L’Expression: L’Ecran Libre

The Palestinian cause is still relevant in the world of Arab cinema. If sometimes some festivals do not welcome the main Palestinian editorial lines, some associations are committed to the cause. This is the case of the non-governmental organization Shoruq Organization. Created in 2012 in the refugee camps of Dheisheh, located in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, this NGO aims to strengthen the political, social, economic and cultural ties of refugees from the Palestinian Territories and the diaspora. For this, the organization focuses its activities around multimedia, artistic and cultural projects. This Organization has created the Palestinian Refugee Film Festival, summarizing the program around a demonstration of short films that address the life and difficulties of refugees in the Palestinian Territories but also in the rest of the world. The event presents itself as “the first international short film festival to take place in the Palestinian Territories”. The main objectives of this new edition are to raise awareness of culture and promote cinematographic creation that illustrates human rights issues. It is also defined as an annual meeting which aims to build a platform for meetings and exchanges in order to encourage the dissemination of Palestinian productions.
Among the 400 films received, 23, of all genres and all forms, were selected. In this selection we find, in particular, films such as 18/11 by Medhat Maged on the story of a sleepwalker accused of the murder of her husband, or Headcount by Akram Ameen on the fight of a Palestinian in a prison cell. solitary confinement of an Israeli prison. In the same vein, the European Film Academy awarded the Prize for European Achievement in World Cinema to Palestinian filmmaker Elia Suleiman for “his impressive dedication to cinema”. He is the first Palestinian director to win this award. For 35 years, the Academy has been organizing the European Cinema Awards to reward European cinematographic creation. Born in 1960 in Nazareth, Elia Suleiman is the son of a resistance fighter who fought against the State of Israel in 1948. At the age of 17, he went into exile in London then went to live in New York between 1981 and 1993. It was during this period that he made his first short films and worked as a lecturer at several universities. In 1994, a mission from the European Commission asked him to create a Cinema and Media Department at the University of Bir-Zeit, a Palestinian town near Ramallah. It was in 1996 that he directed his first feature film, Chronicle of a Disappearance, in which he portrayed his story and his family. The film won the Best Film Award at the Venice Film Festival. Since then, living in Paris, he has directed several feature films in which he continues to stage himself in comedies with tragic overtones. His latest film, It Must Be Heaven, traces the journey of ES (fictional character played by Elia Suleiman) who decides to flee Palestine in order to find a new land of welcome. This work takes the form of a burlesque tale in which each territory is parodied. Presented at Cannes in 2019, it obtained the Special Mention of the jury as well as the Fipresci Prize for international criticism.

L’Expression: L’Ecran Libre – Palestine at the Heart of Arab Cinema