Palestine's dynamic film industry comes out for Days of Cinema
Opening night of Days of Cinema 2017
Filmlab Palestine's fourth Days of Cinema event (17-23 Oct) was a packed six-day event with screenings across five Palestinian cities.
Industry events included the Ramallah Doc and Sunbird Production Award competitive pitches, and a range of masterclasses and lively debates.
Filmmakers from across the Palestinian Territories were joined by professional guests from the UK, Germany, France, Canada, Denmark, Belgium, Italy and Australia, with representation from organisations including the Torino Film Lab, Danish Film Institute, the Berlin World Cinema Fund and British Council (our own Film Programme Manager Rachel Robey).
The wonderful Waijb by Annemarie Jacir, which is this year’s official Palestinian submission for the Foreign Language Academy Award, opened the festival, hot from its Competition slot at the BFI London Film Festival.
Other screenings included a lively programme for kids and younger audiences, which filled cinemas across the five cities.
The winning Ramallah Doc pitches – with each filmmaker awarded a €2,000 travel grant to travel to an international film festival or film event - were We Carve Words In The Earth by Mahasen Nasser El-Din, an archive film project exploring the history of Palestinian women between 1929 and 1948 and their place in the national struggle; and As I Want by Samaher Al Qadi, a highly personal story of women breaking taboos across the Arab world.
The Sunbird Production Award was awarded to Maradona's Legs by Firas Khoury, which comes with in-kind support of camera and sound equipment from Filmlab Palestine, and post-production at Aarhus Filmworkshop, Denmark. This winning film is also picked up for distribution by MAD Solutions and flight costs and accommodation for one week in Denmark will be provided by Filmlab Palestine and Aarhus Filmworkshop.
Filmlab Palestine is a non-profit company established in 2014, based in Ramallah, and, since then has grown into one of the region’s leading independent film organisations.
Its mission is to create a hub for filmmaking in Palestine; working with young and emerging filmmakers to build capacity through training and workshops, facilitate dialogue through a programme of screenings and provide competitive opportunities for seed-funding and international travel.
The intention is to develop a productive and dynamic film industry in Palestine event and if this fourth edition of Days of Cinema is anything to go by, they are succeeding!