12th Palestinian Film Festival Australia Announces 2024 Program

PRESS RELEASE

The Palestinian Film Festival Australia has announced its highly anticipated 2024 program featuring 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 (7-10 March), Canberra (8-10 March), Brisbane (8-10 March), Adelaide (8-10 March), Hobart (8-10 March), Melbourne (14-17 March) and Perth (15-17 March).

“There’s never been a more important time to learn the stories of Palestine. The last few months in Gaza and in the West Bank have been, and continue to be, beyond devastating. People everywhere are asking brave questions and actively seeking independent and alternative perspectives,” said Festival Director Naser Shakhtour. “Our twelfth Festival program pays tribute to the continued resistance and resilience of the Palestinian people.”

“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 simultaneously responding to the interests and feedback of our ever-growing festival audience,” said Shakhtour.

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.

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 Hollywood 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.

Having its Australian Premiere at the festival is the sci-fi documentary Lyd, a film that explores the poignant history of Lyd, once a thriving Palestinian city, now divided by Israeli occupation. Through a blend of documentary and animated sequences, Lyd presents a powerful narrative of what the city was and what it could have been, inviting viewers to reflect on the impact of historical events on the city’s Palestinian community.

With twelve unforgettable films on offer, all telling their unique story of Palestine and Palestinians, you will not want to miss the 2024 Palestinian Film Festival Australia.

FULL PROGRAM FILM NOTES:

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.

Documentaries

  • 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.
  • Lyd – sci-fi documentary that shares multiple pasts, presents, and futures of the city of Lyd in Palestine/Israel. From the perspective of the city herself, the viewer is guided through the lifespan of a five-thousand-year-old city and its residents
  • 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.
  • Tomorrow’s Freedom – Marwan Barghouti, often described as the ‘Palestinian Nelson Mandela’, is serving five life sentences in an Israeli prison. This is his story.
  • Gaza Surf Club – Gaza Surf Club explores the transformative power of the ocean and the resilience it fosters for a vibrant community of surfers in Gaza.

Shorts

  • 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.
  • 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.

ABOUT THE PALESTINIAN FILM FESTIVAL AUSTRALIA

The Palestinian Film Festival Australia is a social impact initiative dedicated to promoting Palestinian life, art and culture.  Showcasing a diverse and innovative selection of Palestinian films from around the world, the festival is a cinematic journey of creative, thought-provoking storytelling. The Festival is part of a thriving Palestinian film industry working to facilitate Palestinian cultural output while strengthening social and economic ties between Palestine and Australia, and other parts of the world.

DIRECTOR BIO:

Naser Shakhtour MBA, Festival Director

Naser Shakhtour is a Sydney-based Australian-Palestinian technologist and Founder and Director of Cultural Media, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the promotion of Palestinian art and culture in Australia.

FESTIVAL DETAILS:
WHAT: 2024 Palestinian Film Festival Australia 
WHEN: 7 March– 17 March 2024
WEBSITE: http://palestinianfilmfestival.com.au
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/Palestinianfilmfestival
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/Palfilmfestival
INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/palestinianfilmfestival
YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9gAZTZ9KTjtE4lPfl1mOzg

Press Release

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