DC PALESTINIAN FILM + ARTS FESTIVAL 2015
to our sponsors and supporters . . . thank you! PLATINUM OLIVE TREE ($1000+) BUSBOYS AND POETS STRATEGY AND NETWORK DEVELOPMENt ARAB STUDIES INSTITUTE CCAS GEORGETOWN SAMAR AND WILLIAM LANGHORNE
GOLD TATREEZ ($500-$1000) eyas alhomouz DR. + mRS. MUSA sTRATEGIC ADVISORS - NEAL MUFTI Institute for palestine studies
SILVER ZA'ATAR (up to $500) WHUT - TV INSTITUTE FOR POLICY STUDIES NETWORK OF ARAB-AMERICAN PROFESSIONALS - DC ARAB AMERICA PARALLEL FILM COLLECTIVE PALESTINE CHILDREN'S RELIEF FUND - DC
by Amer Shomali and Paul Cowan DC PREMIERE | Feature | 75 min | 2014 Palestine/Canada/France
THE WANTED 18
Awards: Best Documentary at Michael Moore’s Traverse City Film Festival, Best Documentary from the Arab World at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival and most recently, Palestine’s 2015 Oscar entry. The Wanted 18 recreates an astonishing true story: the Israeli army’s pursuit of 18 cows, whose independent milk production on a Palestinian collective farm was declared "a threat to the national security of the state of Israel." A group of people from the town of Beit Sahour decide to buy 18 cows and produce their own milk. Their venture is so successful that the collective farm becomes a landmark, and the cows local celebrities—until the Israeli army takes note and declares that the farm is an illegal security threat. About the Filmmakers: Amer Shomali is a Palestinian artist and has worked as a multimedia designer at Birzeit University and ZAN Studio in Ramallah, Palestine. He uses art and technology to design posters, political cartoons and short animation to support local and international political campaigns and open local social debates. Paul Cowan, in his 25-year career as a filmmaker, has never been one to shy away from controversy. His strength is creative documentaries that combine documentary techniques with evocative images and recreations. 3
MY LOVE AWAITS ME BY THE SEA
by Mais Darwazah Documentary | 79 min | 2013 Jordan/Palestine/Germany/Qatar
My Love Awaits Me by the Sea is a poetic work documenting the filmmaker, Mais Darwazeh, on her first journey to Palestine. The work draws inspiration from the life, work, and imagination of the late aritist/author Hasan Hourani. The film plays with the connections between dreams and reality, provoking questions regarding normalcy (or the lack thereof) in occupation, subjectivity in truth, and suffering. About the Filmmaker Having worked across the Middle East in architecture, graphic design and television documentaries, Mais Darwazah’s independent film career started by making short experimental films including It Wasn’t a Question of Olives (1’, 2001), The Human Puppet (10’, 2005), Still Waiting (3’, 2007) and Aisha’s Journey (8’, 2009). She completed an MA in Documentary Directing at Edinburgh College of Art (UK, 2007). 4
by Rani Massalha Feature | 85 min | 2013 France/Germany/Italy/Palestine
Yacine is the veterinarian of the only zoo remaining in the Palestinian West Bank. He lives alone with his 10-year old son, Ziad, who has a special bond with the two giraffes in the zoo. After an air raid in the region kills the male giraffe, his mate Rita won’t survive unless the veterinarian finds her a new companion. The only zoo where Rita can find her mate is in Tel Aviv. About the Filmmaker Rani Massalha was born in France and studied at Boston College and the Paris Institute of Political Studies before going on to work for Misr International Films and assisting several directors, including Rachid Bouchareb. His short film Elvis of Nazareth won the uniFrance Special Prize at Cannes. Giraffada is his debut feature.
by Mauricio Misle WORLD PREMIERE | Documentary | 51 min | 2014 Palestine/Chile/USA
Hamule is an experimental documentary which follows the fragmented and often painful journey of Palestinian exiles and their families in Chile. Through the use of archival cassette recordings, footage, and striking scenes, Hamule is a reconstruction of the history of the filmmaker’s family, but serves as a powerful account of the pain and suffering of exile. About the Filmmaker For more than 15 years Mauricio Misle has been a production manager, documentary filmmaker, and photographer, developing works with Discovery Channel for South America as well as cultural projects with the Chilean National Television. As an independent filmmaker, Misle made the documentaries Chilean Tango (Santiago de Chile, 2007), Tanz Mit der Realität (Berlin, 2008), and 8Horas (Buenos Aires, 2011). 5
by Salim Abu Jabal Documentary | 70 min | 2014 Palestine/Lebanon/Qatar/Syria/United Arab Emirates
Yousef Hassan and Amna Abu Fodeh are an elderly Palestinian couple living in a shack in Roshmia, the last natural valley in Haifa. The couple find themselves in a battle with Israeli authorities, who attempt to confiscate and demolish their property to build a new road through the valley. In the leadup to the couple’s displacement from their serene and quaint home, tensions rise between them and a friend who tries to secure the home’s safety. About the Filmmaker Salim Abu Jabal studied Arabic Literature and Theatre at University of Haifa and Scriptwriting at The Screenwriting School. He worked as a journalist and film critic, then pursued a career in TV and Cinema. His first feature documentary Roshmia was awarded Special Jury Prize at Dubai International Film Festival 2014 and Grand Prix du Documentaire at Festival International Cinéma Méditerranéen Tétouan 2015.
by Suha Araj Short | 9 min | 2014 USA
In January of 1969, seventeen-year-old Hala emigrates with her family from Palestine to Michigan and attends a public high school with a dress code wherein girls cannot wear pants. With her limited grasp of the English language, Hala repeatedly disobeys the rules, wearing pants day after day. Ultimately she unknowingly, or knowingly, starts a revolution in her new school. About the Filmmaker Suha Araj is a Palestinian-American filmmaker and educator whose work explores the displacement of immigrant communities. Her short film The Cup Reader (shot in Palestine) premiered at the TriBeCa Film Festival 2013 and won the Next Great Filmmaker Award at the Berkshire International Film Festival. She is currently in development on a feature film, Khsara. 6
by Emtiaz Diab Documentary | 50 min | 2014 Palestine
NUN WA ZAYTUN
Trekking through rural Palestine with his mobile cinema, filmmaker Murad brings communities together for a moment to watch films shot in Palestine in the past 20 years, in which some of the villagers have even acted. This moment of artistic pleasure contrasts rudely with the bitter realities people face in coping with encroaching settlements, the attrition of ancestral land, and the daily brutalities of occupation and poverty. About the Filmmaker Throughout her 30-year career as a journalist, writer, and filmmaker, Emtiaz Diab has had high-profile assignments for prestigious international Arabic language media. Devoted to issues of human rights, cultural heritage, women's rights, economic development, peace initiatives and capacity building, Diab’s unique literary style and critical voice earned her a wide readership in Palestine and the Arab world.
THE LIVING OF THE PIGEONS
by Baha’ AbuShanab DC PREMIERE | Short | 16 min | 2015 Palestine
It’s 1:30 after midnight, the cold is sneaking. The streets leading to the checkpoint named 300, a crossing from Bethlehem to Jerusalem, are empty and silent. The apartheid wall touches the checkpoint; the coffee man is preparing his stuff while nearby, his elderly father displays their wares on wooden planks to be seen. All awaits the arrival of hundreds of workers. What happens next is something that eyes don’t often see. About the Filmmaker Baha’ AbuShanab is a student at Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture in Bethlehem, Palestine majoring in Documentary Film Production, he is set to graduate in 2015. When asked about what made him go into documentary filmmaking, he replied he loved the idea of being able to capture people’s lives through the camera and putting it out for the world to see, especially in his occupied homeland. 7
by Suha Arraf Feature | 86 min | 2014 Three Palestinian Christian sisters who’ve lost their land and status lock themselves away in their big house and continue to live in a time warp. When their young niece Badia walks into their lives, she challenges their stifling routine and turns their world upside down. Villa Touma has made waves for its battle with the Israeli Film Council over its registration as a Palestinian film. About the Filmmaker Suha Arraf was born in the Palestinian village of Melyia. She began her filmmaking career as documentary producer. Suha’s first two screenplays, The Syrian Bride (2004) and The Lemon Tree (2008), both directed by Eran Riklis, received international acclaim, with the latter winning Best Screenplay at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards. In 2014, Suha was listed in Variety Magazine’s “Top 10 Screenwriters to Watch.”
by Jessica Habie Feature | 75 min | 2013 Canada/Palestine/USA
MARS AT SUNRISE
The story of a war waged on imagination, Mars at Sunrise abstractly portrays the conflict between artists on either side of Israel’s militarized borders, and explores how a powerful creative mind survives, and even thrives, under pressure. In this highly stylized story, a painter’s resistance, courage and spirit can never be imprisoned. Mars at Sunrise is Jessica Habie’s first feature film. About the Filmmaker Jessica Habie is a director, NYU Tisch graduate, and founder of Eyes Infinite Films. The 2008 Tribeca Film Festival awarded Habie with the Best Documentary Short award for “Mandatory Service,” which shows “the perspective of war and conflict from the participants themselves.” Proceeds from Mars at Sunrise will go to the newly created Fajr Falestine Film Fund to support genre-defiant works of cinema from the Palestinian Diaspora.
The Book of Disappearance: Arabic Literary Program with Ibtisam Azem Moderated by Dima Ayoub Inaugurating our Arabic literary program is journalist and writer Ibtisam Azem, author of Sariq al Nawm and other works. She discusses her work and presents her newest book Sifr al-Ikhtifaa (The Book of Disappearance, 2014), an inter-generational chronicle of the disappearance of the Palestinians of Jaffa. The novel is currently being translation into English. About the Author Born in Taybat al-Muthallath, north of Jaffa, Ibtisam Azem studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and completed an MA in Islamic Studies and German and English Literature at Freiburg. She currently works as a senior correspondent for Alaraby Aljadeed newspaper in New York and is editor of the Arabic page of Jadaliyya e-zine. About the Moderator Dr. Dima Ayoub is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies at Georgetown University. She specializes in Modern Arabic literature and translation theory.
Layering Identities: from Architectural Heritage to Writing with Suad Amiry Dynamic Palestinian architect, hakawati (storyteller), and writer Suad Amiry always finds extraordinary ways of recording Palestinian history--from the First Intifada to labor in the shadow of movement restrictions. In this multimedia presentation, she discusses the architectural preservation work of her organization, Riwaq, as well as her latest book Golda Slept Here, about the legacy of the theft of Palestinian property. About the Author Suad Amiry is an author and architect living in Ramallah. Her award-winning, best-selling book Sharon and My Mother-in-Law has been translated into 19 languages. She is also director and founder of the Riwaq Centre for Architectural Conservation (founded in 1991), the first of its kind to work on the rehabilitation and protection of architectural heritage in Palestine.
Music Program: Rahim alHaj + Wanees Zarour ensemble In collaboration with Multiflora Productions A phenomenal night of music, featuring oud virtuoso and NEA 2015 National Heritage Fellowship Award Recipient Rahim AlHaj from Iraq and exceptionally talented composer and multi instrumentalist Wanees Zarour from Palestine. AlHaj will be opening the night with a solo oud performance, followed by Wanees with his 7-piece ensemble, featuring Athanasios G. Athanassiadis on clarinet and Elizabeth Diaz on flute. About the Artists Virtuoso oud musician and composer Rahim AlHaj was born in Baghdad, Iraq and began playing the oud (the grandfather of all stringed instruments) at age nine. AlHaj studied under the renowned Munir Bashir, considered by many to be the greatest oud player ever, and Salim Abdul Kareem, at the Institute of Music in Baghdad, Iraq. He moved to the US in 2000 as a political refugee and has resided in Albuquerque, NM ever since. Born in Ramallah, Palestine and based in Chicago, Wanees Zarour is a composer, buzuq player, violinist, and educator. He began his musical training in both Middle Eastern and western traditions at the age of 7. Involving traditional instrumentation and unique arrangements, Zarourâ€™s compositions emphasize the Middle Eastern classical Maqam. Zarour is currently the director of the Middle East Music Ensemble at the University of Chicago.
Accompanying musicians: Athanasios G. Athanassiadis - Clarinet Elizabeth Diaz - Flute Alex Wing - Guitar Katie Chambers - Cello Brian Ferrow - Bass Asha Santee - Drums 12
Photojournalism in Gaza with Eman Mohammed Moderated by Laila el-Haddad Gazan photojournalist Eman Mohammed’s extensive portfolio is comprised of many poignant and heartwrenching stories, both visual and non-visual. Mohammed will speak about her new multimedia project titled Broken Souvenirs, which archives the aftermath of war. Focusing primarily on her portraits from Gaza, she highlights the importance of neglected news stories. About the Photographer Eman Mohammed is a Palestinian refugee who was born in Saudi Arabia and educated in Gaza City, Palestine, where she started her photojournalism career in 2006 at the age of 19. Her work has moved from covering Israel’s bombing blitz of Gaza in 2008-2009 and death perpetrated through Israeli shelling of the territory in a hard news style, to longer series on women’s issues and the aftermath of war. Visit emanmohammed.com for more. About the Moderator Laila El-Haddad is a Palestinian author, journalist, and blogger from Gaza City. She is coauthor of The Gaza Kitchen: A Palestinian Culinary Journey, and led a special panel on Gaza in our 2014 film festival.
acknowledgements As we share with you our fifth year of bringing Palestinian art and film to our community, we would like to recognize the dedication of our tireless volunteer board members whose drive and passion brings them back year after year to create this truly unique festival. Thank you to Huda Asfour, Noura Erakat, Tamara Essayyad, Lena Ghannam, Nusayba Hammad, Angelina Jarrouj, Michael Kamel, Nehad Khader, Firas Natour, Alaa’ Odeh, Siona Peterous, and Fifi Saba for your unwavering dedication. A special shout out goes to our three visionary founders, Huda Asfour, Nadia Daar, and Noura Erakat who conceived the original idea for the Festival five years ago and worked tirelessly to make it the success it is today. The DC Palestinian Film and Arts Festival is truly a labor of love and a community effort. We thank our dedicated team of volunteers, who contribute immensely to making the Festival possible and whose energy and enthusiasm has allowed us to grow to where we are today. This year’s Festival would not be possible without the humbling generosity of our sponsors who are a reminder of the important work we do, but also of the community’s indispensable role in highlighting Palestinian artistry: Busboys + Poets, ASI, CCAS Georgetown, Samar + William Langhorne, Eyas Alhomouz, Dr. + Mrs. Musa, SC Advisors, Institute for Palestine Studies, WHUT-TV, Institute for Policy Studies, NAAP, Arab America, Parallel Film Collective and PCRF. To the filmmakers, artists, and panelists who share their most profound and creative work with us, and who continuously give us pieces of themselves; to our audience, who encourage us to return and do it all over again; and last, but certainly not least, to the Palestinian people, wherever they may be, whose unwavering resilience in the face of injustice is what we come together to witness and celebrate year after year, we extend our warmest thank you!
The DC Palestinian Film and Arts Festival is a non-profit, volunteer-run annual festival that showcases the work of Palestinian filmmakers and artists for audiences in Washington, DC and its surrounding areas. The stories told through our festival reflect the dynamic formation of a transnational identity common to Palestinians, and diasporic communities more generally. In 2011, a group of three dedicated young women founded the DC Palestinian Film and Arts Festival to create a platform for the artistic creativity of Palestinians, primarily through film but also through visual art, music, and other mediums. We officially launched DCFPAF in September 2011 after a successful 2-day teaser festival in May. Securing an exciting range of high-profile and experimental films while attracting a wide variety of audiences gave us the validation to push forward and institute the festival as an annual event. In order to ensure the sustainability of this young project, currently in its fifth year, the team expanded its network of volunteers, incorporated in Washington, DC as a nongovernmental organization, and is now a registered 501(c)3 entity. 14
festival at a glance
For tickets and information about the festival please visit dcpfaf.org