Bristol Palestine Film Festival (BPFF) is pleased to announce that Palestinian film will be returning to
the South West for the eight year.
From 4-9 December, Watershed, Cube Microplex, Curzon Cinema & Arts in Clevedon, The Windmill
Pub, and the Bristol Palestine Museum & Cultural Centre will play host to a series of shorts, feature
films and documentaries by Palestinian as well as International directors. Many of the films have
never been screened in the UK before and the festival presents a unique opportunity to see these
fresh, surprising and beautifully told stories.
The films focus on the diversity of the Palestinian experience: football, surfing, fathers and sons,
difficult choices, growing up and breaking rules, fulfilling dreams and ambitions, walls, journeys,
passion, guilt, betrayal and pride.
Tuesday 4 December
The festival kicks off with Gaza Surf Club at 7.30pm at the Palestine Museum in Broad Street. The
Gaza Strip has become a byword for misery – its tightly packed population trapped between
relentless Israeli assaults and the societal strictures of Hamas. It’s not a place one expects to find
surfers, but for years a group of men – and some girls – have looked to riding the waves as their only
form of mental escape. Using rough, homemade boards and precious professional ones brought in
by groups such as Surfing 4 Peace, these determined nonconformists find relief from the
hopelessness of their situation, in the Mediterranean’s waves.
Wednesday 5th December
On the Wednesday evening at 7.30pm, also at the Palestine Museum in Broad Street, Julia Bacha’s
militant documentary Naila and the Uprising is by turns startling and dismaying as it traces the
central role Palestinian women played in the First Intifada of the late 1980s. Integrating animated
scenes with interviews and archive footage, it paints an indelible picture of how, with many men
deported or arrested, women stepped into the arena of political and social organizing, only to be
told their role was over when Yasser Arafat returned from exile to form the Palestinian Authority in
1994 with a crew of all-male leaders.
Following screenings at the Palestine Museum, there will be the option to purchase a delicious
vegetarian Palestinian meal.
Also on the Wednesday evening at 7.30pm, there will be screening of the BPFF 2017 festival hit In
Between by Palestinian director Maysaloun Hamoud, at the Windmill Film Club in Bedminster. This
bittersweet debut feature is a spiky and slyly subversive treat, an empowering tale of three
Palestinian women living in Tel Aviv, each fighting their own battles for independence and fulfilment.
Thursday 6 December
BPFF is delighted to welcome playwright and screenwriter David Hare to Watershed, to talk about
his new film Wall, showing at 6.30pm. In this compelling animated documentary, director Cam
Christiansen animates David Hare’s exploration of the causes and effects of the 700+ kilometre
barrier. David Hare will be in conversation with Bristol University’s Tom Sperlinger in a Q&A
following the film.
Friday 7 December
An extra-marital affair between an Israeli woman and a Palestinian man becomes twisted by security
services on both sides in Muayad Alayan’s engrossing new film The Reports on Sarah and Saleem,
showing at Watershed at 8.30pm. This taut psychosocial and political thriller has already been
winning awards at international film festivals, and follows Alayan’s first film Love Theft and Other
Entanglements, which BPFF screened in 2016. BPFF is delighted to welcome director Muayad Alayan
from Jerusalem: he will be doing an audience Q&A following the film.
Also on Friday, the events at the Cube Microplex kick off with football documentary Team Gaza at
8pm, which records the lives of four young people. Stuck between walls these four Gazans try to
build their lives: one wants to marry his niece, a second tries to rebuild his bombarded house, a third
tries to flee the strip, and the last turns to weapons. Together they unite in a football team, the only
place where they can forget about everything.
Saturday 8 December
A full day of screenings starts at 2pm at the Palestine Museum with a programme of New
Palestinian Shorts. Featuring both documentary and fiction, the range of genres and tones on offer
is simply breath-taking.
The café will be serving vegetarian Palestinian food.
At 5.30pm at Watershed, there is the first opportunity to see Oscar nominated The Insult, from
Lebanese director Ziad Doueiri, which plunges into the thicket of the deeply held resentments
between Lebanese Christians and Palestinian refugees, with a riveting courtroom drama that shows
how even minor interpersonal tensions can boil over into national traumas.
This film will also screen on Sunday at 7.30pm at the Curzon Cinema & Arts in Clevedon.
And the day ends at 8pm at The Cube Microplex with Wajib, directed by Cannes winning director
Annemarie Jacir. This seductive, accessible comedy-drama unfolds over the course of a winter’s day
in Nazareth as a father and son (played by real-life father and son Mohammad and Saleh Bakri)
hand-deliver wedding invitations for the forthcoming nuptials of their daughter/sister. As they drive
around town in a battered old Volvo, this nuanced film neatly unpeels the many layers of their
relationship, and interleaves the simmering tension with moments of terrific comedy.
Sunday 9th December
In the Gaza Strip, two million people live under an Israeli siege without adequate food, housing,
work, water and electricity. The Israeli military routinely uses indiscriminate and disproportionate
violence, and almost no one can escape. Max Blumenthal and Dan Cohen’s powerful new film,
Killing Gaza, (2pm at Watershed) shot in the aftermath of the 2014 bombing, offers an unflinching
and moving portrait of a people largely abandoned by the outside world, struggling to endure.
Following the screening will be a Q&A with Dr Swee Ang, a remarkable Cambodian doctor and
campaigner who co-founded Medical Aid for Palestinians. Dr Ang was on the recent Freedom Flotilla
to Gaza that was intercepted by the Israeli navy earlier this year. She will be talking about her long
relationship with the Palestinian cause and the current situation in Gaza.
Shot over five years in the West Bank, the intimate and surprising documentary What Walaa Wants
(5.40pm at Watershed) follows rebellious teenager Walaa: this first-ever look inside the Palestinian
police academy brings us the story of a young woman navigating formidable obstacles, learning
which rules to break and follow, and disproving the negative predictions from her surroundings and
the world at large.
The festival wraps up on Sunday night. As well as the The Insult at the Curzon Cinema & Arts in
Clevedon, The Cube will be screening the closing film Tel Aviv on Fire at 8pm, fresh from festival
success at Venice and Toronto. A middle-aged slacker fails upwards in his job on the set of a popular
Palestinian soap opera only to end up fielding script notes from a disgruntled Israeli military officer,
in this satire from writer-director Sameh Zoabi.
Tickets are already on sale at their respective venues or will be available on the day:
www.thewindmillbristol.com (no tickets required but donations welcome. Seats can be reserved by
www.palmuseumbristol.org (tickets OTD only)
For more information please visit: