London Palestine Film Festival presents: pre-fest events
As most people know, the London Palestine Film Festival was born out of the School of Oriental and African Studies 15 years ago. Since then it has expanded its audience by adding host venues The Barbican Center andthe UCL Darwin Theater, on top of its home, SOAS’s KLT.
This year, however, for the first time, the LPFF is also organizing three very different and exciting events in three different venues across London. These events, leading up to the main Festival at the end of April, will present experimental cinema, documentary and drama, each with discussions with filmmakers and rights advocates.
Check out the details on the events, the films and the filmmakers below.
PORT OF MEMORY + THE ROOF: KAMAL ALJAFARI DOUBLE-BILL & SCREEN TALK
The first of three keynote events leading up to the 2012 London Palestine Film Festival is this double-bill and artist screen talk at the new Hackney Picturehouse, celebrating the extraordinary cinema of Kamal Aljafari.
Kamal Aljafari first drew attention with The Roof (2006), an intimate elegy to the eroding spaces of Palestinian life in Israel. But it was his astonishing second film on home city Jaffa, Port of Memory (2009), that confirmed him as the most exciting Palestinian filmmaker of his time. Seamlessly woven of vérité, script, and appropriated material, Aljafari’s is iconoclastic cinema that defies genres, prompting Sight & Sound to declare it:
“….work that can only be seen, not talked about… all that can be said is that it brings cinema to a place beyond the question of fiction, documentary and video art.”
Conceived as companion pieces, this is a rare chance to experience The Roof and Port of Memory in the company of the director, who will speak with Omar Kholeif, Director of the Liverpool Arabic Film Festival and curator of Liverpool’s FACT multiarts venue.
NB: The screen talk will occur between the two films, each of which is an hour in length.
8pm: Port of Memory, 63min
9:15pm: Kamal Aljafari in conversation with Omar Kholeif + Audience Q&A, 30min
9:45: The Roof, 61min
Kamal Aljafari is a graduate of the Academy of Media Arts, Cologne. Until 2010, he wasBenjamin White Whitney Fellow at Harvard University, where he worked on film and photography project A Cinematic Occupation (forthcoming in a book of the same title). He has taught film at The New School, New York and is currently head of the directing programme at The German Film and Television Academy, Berlin.
Omar Kholeif is a writer and curator. He is presently curator of multiarts centre FACT in Liverpool, associate curator of Cornerhouse , the Manchester centre for contemporary visual arts and film, and of the Arab British Centre . He is the founding Director of the Liverpool Arabic Film Festival, an editor of Portal 9 (a biannual of art and the city published in Beirut) and co–editor ofVision, Memory and Media (2010).
ADALAH/AMNESTY SCREEN TALK: PALESTINIAN CITIZENS OF ISRAEL: CURRENT CHALLENGES & PRIORITIES
Thursday April 5th, 18:15
Adalah is the leading body dedicated to the rights of the Palestinian population in Israel. Working with award-winning directors including Rachel Leah Jones, it has made powerful films on the increasingly precarious situation faced by the minority.
Following a screening of 3 recent short films, Adalah advocate Suhad Bishara will discuss threats faced by the Palestinian population today with Amnesty UK campaign manager Kristyan Benedict.
Suhad Bishara is Director of Adalah’s Land and Planning Rights Unit. She has worked withAdalah since 2001, specialising in land and planning rights. She holds an LLB. in Law from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and an LLM in Public Service Law from New York University. A former partner in a private firm specializing in urban planning law, she has served as a legal consultant to the Association of Forty, the Arab Steering Committee for Urban Planning in the Galilee Society, and the Hotline for Battered Women. She is former Chairperson of the Committee for Educational Guidance for Arab Students and a founder of the Kayan Feminist Organization.
PREMIERE: LAST DAYS IN JERUSALEM: FOLLOWED BY A SCREEN TALK WITH DIRECTOR TAWFIK ABU WAEL
Thursday April 12, 20:30
The last of our 2012 pre-Festival events is this UK Premiere of Tawfik Abu Wael’s much-anticipated Last Days in Jerusalem, followed by a Q&A with the award-winning director.
Nour and Iyad, a Palestinian couple in East Jerusalem, are preparing to move to Paris. He is a surgeon at the top of his game, she an actress from a wealthy family. When news of a terrible accident sees Iyad return to his hospital and delay their departure, Nour senses abandonment and starts to question their move…
Abu Wael’s debut feature, Atash/Thirst (2004), won the International Critics Prize at Cannes and saw him named “the most exciting Arab filmmaker to have emerged in more than a decade” by Sight & Sound. This followup is a triumph: a taught psychological drama about one Jerusalem couple’s wrenching final days as they tear themselves from home, from the familiar, and even from each other…
Tawfik Abu Wael was born in 1976, in Umm al-Fahm, in northern Israel. He graduated in directing from Tel Aviv University, where he also worked in the film archives. He taught drama at the Hassan Arafe School in Jaffa, and in 2001 made his first short, Diary of a Male Whore, as well as the documentary Waiting for Salah Al-Din. His first feature, Atash/Thirst, won the Fipresci Prize at the Semaine de la Critique in Cannes. Last Days in Jerusalem is his second feature. Tawfik also works as a theatre director.