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Cannes Festival: an opportunity to change opinions about Palestinians

By Henry James - May 17, 2018
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [film] [festival]

On May 8 the 71st edition of Cannes Festival in France commenced, marking the first time Palestinian filmmakers will have a National Pavilion. 

Almost every year Palestine has had a film in the Cannes official selection, but until now they didn’t have any official representation. Filmmakers said the new level of representation in the international village of the festival was a important step for the growing Palestinian cinema industry.
The Pavilion is mostly financed by the Palestinian Ministry of Culture, who didn’t provide any details about how much it invested. Lina Bokhary, head of the Movie Department in the Ministry explained that this decision was part of a wider political target to promote Palestinians movies.
“Cannes is very important because it is the entrance door to all of Europe which is a big market for Palestinian movies,” Bokhary told Palestine Monitor. Even though the cinema industry in Palestine is limited, there have been a certain number of movies were applauded by international critics in previous years.
In 2017, the Palestinian movie Ghost Hunting - about Israeli prisons - won Best Documentary Prize in Berlinale, the International Film Festival in Berlin. In 2002, Divine Intervention, directed by Elia Suleiman won the Jury Prize in Cannes Festival.
“Changing opinions in in the west [about Palestinians] is more of our fight than making movies for entertainment or box-office,” explained Mohanad Yaqoubi, one of the Co-Founders of the Palestine Film Institute. “Every movie is directed to change opinions in western countries and fight prejudice about Palestinians.”
The Pavilion will give Palestinian filmmakers an opportunity to pitch their work to international industry producers, and to raise awareness about the current situation in the country.
Lead photo: Courtesy of Palestine Film Institute

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