles in a freelance photographer, film-maker and author based in Palestine. His most recent book is ‘Generation Palestine: Voices from the BDS Movement’ (Pluto, 2013). More of his work can be seen on his website

November 1, 2013
by admin

Skype interview with director of BADIL shorts

In a recent interview with ‘The walls have ears‘ , Hany Abu-Assad explained how film is a means to tell the stories that bother you.

For him, these are not just Palestinian stories but the growth of Palestinian cinema that he refers to later in the interview, is clearly an indicator that the Palestinian Story is one that increasingly bothers the world.

I am really pleased to publish a contribution from Hussain Currimbhoy, Programme Director of Sheffield Docfest, where this view is expressed with additional twist.

Hussain will be interviewing Rich Wiles, director of the BADIL shorts, by skype, after the showing of When the boys return, on November 30th.


October 22, 2013
by admin

Views from the side

Really pleased to get views from Hilary and Alistair.

Hilary has been one of the main organisers of cinema Palestino for the past five years and is passionate about the season’s  importance in the wider struggle for Justice for Palestine and its contribution to the cultural programme of Sheffield.

Alistair is a film maker and academic and gives his perspective on the reasons why one of the recent successes in Palestinian cinema is so powerful

October 6, 2013
by admin

Flying high with Flying Paper

It will be fantastic to welcome Nitin Sawney and Roger Hill’s film , Flying Paper, to cinemaPalestino.

According to Sawhney, this film is important because it’s purely told through children’s voices. “Those kids live under threat, yet they’re the most hilarious, charming kids you’ll ever meet,’’ the co-director adds.

Once upon a time Sawnhey was spoken in the same phrase as Beyond Skin, his best selling CD from 1999. In 2008 he progressed to going beyond walls by co-founding the initiative Voices Beyond Walls (VBW) which runs digital storytelling workshops with Palestinian youth in refugee camps, in the West Bank.

World record kite flying in Gaza

Kite flying in Gaza to break the world record for numbers of kites flying at the same time in 2009

In winter 2009, Nitin Sawhney and documentary filmmaker Roger Hill joined forces to consider making a film different in style to most documentaries on Palestine. Having heard about the kite festival to attempt a world record – which was broken again the following year – they set about choosing trainees from the youth media program they had set up VBW to help film it.

They also looked for good kite makers as potential characters profiling the youth beforeand with the help of the UN, they found a family in Seifa. Kite maker Musa, young charismatic leader, and his sister Widad, witty and sarcastic, are primary characters. The grandfather, Abu Ziad, village governor, also appears in the film to highlight the connection between his generation and the youth through the kite making tradition.

Abeer, 19, leader among the young graduates from VBW program, is narrator and co-producer. “I enjoyed playing both roles,” she says. “I wanted to do make an impact through this film.’’ Abeer was fully involved in the making of Flying Paper, providing contextual information, conducting interviews, filming, giving feedback. “Abeer really helped to carry the film along. She has been vital on camera and behind the scenes,” Hill observes.

Photographer Anne Paq worked with Abeer developing a voice narration, shooting additional segments with her and about daily life in Gaza. Based in the West Bank and often travelling to Gaza, Paq organized film showings, contributed with regular feedback, and facilitated sharing feedback from the Palestinian youth. Video editor Ahmed Elabd and Emmy award winning editor Rafael Parra took Flying Paper through its final cut. Meanwhile Nitin Sawhney, based in London, contributed with original music throughout the film.

Far from being ignored in the film, the general situation in Gaza serves as background for the story. “The film shows many positive things about Gaza, but doesn’t remove the bigger picture,” the photographer clarifies.

The tone of Flying Paper is playful and uplifting. “For a documentary coming out of Gaza, the fact that it keeps you laughing, and breaks your heart, is amazing,” Sawhney notes.

Hill thoroughly enjoyed telling a small story within the larger social-political context, with the intention to attract larger audiences who can learn about life in Gaza through the story.

Paq thinks a serious, heavy documentary doesn’t quite reach the public. “If you have a story offering a different dimension, you can touch people in a much stronger way,’’ she argues.

Hasan shares similar thoughts. “This film throws a different line on a very over-politicized situation,” she says. “Its essence is incredibly simple, beautiful, and universal.”

Flying Paper captures children’s creative resilience through the kite culture. Sawhney believes the poetics of kites is an easily accessible metaphor for Gazan children. A struggle, in the act of making, and a sense of freedom, in the act of flying.

On the day of the kite festival, children turned up on the beach, ready to fly over 7,000 kites at once. “All those kids looking happy and proud of their achievement send a powerful message to the world,” Paq reflects.

Among the many beautiful scenes, Paq points to one where Musa finds his kite broken, and repairs it. “It’s a strong metaphor for life in Gaza, where Palestinians rebuild their lives again,” she says.

Abeer invites everyone to watch Flying Paper: “We wanted to show the truth in a simple way, through a small story.’’

‘’I hope the film sends a humanizing message that children in Gaza are like all children in the world,” says Hill.


September 25, 2013
by admin

Dreams of a Nation

Writing in Dreams of a Nation, Annemarie Jacir, talks about organizing a festival of Palestinian film. This was back in 2002! Now, as we can see from other blogs and websites, Palestinian film is alive and kicking and the festivals celebrating them multiply.

Towards the end her piece, having described the trial and difficulties of setting up the festival, Annemarie sums up well the symbolic power of film and the meaning of the festival’s success:

This success is a testament…to the persistence of Palestinian culture [and] to the fact that many people..want to see these films to increase their understanding of Palestinian culture , or simply to enjoy them as works of art.

The attempts at suppressing Palestinian cultural identity have n led to more resistance  and the evolution of cultural production by Palestinians continues, despite the loss of lives, the loss of land and property despite the dispossession and exile. With cameras, we tell our own stories, represent our experiences, and resist being made invisible.

13 years later this resistance persists. Jacir’s latest film , When i Saw You, will show on Saturday night of the festival, at 8.15.

August 23, 2013
by admin

cinema palestino 5

Having just seen Five Broken Cameras again, i am really looking forward to this festival in November.

There is a buzz at the moment around Palestinian culture in general and film in particular. The success of Omar, winning the Cannes Jury Prize, has contrbuted to that; there is also a growing confidence that people out there will listen. The Sara Irvings EI blog post gives us an indication of how much is happening. (Unfortunaletly she left us out – maybe next time Sara!)

Currently making their way to the Showroom’s screen are:

Friday November 29, 6.30pm ART: VIOLENCE 
Sunday December 1, 3.45 pm FLYING PAPER
Sunday December 1, 6 pm A WORLD NOT OURS
Sunday night the festival will close with food and music; so watch this space for more……