Leeds Palestinian Film Festival 2015

The first Leeds Palestinian Film Festival took place between the 15th November and the 15th December 2015.

We proudly brought you a selection of films from and about Palestine and the Palestinian diaspora. Ranging from documentaries to dramas to our favourite – a Claymation – we hoped illuminated the darkness of troubled times.

We were pleased to have had Richard Burgon (MP for East Leeds and newly appointed Shadow Treasury Secretary) opening the festival on 15th November, given his longtime interest and commitment to Palestine.

Our screenings were:

The Wanted 18:  Sunday 15th November 8.30 pm, Albert Room, Leeds Town Hall, Headrow, LS1 3AD.

This winning mix of documentary and clay-animation offers an unexpectedly humorous account of a West Bank town’s experience of the first Intifada, a subject that doesn’t usually generate a lot of laughs in cinema. It recounts the true story of how the Palestinian neighborhood of Beit Sahour near Bethlehem acquired a herd of 18 dairy cows and then had to hide them from the Israeli security forces when their existence was absurdly deemed a threat to national security.

Screened in collaboration with Leeds International Film Festival

Directors: Amer Shomali, Paul Cowan, released: 2014, running time: 75 minutes

Tickets £5 / £6

Facebook event for The Wanted 18

If you want to recommend this to or let a friend n Sheffield know about this film, it is also showing at the Showroom on Saturday 28 November as part of Cinema Palestino.

Amreeka:  Tuesday 17th November 7.30 pm, Seven Arts Centre, 31A, Harrogate Road, Chapel Allerton, LS7 3PD

This lighthearted film chronicles the adventures of Muna, a single mother who leaves the West Bank with Fadi, her teenage son, with dreams of an exciting future in the promised land of small town Illinois. Told with heartfelt humor, “Amreeka” is a universal journey into the lives of a family of immigrants and first-generation teenagers caught between their heritage and the new world in which they now live and the bittersweet search for a place to call home.

Dirctor and writer:  Cherien Dabis, released 2009, running time: 96 minutes, cast includes Nisreen Faour, Melkar Muallem and Alia Shawkat

Tickets £5 / £3.50 concessions / Refugees and Asylum Seekers free

Facebook event for Amreeka

Two Blue Lines:  Monday 23rd November, 6.30pm, Beckett Studio, Leeds Beckett University, LS6 3QS

Shot over a period of 32 years, this documentary examines the human and political situation of Palestinian people from the years prior to the creation of Israel to the present day. By primarily featuring the narratives of Israelis whose positions run counter to their country’s official policy, Ohio-based filmmaker Tom Hayes provides a portrait of the ongoing conflict not often depicted in our mainstream media.

Director: Tom Hayes, released 2015, running time: 98 minutes

Free entry, donations welcome, free parking and a bar on campus
(Beckett Studio is no 34. on the Headingley Campus map.)

Two Blue Lines – trailer – https://vimeo.com/102777023

Facebook event for Two Blue Lines


Balls, Barriers and Bulldozers:  Saturday, 28th November, 6 pm, Carriageworks, 3 Millennium Square, LS2 3AD

Republica Internatonale Football Club, based in Leeds, would like to welcome people from Leeds and beyond to the Northern Premier of a film about their recent trip to the West Bank, Palestine.  The film follows two UK women’s football teams as they visit teams across the West Bank, even playing the Palestinaian U19s team in the national stadium.  The tour also included Visits to villages and projects to learn more about life under occupation.  The film documents their journey and interviews with the women they meet along the way.

Tickets are free and booked via: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/balls-barriers-and-bulldozers-tickets-19347911123

Balls, Barriers and Bulldozers – trailer – https://vimeo.com/145781234

Faceboook event for Balls, Barriers and Bulldozers


Divine Intervention:  Friday 4th December, 7pm, HEART Centre, Bennett Street, Headingley, LS6 3HN

A Film and Food Night.
The lovely folk at HEART Café will have some delicious Palestinian and middle eastern mezzes on their menu, especially laid on for the evening from 6 pm onwards.  There will also be lovely Zaytoun Palestinian products and Palestinian crafts available for sale (great for Christmas presents).

Divine Intervention will be introduced at 7 pm by Keith Withall, local film enthusiast who has a keen interest of film by and about oppressed peoples fighting neo-colonialism.

This film (which will start at around 7.15 pm) is a surreal black comedy made by Palestinian director Elia Suleiman.  It records a day in the life of a Palestinian living in Nazareth, whose girlfriend lives several checkpoints away in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

One lyrical section features a beautiful sunglasses-clad Palestinian woman (played by Manal Khader) whose passing by not only distracts all eyes, but whose gaze causes Israeli military checkpoint towers to crumble. The director features prominently as the film’s silent, expressionless protagonist in an iconic and powerfully moving performance that has been compared to the work of Buster Keaton, Jim Jarmusch and Jacques Tati.

Director and writer: Elia Suleiman, released 2002, running time 92 minutes, cast include Elia Suleiman, Manal Khader and George Ibrahim.

Tickets £5 / £3.50 concessions / Refugees and Asylum Seekers free

Facebook event for Divine Intervention


On the Side of the Road:  Thursday 10th December 7 pm, Hamara Centre, Tempest Road, Beeston, LS11 6RD.

This documentary by Israeli journalist Lia Tarachansky examines the collective Israeli denial about the expulsion and displacement of Palestinians in the wake of the 1948 war for independence.  Referred to by the Palestinian people as the Nakba, or “the catastrophe,” the destruction of villages resulted in generations of refugees and, as parks and new cities were built on the ruins of those villages, years of violent history were swept under the rug.  Tarachansky interviews several former soldiers who participated in the destruction.  The film refrains from dehumanizing either side, instead making the simple request that the region’s history never be forgotten.

Director: Lia Tarachansky, released 2013, running time: 82 minutes

After this screening Monica Wusteman from BRICUP (British  Committee for the Universities of Palestine) and York PSC will give a short update on the Boycott divestment & sanctions movement.

Tickets £5 / £3.50 concessions / Refugees and Asylum Seekers free

On the Side of the Road – OFFICIAL TRAILER – https://vimeo.com/65278501

Facebook event for On the Side of the Road

Open Bethlehem:  Tuesday 15th December, 6.30pm, Hyde Park Picture House, 73, Brudenell Road, Hyde Park

Film and Sale of Ethical Christmas Presents.
When film-maker Leila Sansour returned to Bethlehem in 2005,  she planned to make a documentary about the Palestinian city she couldn’t wait to leave as a teenager.  However, her cousin Carol convinces her to stay and build upon the legacy of her father, who founded the local university in 1973.  Realising that the “Separation” wall erected by the Israelis is isolating a once-thriving destination for pilgrims and tourists, Leila and Carol devise a campaign to encourage visitors to return to the birthplace of Jesus Christ and apply for passports giving them honorary citizenship.  Distilled from 700 hours of footage shot over several years and with rare archive material, this may be slick cine-advocacy, but it is also undeniably potent and poignant.

Director:  Leila Sansour, released 2014, running time 90 minutes

There will be lovely Zaytoun products  and crafts for sale (perfect ethical Christmas presents!) at the cinema before the screening from 6pm.

Tickets £5.50 /£4.50 concessions / £6 balcony / Friends of HPPH £4

Facebook event for Open Bethlehem

Venue details of film showing

We would like to thank Leeds International Film Festival, Leeds Beckett University, Hyde Park Picture House, 7 Arts Centre, Hamara and HEART for supporting the LPFF.

Organised by the Film Festival Committee in collaboration with Leeds Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

https://www.facebook.com/LeedsPSC.org.uk/ <— LPSC facebook page (this page you’re looking at!)


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