Short films by Palestinian women at three European film festivals

Produced by Shashat, the films are screening this month in Sweden, Croatia and Italy

Events and Festivals, Palestine

Short films by Palestinian women at three European film festivals

Three films by four Palestinian women directors, three from the Gaza Strip and one from the West Bank, are screening at European film festivals this month. The three films were produced by Shashat in 2013, as part of the Remnants film collection shown at Shashat’s 9th Women Film Festival in Palestine, funded by the European Union and the Heinrich Boll Foundation.

Manshar Ghaseelo, by Gazan filmmakers Alaa Desouki from Khan-Younis and Areej Abu Eid from An-Nuseirat, is now showing at the Malmö Arab Film Festival in Sweden. The film, a finalist for the audience prize during the Euromed Audiovisual III MADE in MED short film contest, uses animated sequences and live footage to recount part of the dictionary of verbal sexual abuse to which women are subjected, regardless of how covered-up they are. 

The two young Gazan women directors were trained by Shashat in 2011 and 2012, through the EU-funded gender project “I am a woman,” through which Desouki made Noise! in 2012, and co-directed Sardine & Pepper in 2011, whileAbu Eid directed Separation in 2012, and co-directed Kamkameh in 2011.

Zeina Ramadan, from Nablus, has been invited to the Dubrovnik Film Festival in Croatia from October 16 to 19. Her film Hush! gives us a 7-minute peek into the life of Lamia, who is facing social pressures to be a "perfect girl."  This translates into marriage, children and silence -- as if there were no other options for a girl, because anything else would lead to scandal and dishonour. The constant criticism of everything she does, added to constant scrutiny in a male dominant society, makes things even worse for this girl, whose only wish is to have a small quiet room of her own where hope exists.


Gazan filmmaker Reham al-Ghazali will be taking part in several events at the Naples Human Rights Film Festival from October 20 to 25.  She will be part of a panel on cinema and human rights, where she will show some of her photographic work, and her short film N.G/Kooz is screening in the official competition. The film is about Hamza who, like many other youth his age, graduated from university and began his long journey searching for a full-time job that can provide him with a decent living.  After five years, the only job he has found is in the NGO sector, one that exploits youth with short-term two-month contracts at low pay. This struggle leads Hamza to develop a strange relationship with paper -- his CV and university degree, the sources of his disappointment. 

Ghazali also trained with Shashat in 2011 and 2012 through the same project and directed Out of Frame in 2012, and Madleen in 2011.

Shashat Women’s Cinema is an independent cinema NGO in Palestine founded in 2005, which works in four areas. First, it holds an annual “Women’s Film Festival in Palestine” which tours 23 cities in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in collaboration with seven universities, seven refugee camps, and 23 cultural and community organizations. Second, it works on capacity building within the Palestinian filmmaking sector through training and production programmes for independent women filmmakers, especially the younger generation. Third, it runs “Films for all,” a national film screening and discussion programme throughout the West Bank and the Gaza. And fourth, it promotes film education with a specialised film book and DVD library. 

Shashat was awarded the Palestinian Ministry of Culture “Award for Excellence in Cinema” in 2010, the only time this award was granted.  It has received funding from the European Union for its women’s film festival in Palestine since 2008.

Source: Shashat

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