Toronto Palestine Film Festival October 25 – November 1st
From October 25 – November 1st, Toronto will be host to the first-ever Toronto Palestine Film Festival. Over 35 films will be shown through the week with 21 Canadian premiers. Films include shorts, documentaries, features and experimental genre.
As conceived by Palestine House, this festival is part of the year-long series of events commemorating the 60th anniversary of Al Nakba, the dispossession and expulsion of the Palestinian people from their homes and lands in 1948.
The festival is supported by the Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, NOW Magazine, the Toronto Women's Bookstore and a number of local businesses.
Selected screenings and panels are co-sponsored by HotDocs, Images Festival, the National Film Board, PEN Canada, and the Women and Gender Studies Institute, University of Toronto, OISE.
The full programme is available below. Most of the films are expected to sell out, so be sure to get your tickets today!
International guests attending the festival include:
* Renowned Palestinian poet, Suheir Hammad, will open the festival. Hammad is a popular poet, author and political activist who has published three books of poetry and performed widely, including appearances on the Def Poetry Jam and in a number of films, including Lest We Forget (2003), The Fourth World War (2004) and Salt of this Sea (2008). On Saturday October 25, Hammad will introduce the Canadian premiere of Annemarie Jacir's critically acclaimed feature Salt of This Sea, in which she plays the lead role. The film was an "Official Selection, Un Certain Regard" at the Cannes Film Festival 2008 and tells the story of Soraya (played by Hammad), born in Brooklyn to a family of Palestinian refugees, who discovers that her grandfather's savings were frozen in a bank account in Jaffa when he was exiled in 1948.
* Jackie Salloum, film-maker and director. On Saturday 1 November, Salloum will close the festival with the premiere of her long-awaited film and Canadian premiere, Slingshot Hip Hop. Slingshot braids together the stories of young Palestinians living in Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank as they discover Hip Hop and employ it as a tool to surmount divisions imposed by occupation and poverty. The film was a nominee, Grand Jury Prize, Sundance Film Festival 2008.
On Saturday 1 November, from 11am – 1pm, Salloum will also be speaking at a panel entitled Palestinian Cinema and Cultural Resistance. William Doo Auditorium, New College, 45 Willcocks St.
* A guest speaker from Al Haq, a Palestinian human rights organization in Ramallah, will lead a discussion following the screening of the new documentary, Memory of the Cactus, on Wednesday October 29. This documentary reveals the true story behind Israel's "Canada Park" – a story of dispossession, destruction and continuing displacement. Forty-one years ago,
the three Palestinian villages of Imwas, Yalo and Beit Nouba in the Latroun enclave of the West Bank were razed to the ground after Israel occupied the territory in 1967. Today, the residents of those villages remain displaced and barred from returning, while Israeli citizens enjoy picnics in the Jewish National Fund's "Canada Park", much of it funded by Canadians, oblivious to the
crimes perpetrated in their names.
Tickets to all films cost only $10 / $5 concession, and are available for advance purchase at:
• Toronto Women's Bookstore, 73 Harbord St, Toronto;
• Palestine House Educational and Cultural Centre, 3185 Erindale Station Rd Mississauga; or
• Online at tpff.ca