Friday, September 30, 2011

Toronto Palestine Film Festival, Sept 30-Oct 7

This week marks the 4th Annual Toronto Palestine Film Festival. The festival opens with the debut film Pomegranates and Myrrh by acclaimed Palestinian director Najwa Najjar. It tells the story of a newly married dancer and her struggles with society’s expectations of a wife whose husband is imprisoned. The jailed husband is played by Ashraf Farah, who will be in attendance.

The festival closes with Nana Dankwa's documentary Hip Hop is Bigger than the Occupation. It captures a ten-day tour of rappers through Palestine. Many of the featured rappers will be in attendance and will perform afterwards at the closing night party.

Other highlights include Dahna Abourahme's documentary Kingdom of Women about the women of the Ein El Hilweh refugee camp during the years 1982-1984. Stray Bullet which stars TIFF Audience Choice Award winner Nadine Labaki, will be followed by a panel with the film’s director Georges Hachem and Ashraf Farah.

The festival will also hold industry events including a Brunch with Music and a panel discussion of Arab Women in Film featuring director Ruba Nadda and Professor Nahla Abdo.

The festival continues until Friday, October 7.




Pomegranates and Myrrh
Najwa Najjar | 2009 | 95 min | Fiction | Palestine | Toronto Premiere
Actor Ashraf Farah (Ziad) in attendance.
OPENING NIGHT: Friday, September 30, Bell Lightbox– 7:00 pm
Wedded bliss ends abruptly for dancer Kamar when her husband Zaid is taken prisoner for resisting the confiscation of his family’s land. Defying society’s taboos, Kamar returns to her dance where she is confronted with Kais, a Palestinian returnee from Lebanon and the new dance instructor. Life for Kamar becomes increasingly complicated as Zaid’s sentence is extended and the legal case against the land confiscation places the annual harvest in jeopardy. This beautiful film captures Kamar’s intensely personal turmoil as she becomes increasingly attached to Kais, and is torn between her desire to dance and society’s expectations of a prisoner’s wife.
Audience Award Best Arab Film Doha Tribeca Film Festival. American premiere at the Sundance Film Festival and European premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival.

Kingdom of Women

Dahna Abourahme | 2010 | 54 min | Documentary | Lebanon | Canadian Premiere
Monday, October 3 – Jackman Hall, AGO at 7:00 pm
The year is 1982 and Israel has invaded Lebanon. Ein El Hilweh refugee camp is destroyed and its men imprisoned. This is the story of the women of the camp during the years 1982-1984. The film documents their community and organizing spirit during this period, how they were able to rebuild the camp, and protect and provide for their families while their men were held captive. Weaving between past and present, animation and daily life, the documentary focuses on seven of these women and honours how women continue to contribute to the survival of the Palestinian community in exile.

This is My Picture When I was Dead 
Mahmoud Al Massad | 2010 | 80 min | Documentary | Netherlands, USA, UAE |
Wednesday, October 5 – Jackman Hall, AGO at 7:00 pm
Athens, 1983. It is reported that four-year-old Bashir Mraish was killed in the brutal assassination of his father, a top PLO lieutenant. What if this is not the end of his journey? Twenty-five years later this surreal film explores the life of Mraish – as a political cartoonist in Jordan digging deeper into his father’s struggle for the Palestinian Right of Return, and the sequence of events that led to his assassination. This experimental documentary pushes the boundaries of its genre to tell a very personal story of Mraish and his father and the political struggles of the Palestinian people. Winner of Muhr Arab/ Documentary, First Prize, Dubai International Film Festival.


These films are accompanied by excellent short films. See program for more information.

Zahara | Mohammed Bakri | 2009 | 63 min | Documentary | Palestine | Canadian Premiere
Monday, October 3 – Jackman Hall, AGO at 9:00 pm
Acclaimed actor/director Mohammed Bakri (Jenin, Jenin) turns his camera on his 78-year-old aunt Zahara, a Palestinian woman from the village of al- Bane in the Galilee. Beginning with her childhood before the 1948 Nakba, this compelling documentary takes us through the country’s turbulent history, as seen through his Aunt’s eyes and the perspectives of those around her. Dubai International Film Festival

Shout | Ester Gould, Sabine Lubbe Bakker | 2010 | 75 min | Documentary | Netherlands | North
American Premiere | Tuesday, October 4 - Jackman Hall AGO, 7:00 pm
Born in the Golan-Heights, Israeli-occupied Syrian territory, best friends Ezat and Bayan embark on the opportunity to cross the UNmonitored no man’s land to study in Damascus. Feeling a mix of emotions upon their arrival, Ezat and Bayan pursue their ambitions and enjoy their new freedoms in Damascus. However, they are forced to choose between their past lives in the Golan-Heights and their new lives in Damascus. Movies that Matter Festival (Hague)

Enemy Alien | Konrad Aderer | 2010 | 81 min | Documentary | USA | Canadian Premiere
Tuesday, October 4, 2011 – Jackman Hall, AGO at 9:00 pm | Director in attendance
A Japanese-American filmmaker confronts startling echoes of his own family’s World War II internment as he joins the fight and captures the dramatic twoyear struggle to free Palestinian activist Farouk Abdel-Muhti, detained in a post-9/11 roundup of Muslim immigrants.

Children of the Revolution | Shane O’Sullivan | 2010 | 90 min | Documentary | Ireland, Germany, England
Wednesday, October 5 – Jackman Hall, AGO at 9:00 pm | North American Premiere |
May Shigenobu in attendance
Inspired by the student revolutions of 1968, Ulrike Meinhof and Fusako Shigenobu became the leaders of the Baader Meinhof Group and the Japanese Red Army. Appalled by the killing in Vietnam, they worked with Palestinian freedom fighters to overthrow capitalism through world revolution. Packed with extraordinary archive footage, the film sees journalists Bettina Röhl and May Shigenobu explore the lives of their mothers, Ulrike and Fusako. International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam

(No) Laughing Matter | Vanessa Rousselot | 2010 | 54 min | Documentary | France | Canadian Premiere
Thursday, October 6 – Jackman Hall, AGO at 7:00 pm
Convinced that humour knows no frontiers, a filmmaker embarks on an unusual quest: to search for humour in the West Bank. At first she finds only disillusionment – “our whole situation is a joke” – but little by little she uncovers a vibrant culture of humour that defies conventional wisdom. International Festival of Mediterranean Documentary and Current Affairs Film

Occupation has No Future | David Zlutnik | 2010 | 84 min | Documentary | USA| Canadian Premiere
Thursday October 6 – Jackman Hall, AGO at 9:00 pm
Through conversations with Israeli conscientious objectors and former soldiers, and Palestinians living under occupation, the film explores the Israeli social environment that creates heightened militarism and leads to attitudes of fear, racism, and ultimately aggression. The film also looks at the Israeli anti-militarist movement and Israeli youth refusing conscription and orders, and partnering with a growing grassroots Palestinian campaign of civil disobedience to defeat the occupation.

Hip Hop is Bigger than the Occupation | Existence is Resistance, Nana Dankwa | 2010 | 90 min |
Documentary | USA | Canadian Premiere | Rappers in attendance
CLOSING NIGHT: Friday, October 7 – Bell Lightbox at 7:00 pm
The film documents a 10-day musical tour through Palestine to teach resistance through the arts. Staying in the heart of Balata Refugee Camp at the Yafa Cultural Center in Nablus, the group witnessed and experienced the day-to-day struggle of Palestinian life. Accompanying the filmmakers are acclaimed hip hop artists including: M1 of Dead Prez, Lowkey, Shadia Mansour, Marcel Cartier, Mazzi of S.O.U.L. Purpose, DJ Vega Benetton, SWYC, University of Hip Hop, Jody McIntyre and many more….


Missing |Tariq Rimawi| 2010|3 min| Animation| Jordan, UK| N. Am. Premiere
September 30, 7:00pm – Lightbox
A window opens on a child who lives in a war torn area where he longs for his past peaceful life. Best
Short Film Franco Arab Film Festival

On the Heel Side | Riham Isaac |2011| 3 min| Experimental| Palestine| N. Am. Premiere
October 3, 7:00pm – AGO
A film made by the students of the Dance on Camera workshop in Ramallah, Palestine.

For the Resistance | Sheryle Carlson |2011| 32 min |Doc | Palestine| N. Am. Premiere
October 3, 7:00pm – AGO
Speaking with Palestinian activists and intellectuals on the ground, the film shares concepts and ideas
behind the culture and politics of the popular resistance.

Animal Farm | Nabeel Alraee, Michaela Miranda for Jenin Freedom Theatre |2009|10 min| Doc
|Palestine| N. Am. Premiere
October 3, 9:00pm – AGO
TPFF pays tribute to Juliano Mer Khamis, General Director of the Jenin Freedom Theatre. The film
consists of interviews with the actors and Mer Khamis on their controversial production of Orwell's
Animal Farm interpreted with a Palestinian twist.

Checkpoint | Ruben Amar |2010 |19 min| Fiction |Israel| Toronto Premiere
October 3, 9:00pm –AGO
A Palestinian boy from Gaza accompanies his father on monthly visits to a destroyed village. Though he doesn’t understand his father's ritual, he feels he has a duty to help him. Best Short Narrative Film,
Crossroads Film Festival

No Sharp Objects | Johan Eriksson (UNRWA) |2010|39 min| Doc | Palestine| N. Am. Premiere
October 4, 7:00pm – AGO
Fifteen boys – all aged 15 – are awarded a trip to the US as the top students of the UNRWA human rights programme. Most had never been outside Gaza before. Best Film (Human Rights) We The People Film Festival London

Full Court Press | Anne Paxton|2011|30 min| Doc| USA | Canadian Premiere
October 4, 9:00pm –AGO
The University of California at Berkeley saw the USA's first public debates over a resolution advocating the divestment from companies militarily supporting Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory.

138 Pounds in My Pocket | Sahera Dirbas | 2009| 19 min |Doc| Palestine, Norway | Canadian Premiere
October 5, 7:00pm - AGO
During the 1948 Nakba, Hind Al-Husseini came across a large group of young children in Jerusalem - survivors of the massacre in Deir Yassin. Husseini took them in and established the Dar al-Tifl al-Arabi, the largest Palestinian orphanage.

The Story of Milk and Honey | Basma Al-Sharif|2011|10 min|Experimental|Lebanon|Canadian Premiere
October 5, 9:00pm – AGO
Part of a larger project, this experimental short tells the story of an un-named individual who travels to Beirut to write a love story but fails.

The Incredible Juicer | Tahani Awad|2011|2 min| Animation| Lebanon | N. Am. Premiere
October 6, 7:00pm – AGO
This light-hearted film is based on the experience a family returning to their ruined home in Nahr el
Bared refugee camp in Lebanon after an armed conflict. Winner, UNRWA World Refugee Day Film

Yellow Mums | Firas Khoury|2010| 32 min| Fiction| Israel| N. Am. Premiere
October 6, 7:00pm – AGO
Nizar, an introverted Palestinian altar boy regularly teased by his peers, weighs whether cheating in
Easter egg games is justifiable in light of his good intentions for the eggs won.

Into the Belly of the Whale
| Hazim Bitar|2010| 25 min| Fiction | Jordan | Canadian Premiere
October 6, 9:00pm – AGO
Younis, a smuggler on his last tunnel run, ends up trapped in the middle of the "Whale" tunnel after an Israeli attack. Younis is left to ponder existential questions about fate and being alive underground.

Keffiyeh: Made in Palestine
| Benoit Faiveley | 2009 | 7 min | Doc | France | Canadian Premiere
October 7, 7:00pm – Lightbox
Faced with Israeli checkpoints, obstacles to exporting goods from the West Bank and competition from Chinese keffiyeh manufacturers, the last factory in Palestine might not outlive its 76-year-old owner.


Arab World Perspectives – Stray Bullet (Lebanon)
Stray Bullet | Georges Hachem | 2010 | 77 min | Fiction | Lebanon | October 1, 2:00pm | AGO
Toronto – TPFF is proud to announce the Arab World Perspectives program, a new addition to this
year’s festival line-up. This program shines a light on another part of the Arab world with a cutting-edge film from an up-and-coming Arab filmmaker. TPFF has selected the award-winning Lebanese film Stray Bullet by Georges Hachem and starring acclaimed Lebanese director/actor Nadine Labaki (Caramel; Where do we go now?).

Best Film Muhr Arab Award winner at the Dubai International Film Festival (2010), Hachem’s debut film is a poignant socio-politically charged drama that unveils a family in turmoil in the midst of wartime tensions. It’s the end of summer 1976 in a northern suburb of Beirut. Noha (Labaki) is engaged to be married and her overbearing family is relieved she will not end up an old maid like her sister. Wedding preparations appear to be going to plan until, on that Sunday, fifteen days before the nuptials, Noha changes her mind. Noha’s selfactualization triggers a cascading set of events that fractures her and her family.

Following the screening, TPFF will host a panel with director Georges Hachem and Pomegranates and Myrrh actor Ashraf Farah. They will discuss their films, which address themes of personal and national conflicts, as well as, trends, opportunities and obstacles for filmmakers and artists working in the Middle East on projects presenting a social commentary.

SAHTAIN! TPFF’s Palestinian Brunch with Music
Sunday October 3, 11:00-1:00 pm | Beit Zatoun, 612 Markham St., Toronto |Tickets: $20
TPFF hosts a traditional Palestinian breakfast catered by acclaimed chef Isam Kaisi from the highly
reviewed 93 HARBORD. The dining experience will be accompanied by a special live performance by award-winning composer, pianist and electronic musician, John Kameel Farah.

John Farah - Classically trained in composition and piano performance at the University of Toronto and the Royal Conservatory, Farah received the Glenn Gould Composition Award twice during his studies. Toronto's NOW Magazine named him as Best Pianist 2006 for his unique fusion of renaissance and baroque counterpoint, experimental improvisation, middle-eastern texture, ambient minimalism, Electronica and electro-acoustics. More recently, Farah was awarded the 2011 K.M. Hunter Artist Award by the Ontario Arts  Council. To date, Farah has released two albums, Creation and Unfolding and is looking forward to releasing his next album in 2011. Visit his website and myspace page for more information.

Panel – Arab Women in Film
Arab Women and Media Representation with Ruba Nadda and Nahla Abdo
Co-presented with NOW Magazine (TPFF Media Sponsor)
Sunday, October 2, 3:00 pm
Innis Town Hall, 2 Sussex Avenue, Toronto (U of T)
The Toronto Palestine Film Festival and NOW Magazine are proud to present Arab Women and Media Representation, a panel discussion with filmmaker and director Ruba Nadda and Professor and Arab Feminist Activist Nahla Abdo. Moderated by NOW Magazine's Entertainment Editor Susan Cole, the discussion will centre on the degrees of representation of Arab women in mainstream and alternative media and entertainment. By asking these critical questions of how Arab women are presented and represented in film and media from the perspective of an academic and a filmmaker, we hope that our audiences will have an opportunity to engage with our panellists and leave with a new way of looking at representation in media.

Panellist: Director Ruba Nadda
(Recent Films: Cairo Time (2009), Sabah (2005) )
Ruba Nadda is an Arab Canadian film director. She was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada to a Syrian father and a Palestinian mother. She has made several awardwinning short films, including Lost Woman Story, Interstate Love Story, So Far Gone and Damascus Nights before writing and directing features I Always Come to You, Unsettled and Sabah. Her movie Cairo Time won the Best Canadian Feature Film award at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival. She is known for shooting feature films in very short time spans. She is currently working on a new film.

Panellist: Professor Nahla Abdo
(Recent Publication: Women in Israel: Gender, Race and Citizenship (2011)
Nahla Abdo (Ph.D.) is an Arab feminist activist, Professor of Sociology at Carleton University. She has published extensively on women, racism, nationalism and the State in the Middle East with special focus on Palestinian women. Among her recent publications is the recently released book Women in Israel: Gender, Race and Citizenship (Zed, 2011). Professor Abdo is the founder of the Gender Research Unit at the Women's Empowerment Project/Gaza Community Mental Health Program in Gaza. She is also the cofounder of Women Against Occupation in Canada.


Pomegranetes and Myrrh | September 30 | Lightbox, 7:00 pm
Actor Ashraf Farah will be in attendance at the screening.
Ashraf Farah’s breakthrough film was as the lead in the award-winning film “Pomegranates and Myrrh”, by director Najwa Al Najjar. More recently, Ashraf starred in the Julian Schnabel latest film, “Miral” which received its world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival, 2010. Ashraf also stars in “Balkis”, one of the leading TV historical series in the Arab world this year. He also has extensive theatre credits.

Enemy Alien | October 4 | Jackman Hall AGO, 9:00pm
Director Konrad Aderer will be in attendance at the screening. Bio below.

Children of the Revolution | October 5 | Jackman Hall AGO, 9:00pm
May Shigenobu, featured in the film, will be in attendance at the screening. May Shigenobu is the daughter of Fusako Shigenobu (Japanese Red Army) and a Palestinian fighter based in Lebanon. She spent a portion of her childhood in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon where she lived in hiding to evade Israeli reprisals against her mother. She studied journalism in Lebanon and is fluent in Arabic. After her mother’s capture she returned to Japan in 2001, where she earned her PhD in Media Studies (2011), currently works as MBC’s Tokyo correspondent, as well as advocates for Palestine.

Hip Hop is Bigger than the Occupation | October 7 | Lightbox, 7:00pm
Rappers Shadia Mansour, Mazzi, Yassin will be in attendance at the screening.
See Closing Night Party for bios.

TPFF Art Show
Art is a form of representation; artists mark the canvas with paint, the paper with a photograph and blocks into sculptures. The strong meaning behind each artwork increases its valubility and has been throughout the years. The TPFF Traveling Art Show aims to highlight the visual artists’ that mark their emotions and feelings towards Palestine through artwork. A well rounded array of powerful paintings, printmakings, photography and more will be shown and coupled with the film screenings will uniquely convey the message of love.

TPFF on Campus – York and OCADU
Free Outdoor Film Screening at York University
Slingshot HipHop | Jackie Reem Salloum | 2008 | 84 min | Palestine, US | September 14, 7:00pm |
York University Commons (4700 Keele Street) - East of the reflecting pond/Vari Hall
Directed by Jackie Reem Salloum, Slingshot HipHop tells the stories of young Palestinians living in the West Bank, Gaza and inside Israel as they discover Hip Hop and employ it as a tool to surmount divisions imposed by occupation and poverty. From internal checkpoints and Separation Walls to gender norms and generational differences, these young people cross the borders that separate them through music. Slingshot HipHop premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival where it was nominated for the 2008 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury prize. The film screened to a sold-out theatre at TPFF 2008 where it won the Audience Choice Award.

This free outdoor film screening is being organized as part of TPFF's campus program and being copresented by our partners at York University: Future Cinema Lab @ York University, Community Arts Practice (CAP) program @ York University, Cinema Politica - York, OPIRG - York.

Tribute to Juliano Mer Khamis and the Jenin Freedom Theatre at OCAD University
September 22, 4:00pm | OCAD University - Room 327 | 100 McCaul Street
The Toronto Palestine Film Festival and the Faculty of Art at OCAD University proudly present the works of the Jenin Freedom Theatre. Founded in 2006 by Arna Mer Khamis and her son Juliano Mer Khamis, the Freedom Theatre is located in the Jenin refugee camp in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The refugee camp houses 16,000 Palestinian refugees, over half are under the age of 18 years of age. The camp's young people have grown up experiencing the consequences of occupation including violence, poverty, isolation and trauma. The Freedom Theatre was established to offer youth in the camp a safe and creative way to express themselves and build valuable skills.

More recently, the theatre itself has come under threat with the murder of Juliano Mer Khamis and attacks by the Israeli army. Despite this, the theatre continues to demonstrate steadfastness and dedication by continuing its much needed work in the community.

TPFF, in partnership with the Art Creates Change series at OCAD University, is pleased to showcase the works of new filmmakers from Jenin Freedom Theatre. While many films are made about Palestinians, TPFF shares the films made by Palestinians and the stories they want to tell. In many instances, they tackle issues inside the Palestinian community, which are exacerbated by occupation, including gender inequality, poverty, racism, and the role of arts in the community.

Venue: The Pilot, 22 Cumberland Street, Toronto, ON
Time: Doors open @ 9pm, $10 at the door (19+ event)
Performances by: Shadia Mansour; Mazzi; Yaseen;
Accompanied by: Toronto’s own DJ Leila Pee

Shadia Mansour
Shadia Mansour, the “first lady of Arabic Hip Hop”, is a British born Palestinian MC. She is reknown for her natural ability to switch between rapping and singing Arabic Phrases of loss, longing, struggle and life. Shadia started singing at age of 5, appearing on various Arabic, British, American TV and radio shows. She is currently working on her highly anticipated album featuring many top producers of the industry. Shadia has opened up for Busta Rhymes and Mobb Deep at the Palladium Club in New Rochelle, NY, and completed a highly successful US tour last summer. Shadia also took part in the Annual Pre Black August Concert in NYC with DJ Johnny Juice (Public Enemy). In May of this year Shadia was invited to take part in 'Symphony Arabica' and performed in a sold-out 4 city tour with an 200-person orchestra and a children’s choir. Shadia opened this years Annual Black August Benefit for Political Prisoners alongside major hip hop legends such as Q-Tip, EPMD, Bilal, Blackmoon, Smif N Wessun and Immortal Technique.

Mazzi from S.O.U.L Purpose
Mazzi, of S.O.U.L. Purpose, hails from Jersey City and has been performing since 1995. He has performed with, or opened for, many top hip hop talents including: Eminem, G-Unit, Black Eyed Peas, RUN DMC, Ghostface, D12, Mos Def, Xzibit, Common, Flava Flav, Talib Kweli, Dead Prez, Faith Evans, Erykah Badu, Big Daddy Kane, Suheir Hammad, among many others. Albums include the successful “The Construction”, “City Permits” and “The Inspection”. In addition, Mazzi has used his musical talents and album proceeds to support many charities and social activism initiatives.

Yassine from iVoice
Invincible Voice (I-Voice) started rapping in 2001, performing their very own genre - Trap (Tarab Rap), which integrates Tarab (classical Arabic music) into Hip-Hop through instrumentation and choice of beats. Yassine is one of two rappers that make up I-Voice, which was formed when he decided to build a record studio and headquarters for learning and teaching sound, recording, beat-making, and mixing in the Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon where he grew up.


Palestinian Filmmakers

Najwa Najjar / Pomegranates and Myrrh (Sept. 30 |Lightbox, 7:00 pm)
Najwa Najjar is a filmmaker living in Palestine. Pomegranates and Myrrh is her first feature film. It's the story of a woman's search for freedom and hope," she says. “I wanted a Palestinian story, a story different to what the world was used to seeing — about people trying to live ordinary lives under extraordinary circumstances." Her previous works include several award-winning films screened at film festivals worldwide, including Yasmine Tughani, Naim and Wadee'a, Quintessence of Oblivion, Blue Gold, A Boy Called Mohamad and They Came From the East.

Dahna Abourahme / The Kingdom of Women (Oct. 3 | AGO, 7:00 pm)
Born in Amman, Dahna Abourahme is a Palestinian filmmaker based in Beirut. A graduate of the New School for Social Research, she has worked on a number of films. She teaches video to youth in New York and Palestine and is involved in several community art projects. For Abourahme, The Kingdom of Women creates a space for positive empowerment. “This was an empowering image of Palestinian women working in their communities as opposed to being victims. It’s in the everyday people stories where you find real change.”

Mohammad Bakri / Zahara (Oct. 3 | AGO, 9:00 pm)
Mohammad Bakri, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, is one of the country’s most prominent actors and directors. He has been fighting for his democratic right to free expression since 2002 when he made the world-famous film Jenin Jenin. Bakri performed in theatres in Israel and the West Bank. After a few years of acting in Palestinian and Israeli films, Bakri began to act in international films. Bakri also directed documentary films including the controversial Jenin, Jenin. Almost all of Bakri's films have been influenced by the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and internal struggles of the Palestinian people.

Mahmoud Al Massad / This is my Picture When I was Dead (Oct. 5 | AGO, 7:00 pm)
Mahmoud al Massad was born in 1969 in Zarqa, Jordan. When he was 18 years old, he moved to Europe where he worked in the film industry in Romania, Italy and Germany, making 12 short films. Al Massad divides his time between Jordan and the Netherlands. Since 2002, al Massad has returned to Jordan to work on his film projects, including Shatter Hassan, Jackie & the 40 Yellow Cabs, Certificate, Ritual, Human Landscape, White Wall and Sufi, among others. Al Massad is currently working on a new project, This is My Picture When I was Dead, supported by the Sundance Documentary Institute.

Basma Al Sharif, based in Beirut, received an MFA from the School of Art and Design at
the University of Illinois, Chicago. She has lectured at the University of Illinois, the School of the Art
Institute of Chicago, and the American University of Cairo. Her work wavers between fiction and fantasy to experiment with non-linear narratives that explore subjective experiences in relation to political landscapes.

Tahani Awad is from Nahr el Bared Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon. Her short film was declared the winner of a film competition organized by the United Nations to mark World Refugee Day.

Hazim Bitar An award-winning Jordanian-Palestinian producer and founder of the Amman Filmmakers Cooperative and the Jordan Short Film Festival. In 2007 the Institut Français du Proche-Orient selected Bitar as one of Jordan’s leading cultural influences.

Sahera Dirbas is a filmmaker living in Jerusalem but hails originally from Haifa.

Riham Isaac is a Palestinian actress from Bethlehem who made her short film on the Heel Side as part of the Dance on Camera workshop in Ramallah, Palestine, during the 2011 International Dance Festival.

Firas Khoury, a Palestinian from Israel, won the Adam Fint Treatments Competition with the screenplay of “The Flag” during the Tel Aviv 12th International Student Film Festival. He also attended the Talent Campus of the Berlin Film Festival.

Jenin Freedom Theatre, located in Jenin Refugee Camp, is developing the only professional venue for theatre and multimedia in the north of the West Bank. The aim of the theatre is to empower youth and women in the community and to explore the potential of arts as an important catalyst for social change.

International Filmmakers

Georges Hachem / Stray Bullet (Oct.1 | AGO, 2:00 pm)
Georges Hachem graduated from the National School Louis Lumière, in Paris, and also studied drama at the Lebanese University. He has created and directed several short films in acting workshops that he has coached since 1992 in Paris and Beirut. Since returning to Beirut in 2006, he has been in charge of the audiovisual department in the Antonine University. He also promotes the works of Lebanese playwrights. In 2009, he wrote and directed a 20-minute short film, Evening Mass, followed by his first feature film, awardwinning Stray Bullet.

Ester Gould and Sabine Bakker / Shout (Oct. 4 |AGO, 7:00 pm)
Since 2005, Ester Gould has focused on directing documentaries. Originally from the Netherlands, she studied film, television and theater in Amsterdam and New York. Gould completed a Masters in Journalism and has worked with the current affairs program NOVA. Sabine Lubbe Bakker’s passion for the Middle East took her to Damascus to write her thesis, which dealt with rebellious student movements in Syria. In addition, she made two short films. Sabine worked in Brussels for the documentary programme Panaroma, and as a freelance researcher and director for Amsterdam-based BNR News Radio. Nowadays she works as a freelance documentary filmmaker.

Konrad Aderer / Enemy Alien (Oct. 4 | AGO, 9:00pm)
Konrad is a documentary filmmaker and video producer. With production company Off Ramp Films he has worked on projects for the United Nations, the ACLU and other NGOs and nonprofits. As a freelancer he has created promotional videos for nonprofit and corporate clients including RMJM Hillier. Konrad’s independent documentaries have screened at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the New York Museum of Modern Art, and at film festivals across the U.S. and internationally. His work has been supported by grants from the Center for Asian American Media, the Fledgling Fund and New York State Council of the Arts.

Shane O’Sullivan / Children of the Revolution (Oct. 5 | AGO, 9:00 pm)
Shane O'Sullivan is an Irish writer and filmmaker, based in London. He directed the controversial documentary RFK Must Die, which explored the assassination of JFK. He has worked as a writer and a film director. Children of the Revolution is his latest work. From the film’s web page: “Protest is when I say I don’t like this. Resistance is when I stop what I don’t like.”

Vanessa Rousselot / (No) Laughing Matter (Oct. 6 | AGO, 7:00 pm)
Vanessa Rousselot is a French film maker. (No) Laughing Matter is her first major documentary. The subject of her film unfolded when she moved from Beirut to Bethlehem for a year in 2005. She was set on learning Arabic. Now, six years later, Rousselot’s film competed in America’s prestigious Full Frame Documentary film festival and screening at TPFF. The Daily Star has written about the film: “The beauty of ‘No Laughing Matter’ lies in how Rousselot subtly inter-weaves the drudgery of everyday life, despair, resistance and humor and takes the public on a road trip collecting jokes in Hebron, Ramallah, Nablus, Bethlehem and even Gaza, via Skype.”

David Zlutnick / Occupation has no Future (Oct. 6 | AGO, 9:00pm)
Zlutnick, a California native, has been making films under the name of Upheaval Productions since he was 16. He has worked with numerous independent print publications, co-founded The Friendly Fire Collective, and has been published in a variety of media outlets including Democracy Now! and CounterPunch among others. A founding member of Colectivo Media Insurgente, David worked to produce multiple films through this organization that were shown widely both within the United States and internationally.

Existence is Resistance, Nana Dankwa/Hip Hop is Bigger than the Occupation (Oct. 7|Lightbox, 7:00)
Nana Dankwa, hailing from Ghana/Kenya, moved to the UK and then New York where he discovered his passion for in telling stories through film and music. He has been involved in many projects including documenting Afrika Bambaataa's visit to the UK, produced films for adidas promoting new talent, directed music videos and is currently working in a pan African TV station. He was approached by a grass roots organization called Existence is Resistance to go to Palestine to document the tour. Existence Is Resistance is an internationalist organization determined to promote non-violent resistance through cultural arts.

Ruben Amar is a multi-awarded director and screenwriter of six short films shot in London, New York, Paris and Tel Aviv. His movies have been screened in more than 50 international film festivals. Ruben is currently shooting his first indie feature with Lola Bessis.

Sheryle Carlson is a Canadian filmmaker who engages in issues surrounding corporate/governmental responsibility, environmental sustainability, and social justice. Her filmmaking and art focuses on communicating ideas, facts and ideals often obscured or hidden by an onslaught of mass culture and the homogenization of consumerist tendencies that limit diversity and in some cases, free thinking. She recently worked with the Alternative Information Center in Palestine, then as associate director at Sierra Club Prairie in Canada. She is currently completing her masters in Human Ecology: Power, Culture and Sustainability in Sweden.

Johan Eriksson is a filmmaker working with the United Nations’ agency UNRWA in Palestine.

Benoit Faiveley is a journalist and photojournalist who also shoots documentaries. Since 2006, he has
been living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. His work has been published in Marie Claire, Le Monde and La Presse.

Anne Paxton is the Director of Metier Productions, specializing in documentaries on human rights and social justice issues.

Tariq Rimawi is a Jordanian Animation Filmmaker. In 2010, he graduated with a Master degree in
Animation from the International Film School of Wales where he made his major short film "Missing".

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