12th Palestinian Film Festival Australia Announces 2023 Program


The Palestinian Film Festival Australia has announced its highly anticipated 2023 program with a mix of Australian premieres, award-winning features and ground-breaking documentaries.

Navigating universal themes of people, place and politics, this year’s Festival delivers yet another enthralling program of the finest and newest Palestinian films to Australian audiences in Sydney (13-15 Oct), Brisbane (20-22 Oct), Melbourne (26-29 Oct), Perth (27-29 Oct) and Canberra (27-29 Oct).

We’re stoked to present our exciting twelfth Festival! This year’s program celebrates the power of truth-telling in the healing and building of resilient communities” said Festival Director Naser Shakhtour. “With award-winning films set inside historic Palestine as well as abroad in Palestinian diaspora communities, we have painstakingly and proudly picked a program that reflects the stories and experiences of Palestinian communities while also responding to the interests and feedback of our ever-growing festival audience.”

Opening the Festival this year is the coming-of-age, socio-political drama Alam (Flag) directed by Firas Khoury. Alam is the story of Tamer, a Palestinian teen who undergoes a political awakening, sparked by an attractive outspoken new girl at his school.

From the Director: “In this film I wish to give prominence to the Palestinian youth, who have willingly and despite all chosen to turn their peaceful struggle against injustice their primary vocation. High school students with courageous souls have become a great source of inspiration to me since I began following and observing them in recent years. My aim in this film is to expose their struggle to define and reinvent themselves, as well as to bring forth their personal story. I wish to show the world that a Palestinian teenager is no different from any other around the world, they have similar dreams and aspirations, and they seek to embark on new experiences, to find love and recognition while transforming into adults.”

Firas Khoury is a Palestinian scriptwriter and director. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in cinema. Khoury has several short films to his credit; among them are the award-winning movies Seven Days in Deir Bulus (2007) and Yellow Mums (2010). In 2019, Khoury’s short film, Maradona’s Legs received the Robert Bosch Stiftung Film Prize and the support of Berlin Medienboard.

This year’s Palestinian Film Festival Australia program features favourites from some of the world’s most prestigious festivals. Winner of the International Federation of Film Critics Prize at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival, A Gaza Weekend by Basil Khalil is a hilarious, action-packed parody that lampoons disaster movies. Renowned UK actor Stephen Mangan co-stars opposite Palestinian actress Mouna Hawa in this unforgettable film.

On its well-deserved way to Venice for the 2024 Oscars is Palestine’s entry for the Best International Feature Film is Bye Bye Tiberias by Palestinian-Algerian-French filmmaker Lina Soualem. Bye Bye Tiberias is a 2023 documentary film that follows Soualem’s (famous) mother, Hiam Abbass who leaves her Palestinian village to pursue her dream of becoming an actress, leaving behind her mother, grandmother and sisters.

With eleven unforgettable films on offer, all telling their unique story of Palestine and Palestinians, you will not want to meet the 2023 Palestinian Film Festival Australia.


Feature Films

  • Alam – Alam is the story of Tamer, a Palestinian teen who undergoes a political awakening sparked by a pretty, outspoken girl who has just joined his school.
  • A Gaza Weekend – Gaza suddenly becomes the safest – and funniest – place on Earth during a pandemic in this uproarious comedy from Palestinian-British filmmaker Basil Khalil. 
  • A House in Jerusalem – A House in Jerusalem follows a Jewish-British girl who moves from England to Jerusalem for a new start after her mother’s death but on the way, meets the ghost of a Palestinian girl.


  • Bye Bye Tiberias – Filmmaker Lina Soualem travels back in time and place to capture the stories passed on by four generations of daring Palestinian women in her family.
  • Resistance, Why? – A recently restored documentary that captures a crucial cross-section of the Palestinian resistance in Lebanon in 1970 including never before seen footage of Ghassan Kanafani.
  • Twelve beds – Palestinian orphans return to a place of memory where personal narratives of displacement, martyrdom, loss and deprivation stir questions related to identity, sacrifice and homeland.
  • Three Promises – The story revolves around three critical moments when Suha negotiates her family’s safety with God amid the abandonment of dear friends, her son’s fleeting childhood, her daughter’s mistrust and directly facing her own mortality.
  • Resistance Climbing – American writer and climber Andrew Bisharat visits the West Bank to explore his own roots and the power of climbing to transform lives.


  • Zoo – In this animation, a child is searching for his football when he encounters a little tiger who follows him on his quest to find a safe place to play.
  • Bethlehem 2001 – A young Palestinian man recollects his childhood memories of the military invasion and siege of Bethlehem.
  • Lovesick in the West Bank – A Palestinian family hosts a young American tourist after a simple misunderstanding. But as chaos unfolds in their village, it doesn’t take too long for them to become part of the absurd mayhem that immediately ensues.


WHAT: 2023 Palestinian Film Festival Australia
WHEN: 13 October – 29 October 2023
WEBSITE: http://palestinianfilmfestival.com.au

Press Release

Liked it? Take a second to support The Curb on Patreon
Become a patron at Patreon!